I’ve long thought that supermarkets are just modern factories. Like processing factory workers, we trawl up and down the aisles, pushing metal baskets on wheels, putting item after item into the trolley. It’s a thankless, mind-numbing task at the best of times (unless chocolate biscuits are involved). And even if you buy your fresh goods at markets, you still need to enter the supermarket for toilet paper, toothpaste and other processed goods.
Then, once we’ve got the trolley loaded up, we go and take everything out again, put it all on the mini conveyor belt (you see my factory analogy here) so that someone else can process these same items for payment.
People, we need a better way.
Why oh why isn’t there some smart bod out there developing an app or a scanner that means I only have to handle what I buy once in the shop, instead of four times? You put it in the trolley, you take it out again, then someone else puts it in a bag, and then you put the bag back in the trolley. Then you take it out of the trolley again and put it in the car, or lug it on the bus, or into your cycle panniers if you are really virtuous. Then when you get home you take it all out again, and put it away.
Honestly, talk about double handling. BUT, if there was some way of scanning the item when it is selected, and packing it into the bag at that time, then surely it would speed up the process, and reduce the number of times we do the supermarket two-step.
A little bit of on-line research showed that several forms of trolley scanners have been developed, and some have even been trialled in Australia. IGA has been testing one system in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. (http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/01/infrared-shopping-trolley-hitting-brisbane-next-month/)
How much longer before the main supermarket chains bite the bullet and invest in these technologies? I know they will have an impact on jobs in supermarkets, but there will still need to be staff to provide assistance to the technically challenged, and manage the processing of items, and check that we have actually scanned everything we have put in the trolleys. And I know it will allow a database to be kept of what we purchase because it will be linked to our profiles. But I’m ok with that, really.
So come on Coles and Woolies, how about investing in some of this gear? I’m over the supermarket two-step.