How fast can you say “over-priced avocados”?

Yesterday I entered my friendly neighborhood Giant Eagle and was beckoned with a come-hither glance and wave from an even friendlier man standing next to a kiosk of handheld scanners.

I bit.

He asked me if I would like to try Giant Eagle’s new Personal Shopper.

Why the heck not?

The premise? Take one of the scanners, scan your Advantage Card, then hit the store with a buggy (yes, buggy) and some bags. Scan the stuff as you pick them up, then simply place them in your bags. Need produce? No worries! Simply place it on one of the scales throughout the produce section, hit the picture of what you are purchasing and a little scannable sticker spits out faster than you can say “over-priced avocados”.

I moseyed through the store, enjoying the way that I could easily track how much I was spending. Didn’t run into a single hiccup along the way. Filled my buggy (yes, buggy) and then hit the checkout.

At the checkout, you scan your advantage card again, your whole order pops up and you pay. No emptying your cart, not waiting for bagging, it is already done. Give back the scanner as you leave and you’re on your way.

It was awesome.

As I was leaving the store, I got the sneaking suspicion that I just had a small part in the future cutting of human jobs at Giant Eagle.


  1. blee1
    November 4, 2005 1:06 pm



    I wrote part of the software for those things! :)

  2. pittgirl
    November 4, 2005 1:11 pm

    Then you are a genius, because it was the most AWESOME thing ever. Worked perfectly.

  3. Julie
    November 4, 2005 1:20 pm

    Woah, that sounds cool. I’m always looking for ways to enhance my grocery shopping experience. Although this might cause me to buy less stuff if I actually see my bill racking up as I’m going along. I like to play a little game with myself when I grocery shop… if I go over $100, I “win.” I know that I’ll be eatin’ good that night!

  4. blee1
    November 4, 2005 1:27 pm


    We had SOOOOO many f’in issues with those damn things. I lost TWO Thanksgivings to testing those POS’s.

    What feature did you like the most? The running total?

    Did they have the coupon’s system enabled? That’s the part I wrote.

  5. pittgirl
    November 4, 2005 1:51 pm

    Okay, not sure what you mean by “coupon’s system”. I will tell you that each item would show up at regular cost and then would immediately show what the advantage card discount was if there was one on that item. I was also able to use coupons at the checkout. If you mean could I scan a coupon as I scanned the item, that would be a NO.

    The feature I liked best is the whole damn thing. But if I had to pick one, it is the running total. Just nice to keep track of because how many times do we get to the checkout and say to ourselves, “That’ll be about $75” only to have “$135.43” pop up on the register?

    And Julie, I spent $131. What do I win?

    Now in a perfect world, I will just use that doohickey scanner thing to scan my debit card when I’m done and have it spit me out a receipt so that I never ever ever have to wait in a grocery store line again. Can you work on that Sloan?

  6. Libby
    November 4, 2005 1:52 pm

    I saw those scanners a few years ago in a grocery store in London. FABULOUS. We don’t have Giant Eagle stores here (or buggies either, heh) but hopefully everyone will be using them soon!

    On a side note, why specifically test them on Thanksgiving? On a side side note, it would be hysterical if you could name them something like Point Or Shoot so you could actually label it POS!

  7. blee1
    November 4, 2005 2:01 pm

    The one’s in London should be the same thing. There are a few stores (can’t remember the name) in Spain that have girls on roller skates who will take the scanners from you when you are done.

    PittGirl, as much as I would love to add your requested feature I know longer work for that company. I work at a bio-tech informatics company that does cancer chemo-therapy assays.

    So.. um.. if you ever get cancer I can help you there.. :)

    Oh.. and I’m pretty sure the wireless connection between the device and the server isn’t secure so you wouldn’t want you CC info going through it.

  8. Anonymous
    November 4, 2005 3:24 pm

    That sounds cool. What is to stop some dishonest person from putting something in their bags without scanning?

  9. pittgirl
    November 4, 2005 8:42 pm

    As far as I can tell, not much. Except that it says that you may be asked to let them do a quick scan of your bags.

  10. blee1
    November 5, 2005 8:12 pm

    It will do random audits of people. The odds are that you will get pulled aside for an audit.

    It works pretty well…

  11. pittgirl
    November 6, 2005 10:05 pm

    Lucky for Giant Eagle, I am a disgustingly honest individual. For real. However, the thought did cross my mind that I bet lots of people are going to use the system to scam it. But karma is a boomerang.

  12. Amos_thePokerCat
    November 7, 2005 12:10 am

    Ya! I can’t wait for this to hit my Super Wally World. (I don’t shop at places that require a card. Card, papers, passports, badges. I don’t need no stinking cards.) Anything to eliminate waiting in lines, or making silly chit chat with the cashier.

    Zoom in.

    Zoom out.

    Sign me up!

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