Sunday, July 29, 2007

For a mere $150

You can throw away your pen and paper grocery list. "What?" You might be thinking. I had the same reaction when this week's email blast from Sur La Table promoted their lastest gadget, the SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer.

The SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer is a voice-activated electronic device. Apparently it uses voice recognition software which allows you to hold a button, say the item you need to buy next time you go to the grocery store, and then it stores the item in its memory. Furthermore, it alphabetizes, and groups items by where they’re found in the store. You press the print button and it spits out your grocery list and off you go for an optimized shopping trip.

I can see some problems with this over-priced mechanism. First of all, does it recognize multiple people's voices? In our house, more than one person puts things on the grocery list. Second, how does it accomodate for shopping at more than one store? I shop at many stores to get food and other products, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, farmers' markets, the local produce market, the local butcher, the Italian deli, and even Safeway. How does this machine plan to accomodate for all those shopping trips? Third, how does it know how your primary grocery store it set up to optimize for efficiency? Every store I have ever been in is a little different. Fourth, what if you can't find something at the store on that particular trip? Do you have to reenter the item into the machine?

I know, I know, don't knock it until you try it. But at $150, I can't even afford to try it! It seems to me to be more trouble than it is worth. I think, I will stick to a good, old-fashioned, pen and paper list.

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