With more and more people around the world shopping in supermarkets, the inevitable has happened.?
GV EXTERIOR Supermarket
LV INTERIOR Store with checkout in FG
CU Packets pass over laser scanning window (2 shots)
CU Code on article
SV AND CU Checkout girl and price on scanner (2 shots)
CU Bill itemised (3 shots)
CU Push button operating computerised scales (2 shots)
SV AND CU Cashier using scanner (3 shots)
SC AND CU Girl punches out computer codes, codes stuck onto items (3 shots)
CU AND SV Cashier operating auto checkout (3 shots)
CU Customers at checkout
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 10: "When we went into the test we thought that there were significant savings in being able to remove the prices from the grocery items which are about a third of our time in checking. And we still believe that it's true. However, we're sensitive to the customer's concern that she be able to look at the prices for the items and identify with the prices and compare them to others. We decided that we would not remove prices until we're satisfied that the customers are satisfied."
ANDY MCMILLAN: "The ruby red laser beam is concealed inside a window in the checkout counter. The clerk pulls each item past the window and the laser spots one of those mysterious patches of squiggles and digits about the size of a postage stamp printed on most labels nowadays."
"It's a code that tells not only the price but description. In a twinkling, as each item is packed, the price is flashed to the consumer and credited at the same time -- a complete grocery list typed out by a machine. There are several systems being tested at the nation's leading supermarket chains."
"This one, at the Path Mark store in South Plainfield, New Jersey, is also linked to an automatic scale. Groceries are weighed, priced by computer and packed all in one motion. The system is fast, accurate, labour-saving, in several important ways. In short it seems like the answer to the groceryman's dream. But there are a couple of problems. The computers are expensive and to make the greatest use of codes and laser beams, retailers should eliminate the costly and time-consuming step of putting a price sticker on each item. Some consumer groups have been wary of that."
"There are about fifteen stores now testing the electronic checkout. They aren't generating savings for the customers yet ... but coded groceries are here to stay. This is Andy McMillan."
Initials CL/1630 CL/1652
This film is serviced with an English commentary by TVN's Andy McMillan -- and an interview with a supermarket executive:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With more and more people around the world shopping in supermarkets, the inevitable has happened. Computers have come to supermarkets.
In the United States, new systems of computerised checkouts have been developed and several leading supermarket chains are experimenting with them. Grocery lists are being completely stamped out by machines saving time, labour and, perhaps in the long-run, money.
One of the new systems being tested in New Jersey goes even further. Using a laser beam, groceries are weighed, priced by computer and packed all in one motion.
It seems to be the answer to the grocer's dream. But there are problems. The new system means pricing items individually is now unnecessary.
But supermarket chiefs have realised that customers want to see the price of groceries before they buy. This means the time-consuming step of pricing the items cannot be eliminated - at least until customers are ready to adapt to the new method. The computers are also very expensive and any savings to shoppers through the electronic supermarkets could be a long way off.