01 June 1997

The supermarketer’s holy grail of self-service at the checkout has been brought to the European market by NCR Scotland (01382 611 511). The system is currently under trial by a leading US retail chain, and is expected to make long queues at checkouts a thing of the past. It is claimed to be customer-friendly with the necessary degree of security. Customers use a hand-held scanner to read barcodes on supermarket shelves; the items scanned and their prices appear on the device’s screen, along with a running total. When the shop is completed, a final total is shown and the customers pays by swiping a credit/debit card through the device. TV cameras monitor the whole process and can summon assistance if needed by customers.