While tech developers keep pushing us to find more ways to interact with our smartphones and devices, I've been surprised lately by the ones that stick with me after the initial fun of using them wears off, as well as the ones that sound great but quickly fall out of use.
So today I'll offer some techie odds and ends that surprised me in both directions — a trip to the grocery store, a connected smart watch and a set of portable speakers. Also, I'd love to hear about your own experiences of what devices and apps you have unexpectedly liked or didn't.
Scanning and bagging
First, a Walmart greeter explaining a new smartphone application/checkout system piqued my curiosity on Saturday as I walked into the Edmond store for groceries. I took his challenge to use the Walmart app on my smartphone to scan in my grocery items as I shopped and then bag them in my cart after each scan.
The app kept a running tally of the total cost, and I could delete items if I put them back. But when I got to the end of shopping, my groceries were already tallied and bagged. All that I had to do was pay and walk out. I went to the self-checkout area, tapped a few buttons to transfer purchases from my phone to the self-pay stand and swiped a credit card. I may not have saved a lot of actual time by stopping to scan in every item, but I was happy avoiding the irritating checkout lines at the end. Walmart even has developed a system for shoppers to weigh their own fruits and vegetables ahead of time to get a scanable bar code, so those were already calculated in the cost, too. The process of using the app drains the battery on your phone quickly, so start with a full charge.
In doing my shopping this way, I liked knowing how much I was spending along the way. However, I was leery of the tracking data of purchases that Walmart now has connected to both my credit card and an email address, as many companies are trying to do these days.
I also was curious about the security measures Walmart is taking to prevent shoplifting.
The greeter stayed mum when I asked him about it, indicating the information is proprietary.
Another cashier mumbled something about a lot of cameras hidden everywhere.
Conclusion: This high-tech shopping method will probably stick with me — I'll do it again and hope that I get faster at the scanning and bagging part.