Union Worried About High Tech Shopping Carts

from the what-a-shocker dept

We've had plenty of stories about high tech shopping carts, but this latest NPR story (found on Politech) is a bit surprising. It starts out normally enough, talking about how everyone loves these new shopping carts that help them find products they want, while also keeping track of how much they're spending. The carts also allow for additional features, such as letting you make "remote" orders to the deli counter while you shop elsewhere in the store. The odd part, though, is in the later part of the segment when they talk to a union representative who complains about how these terrible shopping carts are going to take away jobs. You would think, by this point, unions would understand how technology works, and that if the technology really is useful, their industry is simply going to change. Fighting against it does no good for anyone. It just makes consumers less happy while doing nothing to actually prevent the technology from moving forward. In the meantime, as wonderful as these shopping carts sound, I'd bet there's going to be plenty of job openings for folks to repair them. It wasn't that long ago that shopping carts everywhere started showing up with little "calculators" to help shoppers total up their purchases. I don't think I ever saw one that wasn't smashed. Keeping a fully computerized system running is likely to take a lot more work.
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  • identicon
    Director Mitch, 3 Dec 2003 @ 8:40am

    Ah, Unions

    I didn't read the article since I didn't want to register with NPR (even with fake info), but I don't see how these carts would take away jobs. There are already "self check-out" isles in a lot of stores, so I don't see this having any more effect on chekers (and I am in SoCal where we already have a checker strike which is going nowhere). And the other features seem to be a convenience which will increase store traffic - meaning more people needed to stock the isles and bag if volume goes up. And I thought the same thing Mike did - someone will have to maintain and repair these things, and it won't be minimum wage job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 3 Dec 2003 @ 9:35am

    I don't see these things "going anywhere"

    Shopping carts already cost over $200 each and shops have enough problems with people stealing them. What shop wants to deploy an even more expensive cart and risk losing it too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    slim, 3 Dec 2003 @ 11:30am

    Plus ... the "Banana Virus"

    Yea, I couldn't agree with you more here Mike.

    The union guys have NOTHING to worry about. Just think of all the tech support people are going to need trying to order a half-pound of salami from the meat market while trying to get directions to the Pampers. Sheesh, most people can't even figure out the 12-item-or-less line.

    This is one of these technologies that "sounds great" but once implemented, will be a disaster of unforeseen (at least by the grocery stores) circumstances.

    Won't be long before some pissed off hacker who gets a stale loaf of bread .. . with a little too much time on his hands ... writes a virus for these things and makes them "remotely order" 12 pounds of salami instead of 1!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2003 @ 4:04pm

      Sorry, it sucks

      Do I want to waste more time shopping by dealing with someone's crummy UI on my shopping cart? Or maneuver around granny as she's stalled in the middle of the aisle figuring it out also? Even if they're hard to find, I'd rather talk with the workerbee, union or non, that can direct me to the kitty litter and beer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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