Thursday, August 17, 2006

What do YOU think?

Good Idea?

Bad Idea?

This morning, I saw a report on Good Morning America that left me thinking. No, it wasn't about world peace. It wasn't about JonBenet (who's death was only an "accident" -- he only meant to physically and sexually assault her -- not kill her, silly people! -- don't get me started). It wasn't about large companies announcing massive job cuts. It certainly wasn't about any political fall out a senator might be experiencing for purposefully saying racist comments to a reporter. No. Nothing heavy or serious like that.

It was of a report on Super-Supermarkets. It seems that grocery stores are investing in several new bits of technology to keep people in the stores longer (as if I want THAT!). Evidently, having fresh produce, nice and attractive meats, clean stores, and the new eateries just isn't good enough!

So, in the same good spirit that I present other things to you for your information, public safety, or simple enjoyment, I'll break down 3 of the latests scams ... I mean, bits of technology to hit the grocery stores.

Technology #1) Publix is testing out new Kid-friendly TV Karts! Seriously -- here is a statement I found somewhere on line: "Publix is testing a new weapon in taming the Terrible Twos and, surprise, it comes in the form of a television."

Yes, that is quite a surprise. As if the family can't get enough television at home, they are now bombarding us with it in the grocery store.

The carts themselves are kinda cute... they look like a race car in bright colors, but in the car compartment is a little TV screen on which the kids can watch "Barney," "The Wiggles," or "Bob the Builder," depending on which cart you choose. The show lasts for about 48 minutes. And no, it's not free. The special cart costs $1 to use, and Publix will get a cut of that money, and the makers of this cart claim that it can bring in an additional $100,000 in revenue to the store. YIKES! That's a lot of money! We can sponsor a lot of starving kids for $100,000. We can feed the poor in our own country. We can... we can ... well, I'm getting a bit sidetracked here. So, what do you think? Good? Bad? I'm undecided as to whether this is good or bad, because I don't have a two year old or a gaggle of kids to take to the grocery store... yet. But I'm leaning towards bad. The grocery store can actually be educational for kids. But I also see many parents in the grocery store that look like they could commit harry-karry at any given moment because their kids are going nuts in the store. So, go ahead ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

Technology #2) Pay for groceries with your fingerprint. Yes. You read right. And folks ... while this may sound convenient, it's downright scary to me! It may not be terribly new, but stores (Thriftway, Kroger, WalMart, Costco, Albertsons, PIGGLY WIGGLY!, Cub Foods, Home Depot) in 44 states are rolling out this new biometric technology to allow people to pay for groceries using their fingerprint instead of a credit or debit card. Your fingerprint is tied to your credit or debit card, and you simply place your finger on a reader, it scans your print, and debits your account. No wallets necessary -- just bring your finger. I have three words for you. Six. Six. Six. Shivers! So, what do you think? Good? Bad? Once again ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

Technology #3) RFID radio frequencies on barcodes in grocery stores. Huh? That's right ... Radio Frequency. You know how you have those bar codes printed on everything? Well, have you ever noticed that some of them are stuck on labels that are thicker, larger, and have radio frequencies on them ... usually electronics, cd's, dvd's -- you know -- expensive stuff they don't want shoplifted. The radio frequency transmits product-related information and does not require a line of sight (scanner) like barcode technology does.

Close your eyes with me, and envision the UPC-free supermarket: You fill your cart with everything on your grocery list. You then wheel your cart through what looks like a metal detector, and VOILA! Your bill is instantly calculated and displayed on a screen. You confirm the charges to your account, grab your receipt, and roll. Hey! You can even flip them your finger (see Technology #2 above).

So ... shoplifters? Pshaw! Fill your coats with rolls of salami, mounds of cheese, and bags of shrimp. Once you walk through that metal detector ... BAM. You will have purchased the item... not shoplifted it! So, again, I ask ... what do you think? Good? Bad? You know the drill ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

I leave it in your hands, friends ... the fate of grocery shopping will never be the same once we vote ... Good or Bad?


Heather Smith said...

I have no children, so I'm not making an opinion on number 1 due to the fact that this answer may come back to haunt me later in life. The second one? Totally scary. How can people NOT see that Jesus is coming back SOON? The third one? I can say that it would be nice not to have to wait for the person to scan everything, especially the person that just stands there with this duh look and keeps scanning and scanning the item that WILL NOT SCAN. Hello, just punch in the numbers! Sorry, that's something that bugs me! So we've got a no opinion, a really bad, and a hmmmmm...maybe!

Beck said...

I've known some kids who might have been more bearable in a tv cart. My own darling angels, however, spread joy throughout the store whenever I bring them shopping, uh huh. I don't have a big problem with the carts but don't feel a personal need for them...

Laurel Wreath said...

I don't like it one bit. I told my teenager about the finger thing, and I said "I will NOT do that!!". And I went on to say (like all our parents say) "it is only going to get worse in your time". I told him signs he can look out for. The one thing I have my close eye on is the temple in Isreal.

But I just will continue following my mother in her chicken little dance. "THE KING IS COMING" "THE KING IS COMING"....."don't you see The King is Coming Soon!!!"

kpjara said...

I still can't believe they got rid of 8-track tapes!

Seriously, we can hide from technology, but it will come and thankfully so will Christ! Hopefully very very soon!

I'm actually reading a book called bar-code which is all about this very technology imprinted on people and the ones that refuse it are outcast and must live undergound.

C J said...

The first one.. Well let's just say I have seen children in the grocery store that I would buy them a TV myself if they would just shut up. LOL My own darling well-behaved children (they are.. they are.. now that they are 12 and 8)would never go for that. OK maybe C. (the 8 yr old) would if there was a football game on he could watch. =)
Second one.. How in the world can people NOT see that Christ will soon come back? I will never never let them scan my finger (or anything else) to buy anything. SixSixSix.. *Chills* *Shivers*
Third one.. Who knows.. it may prevent shoplifters from trying so often.
So all in all... #1 probly a good idea. #2 **Shivers** and #3 Maybe

aggiejenn said...

I saw that same report this morning and I think it's kind of weird. I try my hardest to leave Caleb with his daddy and run as fast as I can to get only the items on my list. But, I'm probably not the people they're targeting. :-)
The second one seems like not a good idea, but it's probably the future of a lot of things.
The third one I think is not such a bad idea. Anything that gets me out of the grocery store faster is a plus in my book! (Yesterday I stood in line--the only line open at 10am--behind a woman who was trying to buy some Cokes she said were on sale. After more than 5 minutes of checking and asking everyone who worked in the store, they finally concluded that she had read the ad wrong. Grrr. I would have paid for the stupid 12-pack myself if it would have hurried things up a bit!)

Shalee said...

#1 is downright stupid. I guess teaching manners and proper etiquette is just asking a little too much from the parents, isn't it? Plus, my idea of what a child should watch is almost always different than someone else's...

#2 - bad idea. I don't want my finger to be the purchase power. I like knowing that every time I make a purchase, my debit card reminds me to think about how much I am spending. Will this eventually lead to government tagging?

#3 - bad again... Often when I'm shopping I start adding stuff up and putting extras back mainly because I talk myself out of them or I see what I can and can't afford. What do you do if there is an error on the purchase? Too many times I have watched an item ring up for a price more than indicated on the shelf. I can correct it right away. And who will bag my stuff? I don't want to go to the car with everything just laying about in the cart.

Crystal said...

Hi! I am Heather's sister who will be staying at your place on Satureday. First let me clear up a comment from Tuesday. You absolutely do not need to find age appropriate toys for my child. She comes with an assortment of her on on long trips, but thanks for thinking of us.

As far as you post. I say bad, bad, and bad.

#1 we get enough Wiggles at home, but she needs to learn how to behave and listen to me without a TV being involved.

#2 The finger print buying is too scary to comment on. All I can say is Thank God He is coming soon.

#3 How would you stay within budget? Would you ever know what you were spending before you passed through the metal detector?

Katrina said...

Well, I'm waiting for the blog-reader-enabled shopping cart. Just think of it - catching up on my blog reading while waiting in line at the deli or checkout. My husband won't have to say, "Are you still reading blogs?" - because I will have gotten that done at the grocery store!

But to answer your questions:

#1 - I don't know if I have a strong opinion either way on this one. I agree with Shalee that we need to teach our kids manners/etiquette/etc. without relying on TV to keep them quiet. But I can also think of a day or two in my life when it would have come in handy (like when there's a little extra fussiness as he was catching or recovering from a cold, etc.). I definitely wouldn't use it on any kind of consistent basis, but I don't think it would offend me for a store to have them.

#2 - Aside from the concerns others have mentioned, this whole concept seems like a huge personal security risk. We leave our fingerprints everywhere we go. How long is it going to take some enterprising thief to come up with a way to steal our fingerprints from a restaurant glass and run up our credit card tabs?

#3 - I guess if it worked perfectly, this could be a good thing. But I'm imagining all kinds of problems - like when the scanner doesn't function properly and an annoying robotic voice says, "Product not recognized, please try again" and I have to dig through the cart to figure out which product it's talking about. That would get old really fast.

Katrina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chilihead2 said...

1. Frankly, I'm surprised it's taken so long for this to become "real". I wouldn't pay for it and I wouldn't use it if it were free. My kids? They'd love it. They would also have to suck it up b/c they wouldn't be using it.

2. I've been waiting for this one too. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I can see the benefits, but I really hate having any part of me logged somewhere. Too Big Brother for me.

3. I don't think I'd like this. Faster, yes, but, as Shalee points out, who's gonna bag it? I don't want to keep a calculator with me (I've also seen them on the cart) to keep track of what I'm spending.

You know, pretty soon it's just going to be large building with drones pushing shopping carts. We won't see anyone working b/c it's all automated. Can't find the artichokes? Too bad. Need a manager? Too bad.

shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

*shiver* It all just freaks me out. All of it.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

ok - one tv screen, more than one child. I see fighting between siblings to see the screen!

I don't have any major opinion though. The hairdresser uses Blue's Clues to keep my son occupied during a haircut. It sort of works.

as for the others - wierd!!

Carol said...

The problem I have with #1 is the same problem I have with Channel One TV in schools - there is no parental control over what messages the child receives. Even if it's all totally innocuous, I will not be one to condone plugging in a child in order to make things easier. They should learn appropriate behavior for whatever location they are in.

#2...Very "Big Brother" in my opinion. I'm sure this measure will be sold as a means to preventing credit card fraud, identity theft, hot check writing, etc. It can also be seen as a simple way to keep track of where a person is at any given time of transaction, hence a sort of invasion of privacy.

#3. Can you imagine something being advertised at a particular price, running a full cart of stuff through the
"detector", being charged twice the amount for said item, and not having a way to identify the inflated price until the transaction is complete and the receipt studied? Not that a store could ever make a mistake or anything... Seems like a logistical nightmare to me, but maybe not - maybe it's a great thing and I'm just resistant to such a radical shift in the current grocery shopping paradigm.

Dee said...

#1 - NO NO NO NO!!! Whatever happened to teaching your children to BEHAVE?!?! Of course, you are going to have moments when they don't act perfect, but such is life.

#2 - Scary -- I don't think I would like that. We already have enough trouble with stolen debit cards and such... just wait until someone figures out how to duplicate your fingerprints... NO NO NO!!!

#3 - Sadly, but I think I might like this. ANYTHING to speed up walmart shopping. However, there are some problems I foresee... being overcharged for sale/clearance items (not finding out until you are home) .. and the other things we already deal with.

Been lurking for a while --- nice to "meet" you officially! :)

GiBee said...

Heather -- Yes ... Jesus is coming soon! Praise the Lord!

Beck -- I'm so with you on the bearable part! Oh, yeah!

Laurel Wreath -- you got that right -- things are only going to get worse in our children's time! Good for you for teaching your kids what signs to look for!

Kim -- Scary, girl! Do you sleep at night?

CJ -- I'm with ya!

Jenn -- now, see? I knew there was yet another reason to love ya! A fellow Good Morning America watcher!

Shalee --- Ummmm ... manners and proper etiquette ... what's that? (as I pick my teeth)

Crystal -- HEY GIRL! Can't wait to meet you! And I hear you on all three points!

Katrina -- "blog-reader-enabled shopping cart" -- girl, that is such a good idea. Jeana is looking for a cause to fight -- you might want to bring this to her attention! (see #7 on her Thurs 13 list - you could have a bobbly-headed caterpilar or something like that as the logo)

Chilihead2 - you said: "They would also have to suck it up b/c they wouldn't be using it." See? That's why you were voted Mom of the Week! You are sooo my kind of mom!

Shannon -- I KNOW! Freaks me out too!

Janice -- then, the grocery store managers would begin to charge another dollar for referees!

Carol -- what exactly does "hot check writing" mean? Because I have a HOT picture of me in a bikini on all my checks -- is that what you mean?

Dee -- very nice to meet you to! Thanks for delurking, but feel free to go back to doing so. I'll warn you ... once you begin commenting, you will become addicted!

Chappyswife said...

Very scary. I am torn on the cart/tv thing. No, it's not the best solution, but there have been days when it would've made things a lot easier on me. I HATE the fingerprint thing. I am a little confused on the issue. Should we let nature take it's course because it's one step closer to Jesus coming back, or are we supposed to fight steps like this tooth and nail because it is so worldly?

Chappyswife said...

Gibee~ Great discussion. I wrote a post asking the question I put in my previous comment and linked to you. :0)

Eagles Wings said...

Thank God He is coming soon...
1. are they nuts....I will definitely be having g-pa & g-ma watch my boys while going shopping...
2. Fingerprint...setting us up for the Mark...
3. They'll be able to track you anywhere.

Reminds me of an article that I read the other day in the newspaper (which one???) about the little black boxes in our cars - recording the last few minutes before a crash. Theree were two sides of the discussion...where a kid was driving 102 miles per hour and killed two people but he told the police that he was only doing 50 MPH.
Invasion of privacy or protecting the public.

theresa said...

#1 Well, the TV in the carts doesn't surprise me...but if they all have different shows then I think it may be more of a problem then a help.

#2 Already done this. Our old local Blockbuster in TX was already doing this. I must admit, it was a bit of a pain because it was SO new - they had a lot of kinks to work out. But, when it did work - it was nice.

#3 I think it's a great idea as long as they still bag it for ya!

Musical Mommy said...

I shop at Publix and they already have the race car shopping carts sans the TVs...I LOVE them how they are...they seat 2 in the "drivers seat" and they face the RIGHT, here's my youngest loves to PRETEND to drive the cart and actually "fills up" his cart with "gas" from the coupon dispensers that are on the shelves...heh... is my little man going to be able to let his creative juices flow while he's watching a stupid dinosaur??? Yeah, he's not...

I mean, come ON!! Don't they realize that kids are getting way too much tv at home...why in the WORLD do we need tv one more place??? I'm trying my darndest to get my kids away from Spongebob and he seems to be EVERYWHERE!!! UGH!