The Stop and Shop on Pleasant Street (right on the Watertown/Waltham line) has introduced the greatest improvement to grocery shopping since the barcode scanner. They call it EasyShop, and while I won’t say it makes shopping fun, it seriously decreases the pain.
When you first arrive at the store, there are a bunch of little handheld barcode scanners with color LCD panels on their backside, all locked up in a little kiosk. You scan your discount card and and one of the scanners unlocks for you. There are plastic and paper bags at the kiosk for your use as well. Then, as you shop, you scan the items you wish to purchase and bag them right away, in your cart. It tells you the price of anything you scan, giving you an option to add it to your order or forget about it. It keeps a running tally of everything you’ve bought, and you can remove anything from your order with a button press and a scan. For produce, they’ve set up little self-weigh stations that allow you to enter the produce code and print a barcode label.
Once you have everything you need, you head over to one of the self-checkout lanes and scan a little “I’m Done” barcode, then return the scanner to a rack. After scanning your discount card again your entire order is instantly transferred to the self-checkout register and all you have to do is pay and you’re done. This is so fundamentally better than any of the previous attempts at “self-checkout” systems, which too often relied on scale platforms after the register to keep track of the weight of things you’ve scanned at an attempt to ensure you aren’t taking more than you’re paying for. In my experience, about 60% of the time these scales malfunction requiring one of the employees to come over and swipe their card.
There were only a few suggestions I had for the system:
- Right now, to checkout using EasyShop, you have to use the general self-checkout lanes, which are often being used by people not using EasyShop. So you sometimes still have to wait around for the person in front of you to deal with all the usual frustrations with self-checkout. It would be nice if they had one or two EasyShop only lanes. Since there’s no need for a conveyor belt or such, these could be much smaller.
- As far as I can tell, in order add produce to the order you have to print out a barcode label using their printer. When I’m using my cloth reusable bags, I often just keep one bag for produce and don’t put my produce in the clear produce bags they offer. This means that not only is it wasteful for me to have to print out one of these barcode labels for each vegetable I buy, but once I’ve printed and scanned it, I have nothing to stick it to, since the produce isn’t in one of the plastic baggies. It’d be nice if there was an option that allowed me to be less wasteful.
- It’d be neat if they could come up with some way to help keep the tops of the bags open in my cart while I’m shopping.
All in all, though, these are minor suggestions, and I’m sure they will refine the system as time passes. Some people may be annoyed by the occasional “cha-ching” the scanner-phaser emits as it notifies you of a super-deal (a.k.a. advertisment)! This only happened to me 2 or 3 times in a 30 minute shopping trip and I quickly learned not to even look down when the cha-ching sound struck.
I noticed that the deli at this same Stop and Shop has a little computer kioskto input your order into… Next time I need some deli supplies I’ll be sure to give it a swing and report back to you
15 thoughts on “Review: Stop and Shop EasyShop”
Perhaps they figure that since you’ve scanned your courtesy card, they know who you are? Of course, my card is registered to Tommy Tutone at 617-867-5309, so that doesn’t help them much..
Re: Why is this so great?
It’s better because not only am I able to bag myself at a leisurely pace, allowing for much more efficient space usage but also for better packing (the removal of dedicated baggers at the checkout means the cashier has one more job to do, one they often do poorly). It’s also better because I can check out much faster.
It has nothing to do with “tracking every penny”, because honestly, I never pay attention to what things cost. It has to do with getting out of that store quickly without having someone crush my groceries or take forever scanning and looking up the fucking produce code for broccoli 18 times.
I’m from the land of no-self-service gas stations and proud of it, so I’m usually on the side of the employees being displaced, but in this case, I can do a better job than the cashier.
We’ll miss you, human beings…
I hate this obvious path we’re headed down. It was enough of a psychological experiment to begin with having the self-service registers, but I am completely not interested in doing everything completely myself.
Personally, I kind of like the process my local supermarket has, which is to have people use the self-service checkouts BUT have a bagger dude at the end, bagging sometimes two or more aisles at once. At least he’s available when there’s a system breakdown.
On the other hand…
This week I started using reusable cloth bags. I had 5 with me, but probably 6 or 7 bags worth of groceries. So I told the bagger guy at the end to use the cloth bags, then finish off with paper for anything that didn’t fit the cloth ones.
I ended up with 11 bags. Each cloth bag had no more than two items in it. Unbelievable.
I used to work for stop and shop. They can see what you are or aren’t scanning, and can cause you to have an “audit” where you must have some items rescanned. By the way, no hours were displaced because of this technology. (I also used to help write the weekly employee schedules)
Re: easy shop
Well, it may vary from store to store, but the audits are very infrequent at my store in Watertown.. I’ve used the EasyShop at least 20 times and have only been audited twice.
Glad to hear that (at least for now) it’s not displacing hours of the staff…
Re: easy shop
Hi, I designed the hardware for this system. I’m glad to hear you like it!
Re: easy shop
Yeah, it works pretty well… other than getting spammed with the “cha-ching” free offers. ;)
It might be a little TOO comfortable in your hand, one time after scanning the checkout barcode I put it in my grocery bag, not in the stand.
The “cha-chings” are not spam
The “cha-chings” that you mentioned as advertisements are actually electronic coupons that are chosen for specifically for you based on your buying habits. These discounts are given on top of the circular prices. This is a great added value to the easy shop system.
Re: The “cha-chings” are not spam
They are advertisements which are shoved in my face which I am unable to opt-out of and which I didn’t ask for.
They are spam.
He knew they were advertisments, he said it in his article and even if he didn’t say it in his article he sounds like an intelligent man it doesn’t take a genious to realize coupons are advertisments!
To anyone who knows for sure, is there a list of people who get audited more than normal? If so, what gets you on that list. Also how is the “randomness” computed for the normal audits. Does the system randomly decide to audit or not audit each customer as they check-out, or does it randomly choose from the entire pool of customers in the store at a given time who to audit?
I ask this because of my experience today. I visited my local S&S twice and each time I was audited. The second time I mentioned it to the associate running the self-checkout lanes and he suggested I ask a manager if I’m on the “audit-list”. I went to the service desk and asked the associate there and she denied any existence of an “audit-list”.
Further more a friend who says he worked on this system when they were first rolling it out said that the frequency of audits for a given customer will go up based on the # of unscanned items found during an audit and the # of audits that find unscanned items. He also mentioned, of course, that they have cameras and can track the location of any customer using a scanner and can initiate an audit.
I’d personally like to know if I’ve done something that has caused me to get audited more than usual. Perhaps its a misunderstanding or maybe I forget to scan items and I don’t realize it.
I was thinking the same thing! I’ve been audited for the third time and cannot figure out why they do this. Makes us feel like criminals.
the scan guns are linked to a system in the office and you can be tracked on camera and your exact order can be superimposed on the camera’s screen … if you are not scanning items you will be automatically placed on the audit list and your name put into a nationwide system along with your address
Today I was audited at S&S self scan for the second time in three days and the very nest time I used self scan. This cannot be random. Who can you call at S&S?
That sounds interesting. I thought that online grocery shopping is next on the list in the future, apparently there are more steps before reaching that far. I’d love to try the new shopping system, sounds like fun to me, I hope I will still be able to use my ez saver for shopping discounts.