UPC codes & grocery scanning

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Super S
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Post by Super S » 02 Feb 2007 01:04

tkaye wrote:I was at the library looking through some old issues of Safeway News and saw a cover story (from around '73 or '74, I believe) showing a scanning system they were piloting in a store in Austin, Tex. The checker used a light pen. They also showed an example of the barcode and it wasn't like any I've ever seen in use. (They must have placed stickers on all the items or something, since the products obviously wouldn't have had the barcode printed on the package.) A feature of the system that was also touted was a display in the manager's office that would allow him to monitor the transactions of any register in the store in real-time. The digital price display on the checkstand was also pointed toward the manager's office and not at the customer. Very interesting -- and I never read any more about it. Seems as if using a light pen in a grocery store would be extremely inefficient.


I remember my local Albertson's in Bremerton, Wash. having no scanners and using a noisy beige-colored NCR register with an orangish-colored price display (not sure of the model, but I would imagine it's familiar from this description) until the store was remodeled in 1991. There were always problems with register tape jams and the cover was often left off the machine, showing the inner workings of the tape feeding and printing mechanism. Safeway had IBM units that were the same as Kmart from what I recall. The final convert to scanners locally had to be Grocery Outlet, though... they didn't get them until they moved to a new (ex-Safeway) location about 10 years ago.

As for the two-employee checkstand operation described at Price Club, I remember Costco doing that as well. They had bright green tags with SKUs on each item for the person to call out.
This past summer I visited an IGA store in the town of Winlock, Washington. They had an interesting setup...newer NCR registers that had the touchscreen displays, but had those old, noisy NCR printers that sounded like they were rattling apart.

Dean
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Post by Dean » 02 Feb 2007 05:04

Terry K wrote:The grandaddy of them all..Wal-Mart had scanners in its stores by 1984. They had started testing them at some stores and others didn't have the scanner but had the registers to support it.

By the time 1987 came around Wal-Mart was almost all-scanning by then.

I recall the early WMT scanners were NCR based and an off shoot of the grocery scanners.

WMT would in non-scanning stores ring up stuff as <dept #> enter <price> enter and the receipts were incredibly narrow.
Was @ Wal*Mart today. One (1) of the items I purchased had a green price tag on the package. I see this periodically there. Obviously it scans...yet it seems that they put the green tags on certains products.

Any idea why?

MBZ321
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Post by MBZ321 » 03 Feb 2007 13:57

Dean wrote:
Terry K wrote: Was @ Wal*Mart today. One (1) of the items I purchased had a green price tag on the package. I see this periodically there. Obviously it scans...yet it seems that they put the green tags on certains products.

Any idea why?

Green tags are for clearance items. Just as kmart puts neon-yellowish/green stickers on their clearance items, and Target with the darker red/black font stickers.

Dean
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Post by Dean » 04 Feb 2007 00:07

MBZ321 wrote:
Dean wrote:
Terry K wrote: Was @ Wal*Mart today. One (1) of the items I purchased had a green price tag on the package. I see this periodically there. Obviously it scans...yet it seems that they put the green tags on certains products.

Any idea why?

Green tags are for clearance items. Just as kmart puts neon-yellowish/green stickers on their clearance items, and Target with the darker red/black font stickers.
This week I purchased a $30 Sponge Bob Lego set for my son. Don't think that this is a clearance item. It was on the the shelf with the rest of the toys...and the shelf tag had the same price. I recently purchased tubes for the bike tires. Same thing.

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Post by Super S » 04 Feb 2007 00:56

I got to thinking about the Fred Meyer store in Longview, Washington about 1988. This store opened in the early-mid 70s, and was not remodeled until about 1989 or 1990. They actually had three or four different types of cash registers depending on where in the store they were located. Also, this store was divided up into several sections and you had to pay for your purchase before leaving that section. For example, you had to pay for groceries before visiting the apparel section. Not at all like today where you can pay for everything at every register. The grocery department had scanners with the red-number NCR registers, like the ones I mentioned were common at Albertsons. The apparel department had a similar register, with orange numbers, without scanners, and with wider receipts than the grocery department. The jewelry department had yet another NCR variant with orange numbers. And the main variety section had mechanical registers. Fred Meyer did not adopt one common register (IBM) at this store until its first remodel was complete. Worth noting also is that Fred Meyer also built a seperate building which housed home improvement, sporting goods, automotive, and garden center as part of the remodel, and during the first month or two it was open they actually used the mechanical registers, then installed the new IBMs when the main building did. During the most recent remodel, Fred Meyer combined everything back into one building and demolished the home improvement building and built a gas station where it stood.

Dean
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Post by Dean » 06 Mar 2007 22:24

As I self-checked/scanned my groceries this afternoon @ Albertsons...it made me wonder if any specific chain pushed this most?

Seems like in Southern California I have seen it most @ Albertsons & Ralphs.

VibeGuy
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Post by VibeGuy » 08 Mar 2007 03:36

Just as an odd historical note - I think D'Allesandro's was the first grocer in Boise with scanners - truly ahead of their time as grocers go - Boise just wasn't ready for their style of retail in 1980.

I non-fondly remember the Fred Meyer stores without unified checkout - one change introduced simultaneously with universal checkout was the ability to pay for groceries with Visa/MasterCard. My mother thought that marked the end of western civilization as we knew it.

Eric

Dean
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Post by Dean » 08 Mar 2007 10:32

VibeGuy wrote: I non-fondly remember the Fred Meyer stores without unified checkout - one change introduced simultaneously with universal checkout was the ability to pay for groceries with Visa/MasterCard. My mother thought that marked the end of western civilization as we knew it.
Exactly! My mother felt the same way!

In order to utilize the credit card function on the pin pad @ VONS...you needed to enter the following funky code: yellow, yellow, green, 6.

You had to hit the yellow button twice, the green button, and then the # 6.

Have no clue WHY I am remembering this!

Super S
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Post by Super S » 10 Mar 2007 02:49

VibeGuy wrote:Just as an odd historical note - I think D'Allesandro's was the first grocer in Boise with scanners - truly ahead of their time as grocers go - Boise just wasn't ready for their style of retail in 1980.

I non-fondly remember the Fred Meyer stores without unified checkout - one change introduced simultaneously with universal checkout was the ability to pay for groceries with Visa/MasterCard. My mother thought that marked the end of western civilization as we knew it.

Eric
D'Alessandro's was indeed a very nice store..they closed around 85 or 86, but I don't think it was because of lack of sales. They always seemed busy. I remember there was something to do with an employee embezzling and/or stealing money which did them in.

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timbabcock
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Bar code scanners

Post by timbabcock » 23 Apr 2007 20:01

I got to thinking about the Fred Meyer store in Longview, Washington about 1988. This store opened in the early-mid 70s, and was not remodeled until about 1989 or 1990. They actually had three or four different types of cash registers depending on where in the store they were located.
I recall the Fred Meyer in Kent (Midway) Washington had a seperated grocery and variety section (this was the store design back in the Valu Mart days). In 1979 the grocery section used an NCR bar code scanner system while the variety section of the store was using manual cash registers. A few years later, the variety had a different NCR system but only alowed the register operation to type in the sku number. They didn't put bar code scanners in the variety section until 1990 using yet another NCR system by placing scanners into the countertops of the checkout stands in the store since 1977. Later the store was adapted to the current IBM model.

The first bar code scanner system for grocery stores was used in Washington state was at the Boulevard Park Thriftway store in South Seattle. I remember it was on the 5 oclock news back in 1976 when it was installed. They used a similar system at the Sea Tac Village Thriftway/Holiday Foods in Federal Way as well. They were both owned by the same partnership.

Jafco had a very crude bar code system they used in thier stores in the mid 1970s. The bar codes were printed on price tags using a dot matrix printer and scaned with a contact laser barcode pen. It didn't look like a very clerk friendly system.




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Dean
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Post by Dean » 13 Nov 2007 15:25

Stater Brothers is a Southern California chain. They are celebrating their 71st anniversary...and the opening of their new DC @ the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino.

They had a timeline in The Sun newspaper (10/25) (Coca-Cola ad congratulating Staters). In the timeline...they listed that scanning was introduced to the stores in 1979. Not bad for a smaller...local chain!

marshd1000
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Post by marshd1000 » 17 Nov 2007 04:29

While I don't have documentation, I believe that the first supermarket in the Seattle area to have scanners was Uddenberg's Thriftway near Burien. I remember reading about it in the Seattle Times. The first chain in the area to adopt them for all their stores I believe was QFC. I remember reading about this in the paper too. At that time they mentioned that there was one store that wasn't getting them as they were closing.

Dean
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Dean » 14 Feb 2008 18:04

1982 Safeway commercial...gotta' love the register!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_M_xeZ6 ... re=related

krogerclerk
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by krogerclerk » 14 Feb 2008 20:44

Dean wrote:1982 Safeway commercial...gotta' love the register!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_M_xeZ6 ... re=related
It's doubtful that any actual Safeway was using mechanical registers in 1982, but few had scanning and as late as the KKR LBO in 86, about a third of Safeway's stores were not on scanning.

In 1982, NCR 1255/2552 and IBM 3680 were state of the art, NCR 1255/2552 and the earlier IBM 3660 were the most common scanning registers. NSC had introduced its POStalker line, which was adopted as the standard for Grand Union. Carolinas KMA Kroger Sav-on's were also using the NSC POStalker in the 80's while other Kroger operations used IBM 3660 or NCR 1255, while the non-scanning stores used various models of TEC electronic cash registers of vintages ranging from the mid-70's to the early-80's.

While supermarkets were the earliest retailers to adopt scanner, its full capabilities of inventory tracking and reordering were never utilized until Wal-Mart began using scanning in the late 80's. Supermarkets used scanning as a way to eliminate price stickering items, which would be tedious and time consuming, particularly after a price change would require repricing, an advantage few remember because often only 75 % of SKU's actually were on file and many regional brands didn't have UPC's. Items that weren't intended for scanning such as produce, meat, deli, etc didn't cause a problem as they were usually priced with a weight label. It was the new items, bonus size items(which have a unique UPC) from the non-bonus items, special order items, or an obscure regional brand in a national chain that caused price check delays-still among the most commong problems with not-on-file errors, as opposed to "price discrepancy" errors.

klkla
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by klkla » 19 Feb 2008 18:42

krogerclerk wrote:It's doubtful that any actual Safeway was using mechanical registers in 1982, but few had scanning and as late as the KKR LBO in 86, about a third of Safeway's stores were not on scanning.
I know for a fact Safeway was still using mechanical registers as late as 1988 in some very low volume stores. I worked on some of the conversion crews and remember throwing them away.

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