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Moral Dilemma: To Scan Or Not To Scan?

14 Mar

Stop & Shop has this GREAT new feature–Scan It! (I think the exclamation point is part of its name, but I am that excited about it that I would put it there anyways).  For those of you that don’t shop at Stop & Shop or whose store does not have it yet, I will tell  you about it.

There are two kiosks at either entrance of the store.  There are probably twenty portable scanners in each one.  You scan your S&S card and one of the scanners lights up and releases so you can take it.  There are also bags right at the kiosks if you don’t BYO.  So, you are off with your scanner and your bags.  The carts also have little “holsters” to put your scanner in.  You scan your items as you go and bag them as well.  In the produce section they have a few stations scattered around where you can enter and weigh your produce.  It spits out a sticker that you scan and stick on your produce.  

As you go, the scanner will also beep and give you individualized coupons for various products.  I am pretty sure that the scanner knows where you are in the store, b/c the coupons seem to pop up when you are near the product they are trying to get you to buy.  Another nice feature is that the scanner will give you a running total of your cart, so you always know where you are at, money-wise.  You are also able to remove items from your cart if you want.  I haven’t had to do that yet, but I assume you select that option and then just scan the item you don’t want anymore.

When you are finished, you go to the self-checkout lane.  You scan your S&S card again.  Then you scan a barcode with your self-scanner, which is  located above the “register”.  Your receipt prints up on the screen and you proceed per usual with your checkout.  Your food is already bagged and you are good to go.  Then you return your scanner to the kiosk on the way out.  I don’t have official stats, but I am pretty sure this is faster the the regular routine.

OK, so that was my objective (hopefully) explanantion…now, let me tell you how I feel about Scan It!.  

As many of you may know, I have my fair share of OCD tendencies.  Grocery shopping is one of them.  I make a list every week.  I am not one to go into the grocery store all willy-nilly.  That would probably cause me a good deal of anxiety, to be honest with you.  

Every Saturday or Sunday morning, I go through the kitchen and construct my list.  I fold a piece of paper into thirds.  In the top third, I write all the things I need in the produce section. In the middle third, I write everything from the middle of the store.  I also write meat in the middle section, but that goes on the right hand side.  In the bottom third, I write the dairy, juices, and natural food stuff.  If you go to the S&S in East Lyme, CT, this would probably make some kind of sense to you.  The funny thing about my grocery shopping is that probably 80% of my weekly list, if not more, is the same.  I could do a good portion of this without a list, and possibly even blindfolded.  But I don’t.  What I am trying to say here is that my weekly grocery shopping is one of the most routine things I do.

So, imagine my surprise when me, my list, and my green bags stumble upon Scan It! last week.  I tried it.  And I LOVED it.  Grocery shopping is no longer this boring, rote task.  It is FUN!!  Scan It! has kind of turned grocery shopping into a game.  And I love games.  It was so fun that I left the grocery store last week wanting to go back in for more shopping.

In the back of my mind I wondered about loss-prevention.  I thought that they must figure they will lose less money with stealing than it would cost to pay people to man the registers.  I have heard that they will check every 6th cart to make sure the receipt matches with what is in your bags.  Whatever, I am not stealing, I am just having fun.  If they want to check my cart, they are more then welcome.

So, this weekend, I drive to the store very much looking forward to Scan It!  It appears they are really pushing it on people.  One lady said to me “Do you think people are losing their jobs because we are using this?  Because I wouldn’t want to do that, but I really want to try it.”  

So, I start thinking–ARE people losing their jobs?  Is my fun at the cost of someone else’s income?  Because I don’t know if that is worth it.    But then I forget that thought, because I have to scan something else, and boy is it fun!! 

When I checked out today, thus putting an end to the Grocery Shopping Game, I asked my self-checkout friend Becky (who, due to my painfully predictable routine, I have come to know on a first name basis because she works the self-checkouts both Saturday and Sunday mornings) if she would lose her job if I kept using Scan It!.  She replied, “Probably.”  Oh Boy.  Then I asked if she would lose her job if I stopped using it.  She replied “Probably not.”  Oh boy.  She said that S&S said people wouldn’t lose their jobs, they would be relocated.  That doesn’t make much sense to me, because if all the S&S stores have Scan It! they will all be “relocating” people.  Becky said they would be “relocated” to the unemployment line.  Oh boy.

I don’t think Becky meant that I could single-handedly save her job.  However, if enough people didn’t use Scan It! there would be better odds that Becky and her co-workers would still have a job at the end of the year.  

So, what do I do??  I am now officially hooked on Scan It!  But with this economy, how would I feel if one day Becky wasn’t there because I self-scanned her out of a job?

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