Adventures in hand-held scanning while you shop now available at the Forest Hill Giant

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    They really are adventures — at least, they were for us, and I imagine they will be for the first few times anyone tries this. BANV & kids had our first self-scanning grocery shopping experience today. Since Monday, the Forest Hill Giant has had a kiosk at its front door displaying the scanners and shopping bags to fill as you go. Intrigued, we stopped to look at the display long enough that a Giant worker (he was actually a quite regular size) approached us and encouraged us to give it a try, seeing as I had my little helpers — although they are usually the opposite of help while shopping. Figuring it would keep them busy, I agreed to give it a go. You start by scanning your Giant store card at the kiosk so that the scanner will calculate the sale prices as you shop. Then you fill your empty cart with empty shopping bags and off you go. I found that the paper bags work better because they hold themselves open in the cart, making it easy to drop your purchases inside. The trickiest part was the produce because you had to weigh it, identify it on the little computer scale and print out a bar code. Then you scan the bar code — it’s easier if you do it before you stick it on the bag of fruit. Once we got past produce, I began to enjoy it. The scanner keeps a running tally and you can easily see what you’re spending and whether you’ve gotten the sale price. I’d pick out items, my 11-year-old would scan them. My 6-year-old would complain that he wasn’t letting her scan them. Then they’d shout out, “Wow, we’ve already spent $85 dollars and we’re not even done!” It was a good math lesson for them and they were surprised by how much some of the groceries they regularly ask for cost. Before we started shopping, the Giant worker showed us how to delete items we might add erroneously. And I found the device easy to use — although, in all honestly, I hardly touched the thing since the kids were having such a good time with it. The best part was that when we were finished shopping, we didn’t have to dread the unpredictable wait at the check out counter. We were told that even with a cart full of groceries we could use the express line because all we had to do is scan our Giant card again, hand over the scanning device and pay the bill. Our bags were packed and we were ready to go. When we got home we didn’t have to wonder what was stuffed in what bag because we packed them ourselves. And, now we have all these paper bags we can use for recycling newspapers. It does take some brain power to shop, keep the kids in line, and remember to scan all your purchases. And, if you keep your shopping list on your iPhone like I do, you end up juggling all your devices with your groceries. Once I get the hang of this, however, I think it should speed my shopping up considerably. If you try it, let me know what you think.