2.01.2006

The Shop 'n Scan

I just became an Early Adopter.

So get this. I'm in Jewel with my boyfriend, and we see this big rack of scanner guns. Most people would see this rack and say "Huh, what's that? Oooh look, bananas are 2 for 1!" And they'd keep walking.

But not us. We are Forward Thinkers. Intrigued, we move closer. A training video is playing on a touchscreen, where a nice lady appears to be telling us about this new device, but the sound is off so we're lost.

Here, out of the 10% of shoppers that are still interested, 90% of THEM walk away. "The video's broken. It needs a video to explain - must be hard."

But again, we persevere. We are Technology Mavens. We find an employee. Rosalee explains that first, you put your Jewel card in the system. This is done at the service desk. Then, you insert your card at the rack, and one of the scanners lights up. That one's yours!

Then, you grab some plastic shopping bags, stick the scanner in its little mount on your cart (when did that get there?) and start doing the employees' job.

That is, SCANNING YOUR OWN ITEMS as you put them in the cart.

Obviously I was skeptical at first. I understand that the goal here is to avoid long lines at the checkout - when you get to the front, all you do is pay! Your order is already in the system. But seriously, I thought, here we are, doing the hard work of shopping, and now they want us to scan and bag too?

But hear me out: it was fun. It was super fun. Now granted, we weren't in a rush, and there were two of us, and it was our first time. But the experience of playing checkout lady was quite entertaining. Holding the little scanner gun and pointing the red beam of light at a frozen pizza - it's classic fun for the whole family.

Now while we certainly laughed it up a bit at first, there were calmer moments when I took an item, scanned it and dropped it in the cart. It was easy and efficient. And there were two or three times when I noticed some other shopper, near me, watching. People were taking notice.

Now I may pretend on occasion that I am a cool young hip tech-savvy forward-thinking early adopter, but for the first time, I really felt like one. And I realized that the only way this Shop 'n Scan thing would catch on is if the early majority watched the early adopters, and then the late majority watched the early majority. It's all about people following people.

So the next time I go to Jewel, I'll have an easier time checking out a scanner, because my card's already in the system. I'll use the scanner more comfortably because the novelty has worn off. And most likely, without knowing it, I'll get at least one new person to try it next time.

5 comments:

Stacy said...

What if you scan an item and then change your mind? Do you have to go through the returns aisle? Sounds unnecessarily complicated to me.

sara said...

Actually no, that part was surprisingly easy! You hit the "minus" button on the scanner, then you scan the item again, and it takes it off the list.

The only part that was unnecessarily complicated was initially getting the scanner out of its rack.

Jessica said...

Question--so you scan all your stuff and you have it in the cart, and it's all ready to just pay when you get up to the front, right? But then won't there be lines to just pay and bag? It doesn't seem to be eliminating lines...cause bagging still takes time, especially if it's just one person. I guess the lines would just move faster.

George said...

This is nuts now. I just saw in the ghetto jewel a 'touch and scan' payment system installed. You can pay with your finger! You load your finger print into the system and then you just touch and go.

I've offically entered the future.

Elliott said...

Pay with your finger!!??

Okay, I was almost on board with the scanner thing, but now we're entering the rhelm of the government possibly using this as a tracking system, yet disguising it as a nice little convinience.

Paranoid? Maybe. Correct? We may never know.