UPC codes & grocery scanning

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Super S
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Super S » 27 Sep 2009 00:48

I remember PayLess drug installed new registers, replacing the Data Terminal Systems registers they had, when they went to scanners in the 1980s. These registers bore no manufacturer's logo but did have a plate that read "JB622" on the front. Does anybody know who manufactured these? I think these were used right up until Rite Aid took over. The PayLess stores which were Pay 'N Save did not have these though, I believe they kept the IBM 4683 registers Pay 'N Save had.

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Brian Lutz
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Brian Lutz » 20 Nov 2009 02:24

Although it's not grocery store related, when I was digging through some newspapers this evening I came across an article in the Bellevue American microfilm that might be of interest in this thread. It's an article from October of 1972 about the first computerized cash registers (an NCR 280 system) to be installed in a Nordstom Best store at Bellevue Square. For those who might not be familiar with it, this was the period when Nordstrom was transitioning from their roots as shoe stores in Seattle to becoming a full department store, and the Nordstrom Best name was used to distinguish these stores from the Nordstrom shoe stores. The article is linked below (click for a larger version:)

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machias
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by machias » 28 Dec 2009 09:34

catnapped wrote: IBM 3684: Image
That's actually my IBM 3684. I purchased it, along with two IBM 3683s about 10 years ago. They are out of a Kaybee Toys.

The difference between the IBM 3683 and 3684 was that the 3684 could be a store controller and other 3683s were hooked up to it. That particular 3684 had an 8-inch floppy drive in it that ran the Retail Store Systems software. The two IBM 3683s (along with several others) were hooked up to it. On the outside they looked identical, including the displays. It was the internals that were different.

The red numbered 3683s and 3684s were a lower model than these with the green alphanumeric displays. There were also two keyboard configurations: the first had the "0" to the left of the rest of the numbers, the configuration here had more buttons (and more functions) on it. In both instances the keyboards were detachable.

I remember seeing these registers at Insalaco's and Acme in northeast Pennsylvania.

Another interesting register system was used by Quality Markets in the Jamestown, N.Y. area in the 80s - they were made by Sweda, had scanning and used very loud alphanumeric printers that stamped each letter on the receipt (instead of using a dot matrix type printhead). Very loud but still very functional.

The aforementioned NCR 255s didn't let you see what numbers you were entering, the display only showed the numbers AFTER you pressed a function button (like ENTER or CASH TENDERED).


J.P.

Jason B.
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Second Bar Code on Coupons

Post by Jason B. » 27 Apr 2010 05:18

Has anyone else noticed that coupons (e.g., coupons clipped out of the Sunday newspaper) now have two bar codes on them? For at least twenty years (I guess), coupons have included Universal Price Codes. Now they have a second bar code, one that is apparently called a "GS1 DataBar." Does anyone know if all UPC's will be superseded by the GS1 codes? Will a UPC one day identify an item as a probable relic of the late 20th century?

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submariner
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Re: Second Bar Code on Coupons

Post by submariner » 27 Apr 2010 23:40

Jason B. wrote:Has anyone else noticed that coupons (e.g., coupons clipped out of the Sunday newspaper) now have two bar codes on them? For at least twenty years (I guess), coupons have included Universal Price Codes. Now they have a second bar code, one that is apparently called a "GS1 DataBar." Does anyone know if all UPC's will be superseded by the GS1 codes? Will a UPC one day identify an item as a probable relic of the late 20th century?
GS1 DataBars can handle much more data and can be "stacked" to fit in a certain space. they can also contain up to 74 characters and "...can encode additional GS1 Application Identifiers such as sell-by-date, weight and lot number."
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explorersea
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by explorersea » 19 May 2010 20:42

krogerclerk wrote:Here's an article showing the Magellan Model A scanner, very bulky, with a black and white photo of the NCR register from June 26, 1974 at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, OH.

http://www.scanning.datalogic.com/sitef ... rsary.aspx
Krogerclerk, great posting, the datalogic name through me off, their company named used to be Spectra Physics, then PSC, they made scanners and IBM put their logo on them in the early years until IBM got out of the scanner business in the 1990's.

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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by krogerclerk » 20 May 2010 21:25

Times have certainly changed. From a unit slightly larger than a compact refrigerator, and slow and cumbersome at that, to the more compact designs of the present. From first hand experience with a unit paired with and IBM 3663, their size and slowness can be vouched for. I recall being able to "get ahead" of the processor, the scanner would beep the normal beep, and about 15 items later, an error beep would occur. The operator would stop, read the numeric code, 33, I believe, which was almost learned by heart, rescan. You would and an error, finally, about after a minute, the printer would start printing and the display would begin flashing up various items that had been scanned until it "caught up" with the cashier/operator. I'm sure many items passed by that weren't scanned, even from more alert cashiers. I was told what caused this was usually one of two things, as this almost always happened at busy times. 1) The disk on the main processor would overheat due to a large amount of reads hitting all at once from the various terminals/registers, or 2) The communication lines from the terminals to the processor would get the equivalent of a telephone busy signal, as the requests piled up faster than the processor could communicate. The scanner itself wasn't slow, as lasers travel at light speed and so do the communication signals, the lines couldn't handle the volume or the processor could keep up with the speed due to getting hot, which was a far greater problem with the larger computers prior to the PC era, as they generated a great deal of heat.

For comparison, glance at a contemporary Magellan:


https://www.scanning.datalogic.com/site ... 500xt.aspx

catnapped
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by catnapped » 09 Nov 2010 08:26

Came across some interesting photos on ebay awhile back. A pair of NCR 250's someone was selling along with a pair of early Pathmark checkout scanner photos.

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Super S
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Super S » 17 Nov 2010 20:49

The NCR 250 I believe was one that I remember being used mainly in restaurants. I remember it had individual words that lit up..."total", "item" etc. The Burns Brothers truck stop restaurant in Boise, Idaho had one of these.

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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by explorersea » 17 Jul 2012 18:56

I ran across this picture of me taken in the early 1990s, it is of the Oak Harbor Safeway store as we were removing turntable check stands and IBM 3663s and installing IBM 4683s. I am throwing a IBM 3663 keyboard into a cart.
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Super S
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Super S » 01 Dec 2012 14:48

I was recently at an independently owned auto parts store, and observed their POS system was not only an older system, but they were actually still using WYSE green-screen CRT monitors. Which led me to wonder if there are any more independently owned stores out there which have retained older systems that are still in use today. There are instances where I could see a smaller retailer's sales volume not justifying an investment in the most up-to-date technology if an older version would meet their needs.

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Brian Lutz
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by Brian Lutz » 02 Dec 2012 03:58

If I had to guess, I'd say they probably require things beyond simple POS functionality here, like parts lookup databases and detailed invoicing integrated in the system beyond the regular POS transactions, so it's probably a lot less of a hassle to stick to the old system than to try to integrate everything into a new one.
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47of74
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by 47of74 » 23 May 2013 19:17

Brian Lutz wrote:If I had to guess, I'd say they probably require things beyond simple POS functionality here, like parts lookup databases and detailed invoicing integrated in the system beyond the regular POS transactions, so it's probably a lot less of a hassle to stick to the old system than to try to integrate everything into a new one.
A lot of times people would rather stick with what works than going on to the latest and greatest. Especially when the latest and greatest isn't proven while an older system is tried and true.

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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by wnetmacman » 24 May 2013 08:17

[quote="47of74]A lot of times people would rather stick with what works than going on to the latest and greatest. Especially when the latest and greatest isn't proven while an older system is tried and true.[/quote]

The IT guy in me is going to weigh in here. That's always the case. Especially in smaller businesses, the investment required in upgrading the POS or parts lookup system is high. Even operators like AutoZone still use a text based parts lookup and POS system. It's hard to retrain a whole company.

The down side here is one of productivity. Is it actually easier to use the text-based system, or is the cost a cop-out? I've found that in cases where they had the latest and greatest, it sometimes took longer for the folks to get their jobs done, and sometimes, it takes a quarter of the time. It really depends on the employee running the system.
Scott Greer

wnetmacman
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Re: UPC codes & grocery scanning

Post by wnetmacman » 24 May 2013 08:18

47of74 wrote:A lot of times people would rather stick with what works than going on to the latest and greatest. Especially when the latest and greatest isn't proven while an older system is tried and true.
The IT guy in me is going to weigh in here. That's always the case. Especially in smaller businesses, the investment required in upgrading the POS or parts lookup system is high. Even operators like AutoZone still use a text based parts lookup and POS system. It's hard to retrain a whole company.

The down side here is one of productivity. Is it actually easier to use the text-based system, or is the cost a cop-out? I've found that in cases where they had the latest and greatest, it sometimes took longer for the folks to get their jobs done, and sometimes, it takes a quarter of the time. It really depends on the employee running the system.
Scott Greer

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