It looks as though Stop & Shop patrons will soon be given a tool to help them total their purchases long before they get to the front of the store. The “Shopping Buddy” is a PDA-like computer which will help shoppers manage their visit to the supermarket.
Yet the Shopping Buddy does far more than ring up purchases. You can use its touch screen to order items from the supermarket deli; when your pastrami’s ready, the computer tells you to go pick it up. The Shopping Buddy automatically displays which aisle you’re in, what’s on sale there, and what you bought the last time you strolled through. If you can’t find an item, punch in its name on the touch screen and the Shopping Buddy will point you to the correct aisle. It’ll even display a “you are here” map that tracks you through the store like a homing device from a James Bond film.
Somerset is building a new Stop & Shop — something that puzzled us. They’re building it right next to the old one, and we’re wondering why the heck they need a new building. I guess advances like this may be part of the plan. A new building can accommodate the sensors, power stations and whatever else.