No one likes standing in long grocery lines, especially behind someone buying $300 worth of food, then pulling out a stack of coupons.
So then imagine a grocery store of the future where there's no need to wait in line, where checkout takes just seconds. It's closer than you think.
No More Waiting in Line
In the old Hanna Barbara space age cartoon The Jetsons, everything from flying cars to food happens automatically.
We're not at flying cars yet. But more and more supermarkets are experimenting with Jetson-like checkout.
We caught up with shopper Jill Mason and her daughter, using a device called "Scan Bag Go," currently being tested by the midwestern supermarket chain Kroger.
Jill said, "I love it, it keeps a running total of everything you spend."
Scan-Bag-Go is a handheld wand you wave at bar codes as you shop. It keeps a running tally of everything you purchase, so there's no surprise at checkout. Best of all, checkout takes just seconds.
Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said, "When you get done with your shopping experience, instead of taking the products out of your cart and having them scanned by a cashier, you've already done the scanning and the bagging."
The east coast chains Stop and Shop and Giant foods are already using a similar system called "Scan It" in some stores. And they plan to roll it out into more stores soon.
With another version currently being tested, instead of a wand, you simply use your smartphone to scan items. You then show your phone at checkout and pay. It saves the store the cost and maintenance fees of handheld devices.
Automatic Checkout Lanes
Another Jetson-like device, also being tested by Kroger, is something called "Advantage Checkout."
It looks like an airport X-ray machine, or MRI, but it's really an automatic scanner. And unlike the airport scanners, it's fast. I ran a small cart of groceries through the tunnel and it scanned them all well under a minute, 34 seconds to be precise.
It scans from multiple angles, so it doesn't matter which way you set down that loaf of bread or box of frozen food.
Dailey said, "We know people don't like waiting in line and are strapped for time, so we want to find different ways to help move them more quickly though the store."
But will they catch on?
Not all these gizmos may succeed. Albertson's supermarkets dropped their self scanning lanes earlier this year, sticking with human scanners for now.
Two years ago, Giant Eagle supermarkets discontinued its experiment with handheld scanners due to glitches.
But these latest models are much more accurate. And for busy moms like Jill Mason, they save time and help her make sure she doesn't go over her budget.
So when will any of these new checkouts be rolled out near you?
No chain has announced a specific date, but if testing is successful, stores say you can expect to see some of these changes coming in the next two to three years.
If it happens, you wont waste your time in line, and you don't waste your money.
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