Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter to My Grocery Store

Hey there,

I hate you. I hate how you never stock the items I'm looking for and reorganize your shelves every three months. And I can tell that you feel the same way, based on how you have huge numbers of registers near the entrance and only one employee manning them. Let's just recognize that we need each other to survive, and focus on getting our business done as quickly as possible.

That's why we need a grocery store GPS. Handheld units, available to shoppers, that will lead people to the items they need. People could upload their whole grocery list and have the system give them the fastest route through the store. You could even have people e-mail the list ahead of time so their route was already planned for them by the time they got there (yes, you can currently order groceries online at some stores to have people actually shop for you, but that costs more and I'm cheap).

Back to this route planning thing. They do it for cars. UPS programmed their guidance systems to completely eliminate left turns from their truck routes in order to save gas, so I'm sure you can make something that tells me to pick up the eggs right near me before I have to walk across the entire store and look up at the top shelf before I can figure out where you're hiding the bacon.

It's brilliant, right? Well, I'm sure that someone else thought of it first, or is working on it at Microsoft, or whatever. Still, I want it implemented immediately, so that we don't spend any more time together than we have to. But here's how you, terrible example of mismanagement and customer abuse that you are, will manage to fuck it up:

You'll order 15 units. 10 of them will break immediately and never be replaced. 2 will get stolen by punks and disgruntled stockboys. The remaining three units will all have their own signature defects (like sticking keys, unreadable displays, etc.).

Despite advances in RFID technology, you won't keep up to date with your inventory, leading customers to the wrong areas of the store, or shelves that are bare because no one brought the last shipment out from the back room.

The wireless signal will interfere with cell phones, blackberrys, and pagers, displaying text messages on the grocery readouts and making all incoming or outgoing phone calls impossible (wait, that last bit doesn't sound so bad). It will also have an effect on pacemakers.

The increased amount of radio waves bouncing around the store (or whatever) will give us all cancer, like how cell phones are supposed to do only a million times more dangerous.

In conclusion, shopping for groceries has been awful, is currently awful, and will forever continue to be awful. If I weren't so lazy, I'd grow my own damn food and avoid them altogether.


Todd said...

An idea about this topic was posted on this website:

I'll create a link back to your blog too!

PMJG said...

I'm glad I didn't try to claim it was an original idea!

Still, I am confident that I will be vindicated as a modern-day Nostradamus when it comes to predicting how good ideas get badly implemented.