Shopping Carts That Chastise You For Buying Too Much Junk Food?

Welcome to the future! We’ve seen (but been reluctant to use) shopping carts that let you ring up your crap as you place it into the cart, but now there’s talk of one that’ll give you a hard time about your diet as well.

From Reuters!:

U.S. technology services company EDS outlined the concept in a study paper published this week.

It said the screens would reduce the need for lots of packaging for food, helping stores to tackle environmental concerns.

“Shoppers want barcode readers on their trolleys (shopping carts) to calculate the nutritional content and tell them when they have blown their calorific budget,” said EDS’s Sion Roberts, director of consumer industries and retail.

“It’s high-time that the humble barcode is recognized as a practical and cost-effective solution to consumers’ thirst for information.”

Do you indeed thirst for this information?

Shopping cart goes high-tech [Yahoo! via Buzzfeed]


Edit Your Comment

  1. full.tang.halo says:

    If your cart consists of mostly frozen pre-prepared meals in a box or bag, you pretty well know that you are in trouble, with or without this.

  2. protest says:

    no, i do not thirst for this information as i am still in possession of a fully functional brain.

    if we keep replacing good decision making skills with technology like this, we are going to be in a world of hurt when our infrastructure fails.

  3. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    What if I discover that my cart has a bad wheel? Can I criticize it for being a lousy cart?

  4. theninjasquad says:

    I would rather have it to keep track of how much I’m spending so I don’t get such a surprise at the register.

  5. DashTheHand says:

    Just get to work on a star trek style replicator so we can be even lazier please. That, or a Matrix style chicken flavored mush dispenser, yum.

  6. timmus says:

    Uh, yeah, I’m sure the supermarkets will go for stuff like this that curbs sales.

  7. rdm24 says:

    As much as people bitch about this nanny state, I support it. We really do need a nanny….

  8. Sam2k says:

    I’d be happy with being able to figure out the price from the barcode.

  9. Skeptic says:

    BY TIMMUS AT 03:18 PM

    Uh, yeah, I’m sure the supermarkets will go for stuff like this that curbs sales

    Yeah, the chance of this is ZERO. If anything, the carts will make suggestions to buy more.

    Remember the fundamental economics of food sales: They can try and get you to switch–hard–or just get you to buy more–easy and profitable.

  10. jwissick says:

    How about a shopping cart that drives itself home once some prick removes it from the parking lot?

    Or one that self destructs after being away from the store for 48 hours?

  11. emona says:

    @Skeptic: Or remind you about those 100 Calorie packs at a 300% markup when you scan a regular pack of cookies.

  12. PracticalMagic says:

    Walmart and it’s customers will definitely not like this barcode/information system one bit. Have you seen the majority of Wal-Mart customers? I think it’s a great idea. It would really help my diabetic husband. Instead of listening to me nag, nag, nag about sugar and sodium content, well……..

  13. UpsetPanda says:

    How long before the robot carts themselves start making “recommendations” such as “SnackWell’s chocolate covered graham crackers, on sale on aisle four, two for $5!”when normal people know that cookies covered in chocolate are probably bad for you, regardless of how healthy they say it is.

  14. RTFMate says:

    I wonder how much it is going to cry when I add beer to the cart or soda.

  15. bohemian says:

    Like I need another noisy distraction in the grocery store?

  16. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    I want one that’ll remind my boyfriend that Red Bull is effing EXPENSIVE.

  17. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If I wanted someone to needle me about my weight when I go shopping, I’d bring my mother.

  18. legotech says:

    how can a cart tell me I’m over my calorie limit? I’m shopping for 3 people for a week…how does it know which foods go together? How about if I’m stocking up on brownie mix on sale, is it going to yell at me even tho it’ll take me a year to go through those five boxes?

    I don’t mind the scanner/caluculator thing, but get yur chips outta MY chips!


  19. legotech says:

    Oh and is “calorific” even a word??

  20. royal72 says:

    “i cannot allow you to buy those twinkies dave”

  21. theblackdog says:

    They’d better hide the speaker really well, I get the feeling there will be a lot of fists put through them.

  22. royal72 says:

    @legotech: “how can a cart tell me I’m over my calorie limit?”

    the same way the government and big business can.

  23. reykjavik says:

    um. this is the dumbest concept I have ever read. Shopping carts are purchased by supermarkets (NOT customers). Supermarkets want customners to buy more, not less. Thus, supermarkets will not purchase these high-tech shopping carts. This is invention 101 here folks. Consumerist has to stop posting stupid articles..

  24. reykjavik says:

    Shopping carts are purchased by supermarkets. Supermarkets want customers to buy more, not less contrary to popular consumerist belief. Therefore, supermarkets will not purchase hi-tech shopping carts which restrict the consumption rate of customers. This is a dumb idea and founded by an idiot that didn’t do the most basic of homework.

  25. FLConsumer says:

    Considering the profits made off high-calorie items, I doubt we’ll see any supermarkets buying this product any time soon… Thank God.

  26. vex says:

    Indeed, they can’t keep the wheels working on the carts they already have, I can only imagine the disaster that will result from this idea.

    This idea is already out there, but unlike the philanthropic concept here, it is designed to flash advertising at you when you are down certain aisles. It disguises itself as some kind of convenience for the shopper by recommending products.

    Also, it is almost impossible to calculate the nutritional information of a meal based on the various raw ingredients in a cart, unless you have it filled with premade boxed processed/frozen foods, which is the least healthy way to buy in the first place.

  27. XTC46 says:

    @theninjasquad: I agree. Especially in big places like costco where im buying lots of stuff.

    @timmus: not to mention how much it will cost them to implement.

    @reykjavik: nah, the inventor was just way to optimistic. They probably thought “this would be great and people will demand it from the stores!” unfortunately, people wont demand it, ever.

  28. Munsoned says:

    1. Invent shopping carts designed to get people to eat less.
    2. Market to supermarkets that want people to eat more.
    3. ???
    4. Profit.

  29. bohemian says:

    How much you wanna bet this will recommend Activa, Snackwells and Weight Watchers frozen dinners.

    I doubt they are going to suggest things like carrots and lettuce that isn’t prepacked by some big food company.

  30. MercuryPDX says:

    @Sam2k: Seconded. Just do my math for me, or at the very least confirm that the price I’m getting rung up at the register for is the same as its (mis?)marked on the shelf.

  31. Upsilon says:

    Robotic Female Voice:
    “I’m sorry, you have exceeded the safe limit of calories that a human being can intake in a year. Please get your fat hambeast ass to the nearest gym. Thank you for shopping at Wal*Mart!”


  32. Nytmare says:

    It’s a front to get their talky-advicey carts in front of customers in order to deliver advertising.

  33. phrygian says:

    @nytmare: That’s exactly what I was thinking.

    I don’t “thirst” for this knowledge. I don’t use the baskets at the grocery store; I bring my own. It doesn’t tell me how much my purchase will be or how many calories I’m carrying around, but I consider that a positive.

  34. Lynn12 says:

    Sounds more like a new version of those ad’s we used to see on the end of carts in the plastic holders.

    Now they just want them to screech it at us via some awful computer generated voice. What a great idea…… Only NOT.

  35. That70sHeidi says:

    Duuuuuuude. WHERE are the carts that total as you shop??? Eliminating the needless shuffling of products by even one step would be a dream come true. I WANT!

  36. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    It’s EDS’ cynical shot at getting publicity for themselves and acting like they’re all tech-savvy and addressing The Important Problems of Today, by proposing a “solution” that has zero chance of being implemented. If someone really wants to know if they’ve “blown their calorific budget”, there’s this amazing invention called the notepad.

  37. redstarr says:

    The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market where I live has the shop-mate which is exactly the kind of device I want, without the annoying added info. I use it to scan my purchases, and it keeps a running total (makes budgeting a breeze), and I bag my purchases as I go, and just scan the shopmate at the checkout (I like to use the self-checkout stand with it.). I never have to deal with standing in line,cashiers making mistakes, items that aren’t the price I thought they were, spending more than I’d intended, groceries being bagged incorrectly, or feeling pressured to use the store’s bags (much better for the environment). It rules. Every store should have shop-mate.

    And while I’m a dieter and love nutritional info being easy to get, it should be an “opt-in” feature. Like if you hit a specific key on the shop mate it could give you that products nutritional info, or another key could give you a running nutritional total for all of your purchases. That would be pretty cool. But not everyone cares,and that needs to be respected.

  38. jesirose says:

    @legotech: No, it’s caloric :)

  39. peggynature says:

    Ummm, annoying. I certainly wouldn’t use it.

  40. SohoStiletto says:

    The innovative name for this new product was just recently announced, “Wife on Wheels.”

  41. daisybee says:

    I would love to see a handheld version of this, kind of like the voice activated shopping list maker. Then I could just scan or manually enter in (for fruits and veggies) the items I buy for myself and have a breakdown of nutritional information for the week. Of course you would be able to adjust the amounts of the items in case you are only eating a portion yourself. I would rather have that than some lame advertising cart. It would really help with meal planning and I’d think twice about buying something horrible for me if I saw how it knocked me off my plan.