As old-fashioned as I am, I love the Quick Scan option you get in Waitrose. It’s easy-peasy shopping as far as I am concerned – products in your bag one end and out in the cupboard the other end – with no pesky conveyor belt in between. However, I do get a little nervous when I’m scanning as my OCD sometimes comes to the fore and I wonder if I really have scanned everything that has gone in my bag. I haven’t taken everything out and started again – yet – but it has been close.

My cat Ralph likes Waitrose’s own brand chicken-in-jelly cat food, which only comes in single pouches. Today I purchased every pouch they had on the shelf, which was 19. I had visions of the store detective watching me as I zapped and zapped and zapped again. I’m pretty sure I had got them all and I wasn’t stopped and asked to empty my bag on the conveyor belt for a re-scan so all was good, and Ralph was happy.

However, a woman wrote to The Guardian to say she had been ‘humiliated’ in Waitrose by being asked to empty her shopping and have it re-scanned. I must say my only humiliation in Waitrose comes from not recognising all the ingredients and flavours they use in their product descriptions and having to google them on my phone.

There’s obviously an element of trust to this whole Quick Scan service and I suppose the powers-that-be have done their research and worked out that any losses due to unscanned items can be swallowed.

I do wonder, however, about Amazon’s new checkout-less store in Seattle. Called Amazon Go, shoppers use an app for a ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping experience. Apparently the app uses similar technology to that used in driverless cars and detects when items are taken from shelves and keeps track of them in a ‘virtual cart’. Once you leave the shop the items are charged to your Amazon account and you are sent a receipt. It sounds amazing but…surely it’s just a headline-grabbing gimmick? After all it wouldn’t work in all locations and you’d have to be careful about how many people you let in at a time. Otherwise it would be like a real-life version of Supermarket Sweep.

 

Self-serving

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