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Automated sorting system collects and bags groceries beneath the gas station while you fill up
I was thinking, how much unneccessary
time is spent with the current system of
wandering aimlessly around the grocery
store fullfilling the long list of things to
buy. And not only in terms of time, but I
tend to buy unhealthy and non-essential
things when they are sitting in front of
A trip to buy eggs and milk turns into a
trip to buy eggs, milk, a six pack of root
beer, some golden grahams, a quarter
pound of turkey for munching, hot-n-
spicy cheese-its, beef jerkey, and some
Enter the gas-o-market, a modification
the existing network of rather narrow-
purposed gas stations around the world.
subterranian cavity is erected with a
space-efficient configuration of large
freezers and refrigerators, as well as a
stockpile of neutral-temperature goods.
As one pulls in to fill up, they wirelessly
transmit a list of groceries established
earlier to the pumping station, either
their vehicle or from a portable device
such as a PDA, or it is found and
downloaded, linked to the customer's
credit ID information.
Each item has predefined "bagging
weights" which allow a computer to
instantaneously sort the items for
maximum bagging efficiency. Based on
this bagging list, a system of simple
robots on tracks gathers and deposits
bags (or a box or whatever) the contents
of the grocery list. As this is happening
the customer is filling up either with
hydrogen or liquid borax or conventional
gas, and by the time pumping is done a
compartment will open in the side of the
pumping station, protected by a safety
door, with the bagged groceries ready to
be loaded into the trunk. If there are
bags than can fit on a single elevator
platform, it goes back down and within
seconds comes back up with the rest of
The payment is processed in the same
transaction as the gasoline payment, so
refilling the tank and getting a week's
worth of groceries should only take
There is the convenience factor, but
having everything underground saves
money on rent, a closed refrigeration
system keeps food fresh for longer than
an open-air system, becuase it is a
cooling system and embedded within the
earth it saves a lot of energy, and on that
front there are also no lights to power
because robots don't need light.
drive-through grocery store
similar concept, but less automated [innoventor, Feb 13 2006]
||Isn't the space below the gas station already taken? Always figured that's where they keep the gas.
||Good for consumers, but what is the benefit to the store owners? They want you to buy all that impulse crap.
||Welcome bun (+) for a well described, halfbaked system. All the technology exists to do this, including automatic restocking if suppliers were required to deliver in palletised / unitised form.
||[prak], the volume of space beneath the typical petrol station easily exceeds that of all the WallyMart stores in the US.
||No it doesn't. Each Wal-Mart Discount store is average 100000 square feet (source: Wikipedia). A Supercenter is average 187000 square feet. If there are still about 1233 Discounts and 1915 Supercenters there's a total of 481405000 square feet to fit under your gas station. Give you a nice generous plot - say 10,000 square feet, you've got to dig 48140 floors down there to pack all your Wal-Marts in. Even if you make each floor only 8ft high that's nearly 73 miles. Should be ok in the crust (about the first 7 miles) but then you've got temperatures of up to 3000 degrees celsius in the outer mantle which would make storage of most food products problematic.
||[Prat] I said WallyMart, not Wal-mart. (what the fuck is Wal-mart?). And I said *space*, not 'suitable space', not usable space', not 'practical space'. You also make the erroneous assumption that the available area for each floor is constant as you go deeper - when in fact the land title systems in most jurisdictions would see the cross sectional area of the space recede to vanishing point at the earth's centre. And get with the program and use SI units.
||Touché. Is there really a shop called WallyMart?
||A coelo usque ad centrum.
||This isn't supposed to be an end-all
solution to all shopping needs, it's
geared toward food and common
household items. You also must take
into account the amount of space that
is saved by eliminating large aisles and
adding a lot of vertical headroom. (think
at least four aisles stacked on top of
each other) The produce section, for
eaxmple, is usually very large but it is
very poorly laid out. I bet you could fit
everything in the produce section into
an 8-foot tall aisle half the length of a
st andard grocery store aisle. I think
there is also a good opportunity for
this, because gas stations will need to
rennovate their internal space anyways
to allow for storing and pumping
alternative fuels as gasoline becomes
||Not having the impulse items was something I was thinking of also. I can't begin to imagine how many times I bought 3 candy bars for 99 cents or I bought a magazine simply because of the story I saw on the cover.