Lost in the supermarket

I was wandering the aisles of my local Metro grocery store the other day when I stumbled upon a peculiar-looking machine. At first I thought it was a price checker like the ones you find in department stores, or a product locator like the ones in a Chapters book store – both would be good ideas for the grocery store.

This was something different, though. When I scanned an item in my cart I was presented with variety of menu options that included that ingredient. For kicks, I chose one and hit “print”. What I got was a smallish print out of the recipe and a list of ingredients The printout itself was a little disappointing. A bigger page with a couple colour pictures would have been nice, but it got me thinking about the possibilities.

In addition to the price checker and item finder I mentioned earlier, what if the machine let me browse the sale items by category, or choose the best items based on other criteria. For example, I could search ketchups by lowest fat content, or cereals by highest fibre, or any other criteria.

Even before I got to the store – and while I was still considering which of the six grocery stores in my area to shop at – maybe their website has a weekly menu form that I could fill out and get a list of necessary ingredients so I can go to the store prepared. And it cross-references the ingredients list against sale items to show me deals and estimate my purchase price. Or against my “low-fat” criteria. The options are endless.

Maybe I could get updates on my phone of sale items as I browse the aisles. The possibilities are endless.

Mick Jones of the Clash was warning us against this kind of consumerism in the song this post was named for, but I, for one, welcome the chance to be a little less lost in my supermarket so “I can shop happily.”

Where do you see the future of shopping – in a supermarket or anywhere – taking us?


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