Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Supermarket Mapper

Scan UPS barcodes for future use...
  [vote for,

A handheld barcode scanner and GPS receiver, combined with mapping software and a Palm-sized LCD display. At first use in a new supermarket, walk the aisles and scan products randomly or that you are likely to buy. When done, press a button that generates a rough map of the store. No more disorientation with those diagonal aisles! If they move things around, just scan the new stuff to overwrite the location database. Automatically re-order your shopping lists for optimal-tour efficiency, or just show the aisles you need to visit. With some domain knowlege (mayonnaise is usually near the salad dressings), the system should be able to direct you towards products you haven't scanned. Wireless web links might help with price comparison, or other info (like www.kraft.com) Map multiple markets and convenience stores: with the GPS the right map will be called up when you enter. Works outside the store too: press the emergency button to find the closest available location of your favorite fetish food.
rmutt, Jan 09 2001

C.A.S.P.I.A.N: Supermarket News. http://www.nocards....permarketnews.shtml
(Search for "shopping carts".) There are location-tracking, LCD-equipped carts, but the technology is abused to invade customers' privacy. Doh! [jutta, Jan 09 2001]


       GPS won't work indoors, but it's a good idea otherwise. Ideally the stores would publish maps and inventory data, but until then we'll have to collect it ourselves.   

       When sync'd, the PDA in question should exchange the data it collected with other users of the software, to help you fill out your maps. Think "CDDB".
egnor, Jan 09 2001

       One of the stores that I shop at frequently has aisle maps of all their stores on the website. I used that in conjunction with a freeware program called "HandyShopper" for the Palm Pilot that lets me sort my list by aisle number to mostly bake this.
mwburden, Jan 09 2001

       I used to frequent a store in where each cart had a big LCD panel on it. From the panel you could enter an item and it would show you on a map where the item was. It would also show you where you were. (you could actually see your location move on the map as you walked the aisles....they had little sensors hanging from the ceiling.)   

       It would also point out sale items as you passed them in the aisles. (NOTE: this was 10 years ago)
blahginger, Jan 09 2001

       Nifty! Do you remember the place or name?
jutta, Jan 09 2001

       The supermarket was Kroger in Indianapolis, IN.
blahginger, Jan 09 2001

       degroof, Items are cross merchandised to increase sales of other items you would otherwise not purchase. (Former Grocery Manager)
thumbwax, Jan 09 2001

       LCD panels on every shopping cart in 1990? I'm amazed, the cost must have been staggering. I remember thinking that Wegmans was really splurging to put little calculators on the shopping carts. Perhaps this was some startup's technology prototype, offered free to the grocery store as a demonstration mobile?   

       Local grocery store managers tell me that they go through their entire stock of shopping carts in four months (mostly due to theft, partially due to wear and tear). One local store (Uwajimaya) has put little anti-devices on their shopping cart wheels which automatically lock up when the cart leaves the premises. If every cart also contained what must have been hundreds or even thousands of dollars of computer equipment, outfitted with short-range RF... *boggle*.
egnor, Jan 10 2001, last modified Jan 11 2001

       It was amazing. At the time I just assumed that everyplace was going to have them in the near future. Needless to say, it must have been some sort of prototype testing site. I was unaware of any sort of anti-theft devices on these carts, although I am sure that it was there.   

       Speaking of Wegmans (arguably the greatest supermarket ever), when I was in school (mid-80's) they had little kiosks placed every so often in their stores with touch screen programs on them. Here you could also find and item and it would show you a map of the store and where to find the item.
blahginger, Jan 10 2001

       Re our resident search engine ninja's CASPIAN link, section titled "Shopping Carts to Track Customer Movements"...   

       Erf. Every time I went to the store I'd take a roll of electrical tape with me and block all the sensors I could find.   

       The "ExxonMobil Speedpass Provides Chilling View of "How Consumers Will Shop in the Future" one is as bad, too.
StarChaser, Jan 14 2001

       OK. Maybe I am naive, but how does this tracking invade my privacy? I can understand the "tip of the iceberg" argument that, this is the first step to having trackers installed in your home...I do not want that and I completely understand the resistance, but certainly the path I take around the grocery store is no secret. I am sure you are not logging into the cart when you take it so they do not know who you are....unless they can "track" you to the cashout aisle (which I am sure they will) to determine what exactly you bought and who you are (if you pay with a check or credit card). But this much they have been doing for years anyway.   

       What sort of information are they gleaning from my path around the market? I would hope they might be able to derive a better more efficient way to arrange the shelves or place items of interest. I would love the supermarket shelf to call out to me "Hey dude! You have not bought salsa for two weeks. Maybe you need some more? It's over here!" as I walked by.   

       The possible evil? I guess they could arrange the place so that it takes longer to get through so that you end up spending more. I am not the type of person to cave to many impulse buys, neither am I guided by marketing too much (I hope). I do not have much fear in becoming a guided sheep, nor do I care that anyone knows I buy gas and groceries. Oh wait....I am inspired
blahginger, Jan 14 2001

       I find the little coupon machines that stick out from the shelves amusing, because like everyone, I like to yank a coupon and watch it barf up another, but I don't want them TALKING to me. I especially don't want them talking to me in a form-letter-personal sort of way. "Hello, mister or mrs StarChaser, you have not bought Whizzo butter lately". I would probably then specifically NOT buy Whizzo butter or whatever, just like I don't buy things from telespammers.
StarChaser, Jan 15 2001

       Holy bejezus! I can't help but imagine there's a market out there for simple guys like me. I don't care about brand names, so long as it's cheap. If there was a grocery where there was "toilet paper", not 308 varietals... where all the canned food was store brand and cheap and cereal was 'Malt-o-Meal'. I think you'd have what most folks need in four aisles, a small store within walkable distance of a neighborhood.   

       LCD screens and GPS??? I know what I need... now let me out of the maze.
Average, Jan 13 2002

       There will be a market out there for simple guys like you when the public domain contains enough information about the retail super market market for you to calculate an efficient market basket for yourself.
LoriZ, Jan 13 2002


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