I'm not sure if other stores have a similar program, but Daniel and I tried something a little different for our weekly Stop and Shop grocery run yesterday. Termed Scan It, you basically shop with a hand-held device, scanning your items and bagging as you go. Checking out then consists of handing over your scanner and coupons to the cashier, and paying while none of your items ever have to hit the belt in the checkout line.
I'm sort of undecided as to how I feel about the system.
Pros: The scanner keeps a running tally of items in your cart. Gone is estimating just how much money you are truly spending. Scan It-only discounts occasionally pop up on the device. (The loud Cha-Ching! when this happens had Daniel spinning, looking for the noise.) Once items are scanned and bagged, they are handled just the once and do not have to be unloaded at checkout.
Cons: The produce department is now unwieldy. If I'm buying a tomato, I have to weigh it, put it in a bag, print a sticker from the special scale, stick it to my tomato bag and then scan it. Luckily Daniel was in a mood to simply ride along that day. If he had decided to be contrary about something (anything) it would have been that much harder to focus my attention on the work I was doing. If I were a Mom with multiple kids in the store, forget it for the same reason.
I am willing to concede that I probably didn't pick the best day to try this system. It was a rainy Saturday just before Easter, and the store being chock-full with customers didn't help matters. For this reason, I'd like to try this again mid-week sometime. While it is nice to check out that much faster at the end, I'm not sure the trade-off with all the work I had to do up front made it worth it. We'll see.