Mechanical Grocery Store Walks Around the Customer (Jul, 1933)

It works for sushi, why not groceries?

Mechanical Grocery Store Walks Around the Customer

INSTEAD of tiring herself out walking around the store and selecting what she wants from the shelves, the housewife who patronizes the newest type of grocery sits down comfortably while the store “walks around” her. Literally, of course, it doesn’t quite do that, but the entire stock of the store passes before her on an endless belt and she merely picks out what she wants, placing the items in a bin beneath a stationary counter, as shown in the illustration at right. When she has completed her purchases, she presses a button. The bin goes to a wrapping room.

7 comments
  1. Blurgle says: January 15, 20089:42 am

    So you spend two hours waiting for this slow moving belt to go by you, then spend another half-hour waiting for your purchases to be wrapped?

    I can’t see why this idea didn’t take off like gangbusters.

  2. Neil Russell says: January 15, 200811:51 am

    I just heard on the news the other day that a new system will read the products you have in your shopping cart and charge you as you walk out the store, seems like there was a commercial showing a guy walking through a store stuffing his pockets looking like a shoplifter and when he walks out a security guard walks up and hands him is receipt.

    I’m glad that concept is closer to fruition than the one shown above! :)

    Didn’t this idea make the rounds in the magazines back then, or was it the same article I saw sometime back on the site?

  3. Rick Auricchio says: January 15, 20085:30 pm

    After she comes home from work in the back room stocking the conveyor belt, she gets to sit up front and shop…

    As for the shoplifter, have you ever seen Roberto Begnini’s “The Monster?” (aka Il Mostro). In one scene, he wants to shoplift, so he slips items into other people’s pockets, into strollers, and their carts after they check out. He then stuffs his pockets. The alarms keep going off as each patron leaves, so the store turns them off. He walks out undetected.

  4. Remek says: January 16, 20081:49 am

    Not a bad idea, but –

    - how fast is the belt, and shouldn’t the customer control how fast it goes by, and whether it needs to stop temporarily to grab more than one item?

    - this is obviously before the concept of ‘sell-by’ dates were introduced (a not-so-popular product could have items staying in inventory on the belt for years before they’re purchased)

    - this design tends to eliminate everyday fresh produce shopping

    - unless the store handled only a limited range of product vendors, even at the year it was conceived the shopper would have several or more selections available to choose from for each product…

    which means unless it was a small or limited store, the product conveyer belt would have to be hundreds of metres long to equal a ‘normal’ grocery shopping experience with all the choices available

  5. Andrew says: January 21, 20088:27 pm

    Maybe if different types of products were put on separate belts (produce, canned goods, baking goods, etc.)it would be more practical.

  6. Mark says: March 29, 20093:06 pm

    “shouldn’t the customer control how fast it goes by”

    That would work if there were only one customer, but what about all the others. Just as you reach for something someone speeds the belt up and it zips away from you, lol.

  7. djkrugger says: July 8, 20102:17 am

    “Mm..i think the canned peas are comming, there it i…
    -Ms Morningnside! what a pleasure to find you here!
    -Damn..”
    Half an hour more for the turn to complete

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