I've had a lot of people ask me about my experience with this new technology, including my peeps over at the Food Marketing Institute, so here is the full, objective scoop on how it works as well as my highly subjective opinion of it.
How it Works
- Walk into Giant and right up to a huge wall of self-scanners, manufactured by Motorola. They are all locked into place in slots on this wall.
- Scan your Giant Bonus Card, which unlocks one of the scanners. It flashes to let you know which one is yours.
- Pick up your scanner and also some bags if you want to bag your groceries (or you can of course bring your own bags
- Scan packaged goods by simply holding down on the scan button and scanning the UPC code. Place in bag in your cart.
- Scan produce by inputting the PLU code into an electronic scale, weighing the item, printing a bar code, and then scanning the code. Place in bag in your cart.
- If you make a mistake, click the Remove button and rescan the item to remove it and then place it back on the shelf.
- When done, go to any aisle to check out
- Scan a final UPC code to 'close' the electronic cart.
- Scan your bonus card again, choose a payment method, pay and go.
My 2-Cents on this whole process
- Produce is a challenge. It takes a decent amount of concentration to work those scales, get the bar code, stick it to something, and scan it.
- Bagging as you go sounds easy, but it isn't. The stores aren't laid out from heaviest items to lightest items, so it is hard. If I was going to do this a lot, I might just bring boxes with me, as they won't flop over in the carts.
- It is very hard to juggle holding the scanner in one hand and pushing the cart with the other hand. If you happen to have a 10-month old baby in the cart who keeps dropping his pacifier, it all triples in difficulty. They need to add some type of 'holster' to the side of the carts to hold the scanner.
- Self-scanning ads more time in the store, so it is absolutely critical that there be a pay-off at checkout. i.e. All of us trying the scanners thought there would be a dedicated check-out aisle where we just would pay and go. NO, THERE WAS NOT. After spending all that extra time to scan and bag in the aisles, we had to wait in line behind people slowly scanning their own groceries and bagging at checkout.