Saturday, October 15, 2005

EasyScan, I Think I Love You

I live in central Pennsylvania, which means...not very big. Or innovative. Or full of choice, especially in our grocery stores. For example, I cannot find the mint version of Dove ice cream ANYWHERE.

When I went to Dallas two years ago, we shopped in their Whole Foods market with my brother. Essentially, a giant grocery store with amazing choices. Tremendous produce. Eighteen different kinds of sausages. Pluots, jicama, fruit you've never heard of. Bulk nuts. Homemade tortillas you could eat warm as you walked around the store.

In central PA, we get apples. Four kinds. Maybe eight, at harvest time. And Blue Diamond almonds. Plain only.

So we got a new store this week. There's this mall that decided they had no foot traffic because it was an INDOOR mall, rather than because they have uninteresting, expensive stores and are one mile from a bigger mall that has Old Navy and Annie's Pretzels. So they renovated, moved all their stores to outside storefronts, added some better stores, and razed their old Montgomery Ward and Food Court to create this new Super Giant Food Store (yes, the grocery stores around here are named Giant).

We went today. And yes, they have a great variety of produce. Lots of bulk items. A little café I might enjoy later, and a day care for kids 3-9. No Dove ice cream, but you can't have everything.

The very best part of this new store is the EasyScan. All the local stores now have self-scanning stations. You fill up your cart, go to the register, scan and bag your items, and pay. It's quick and efficient and I get things done MY way. Well, this new store has an even BETTER way. You get to carry around a hand-held scanner in a special holster on the handle of the cart. There's a bag hanger on the cart, and they gave us a free denim bag that hangs between the sides of the cart, which is environmental as well as convenient. You select your spaghetti sauce, scan the bar code, and put it in the bag. Weigh your yellow tomatoes, print a label, scan it, and bag 'em. At the end, you download your data into the cashier stand, pay, and go, without having to remove your items from the cart again. It's freakin' awesome!

I never thought I'd be excited about going to the grocery store again. LOL


Jody W. said...

Does that mean you get a free denim bag every time you shop there? That sounds economically not smart?

We have an organic grocery store within 22 minutes of the house, but they make their sushi with brown rice and everything is overpriced.

Natalie Damschroder said...

No, you only get the free bag the first time, when you register for the EasyScan.

Annalee Blysse said...

The last time I went to a self-checkout I rang something up twice and didn't catch it in time to do anything about it, and there is no self-refund option. I had to wait in line for an hour. The consolation was I had gone to the store with my mother... she was waiting in the checker lines and I beat her out the store. It was a mad house there that evening. Record breaking heat so everyone was out shopping late at night.

Natalie Damschroder said...

Oh, my word, Annalee! That's horrible!

That store needs to fix things. The ones around here that have self-scanning checkouts have scales and you have to bag each item after you scan it, so it's not possible to scan it twice. And they have a cashier right there to help if there's a problem.

This new hand-held scanning gun system DOES have the ability to subtract something from the gun if you double-scan by mistake, or change your mind about something.

They randomly audit carts to discourage hijinks, too. :)