February 18, 2004

Stop & Shop Buddy

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.

Posted by James at February 18, 2004 9:20 AM
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Think about how much bigger supermarkets have gotten in the past decade, too. Supermarkets from the 80s or even early 90s are woefully small compared to the new ones that have several isles of books, phramacies, banks, dunkin donuts, video rentals, etc.

I think its probably cheaper for them to build a whole new store and sell the old building than it is for them to try to work within the old space or try to expand it.

Posted by: David Grenier at February 18, 2004 11:10 AM

In Warwick they just built a S&S across the street from an old S&S. I didn't mind so much because it was the impetus to demolish a nasty 70s style strip mall, though it did take down the empty shell that used to be the Meadowbrook theater, and it's never good to see neighborhood movie houses die.

The interesting thing to me is to see how stylistically different the new one is, and how dated the old one looks. You just know in 20 years from now the pretty new S&S will look similarly dated.

And I'd say today's supermarkets are woefully big. What I wouldn't give to revive the neighborhood market, get people out of their cars and walking a couple blocks to get their food. As it's going now eventually we'll just have one big store, where we get in a pod thing with our holographic PDAs and fly around the store, thinking really hard about what we want (food, a hamster, the new action DVD from a cloned Arnold, etc), then we get popped out into our even-bigger-than-now SUVs, with everything we just thought about already loaded into the back. We'll also weigh 350 lbs each, and everyone will be carbo-loading because that's how you really lose weight.

This is fun, but I'll stop.

Posted by: Bil at February 18, 2004 11:53 AM

I think Super-Sizing is the idea of some alien race who planted the concept in our minds years ago because they plan to come back sometime in the near future and harvest our livers for human pate de foie gras.

Posted by: James at February 18, 2004 12:04 PM

The local markets do still exist (if you live in the right place). Patti and I go out of our way to support them. We buy as little as possible at the SUPERmarket and do shopping for what we need immediately at a local farmstand/market (in the summer we have a choice of many farmstands in our area) as well as a whole foods and trader joes. Each has their plusses and minuses.

As to the whole new building it also allows them to expand without shutting down the old building until the new one is ready.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 18, 2004 1:36 PM

It's the same here... There are Stop & Shops on every street corner. They seem to be in competition with one another.

So what's going on here? A calculated effort to corner the market? Even at the risk of huge upfront losses when they're forced to close a few of their own densely packed stores?

Posted by: Steve at February 18, 2004 9:31 PM

Apparently, they'ce decided the coverage outweighs the fact that they may be competing with each other.

Posted by: James at February 22, 2004 12:46 PM

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