Monday, March 2, 2009

Scan Your Own

Yesterday I was visiting my Mom. One of our usual activities is going food shopping together; I can carry heavy things for her since she is older and doesn't drive, and she helps me with the cost of my groceries since I'm unemployed.
Our regular store was undergoing renovations so she directed me to a Stop N Shop in another part of town. I have never been to this particular brand of store, so I was very surprised to see the new twist on grocery shopping that they were touting. As soon as you walk in to this "super" market (the store was huge) there was a girl exhorting us to scan our own shopping. This was sort of like the checkout counters where you do the work that the cashier is supposed to be doing...but much more fun.
I was given a small hand held scanner and taught how to use it. Basically the premise is if everyone scans their own stuff as they put it into the cart, checkout will be much faster. You can delete things out of your cart easily and also see a running total as you go. 
The shopping trip went like this: walk down aisle--pick up package of rolls--scan barcode--put in bag. Pick up milk--scan barcode--put in bag. It was really awesome to see the item description and price pop up on the screen. When I told my Mom that the cheese she just picked out was $6.99, she asked if we could "put it back". 
No problem. There was a "remove" button on the scanner. Just hit that button, scan item you want to put back and VOILA! it's done.
Up and down the aisles we went, choosing our stuff. The only downside of this store was that ground beef, 80% lean, was $4.99/lb.
$4.99!!!! ShopRite sells it for $1.99 or maybe $2.29.....there was no way I was going to be buying any meat at this place. 
I guess those little scanners have to be paid for somehow.
At the end of our trip, we went to a checkout line, and scanned an "end order" barcode. The items were then printed onto a receipt and the total popped up on the register. We paid the bill and off we went. 
I can see where this scan your own thing may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it made shopping more fun for us. If you are on a budget you can control your spending by keeping your eye on the running total of the items in your cart. You can even save money by noting the "coupons" and specials that pop up on the screen when you are not scanning items. And of course saving time by having your groceries all bagged & ready to go in the trunk doesn't hurt either. 
All in all, another fun day spent with my Mom!

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