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CHICAGO (AP) _ New supermarket carts equipped with touch screens will guide you to the tomatoes or toothpicks, let you order deli meat without standing in line and keep a running tally of your purchases.
What they won't do is tell you how many fat grams or calories are in your cart. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to buy, not induce second thoughts that maybe you should put something back on the shelf.
The touch-screen devices are on display at the supermarket industry's annual convention, being held this week in Chicago by the Food Marketing Institute.
"It helps save you time, and it helps save you money. It's all about making it easy for you,'' IBM Corp. executive Ken Lawler said in an interview.
IBM's "shopping buddy'' has been test-marketed at Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts and is being rolled out this summer. A competing device called Concierge, made by Springboard Retail Networks Inc., is being tested by Canadian stores in June and July.
"The whole model is driven by advertisers' need to get in front of consumers,'' said Springboard spokesman Michael Alexandor. "They're not watching 30-second TV ads anymore.''
People can use a home computer to make their shopping list. Once at the store, they can use their preferred customer card, or a key that fits on a keychain, to log into a system that will organize their trip through the aisles.