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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Virtual Groceries

Since I've been away from the US for over two years now, I'm not really ever sure when I see something new or strange or crazy, if it's an Asia thing or if it's all the rage at home as well.

Case in point: I had heard about vending machines in Japan selling live crabs & used underwear. What will they think of next, I thought. But when I was in the US for a visit earlier this year, I was surprised to see, live & in person, a vending machine selling electronics in Dallas (how many quarters do you need for a Canon?), & one in LA selling fresh cut flowers. Vending machines. Like Coke & Fritos vending machines. Does no one else think this is strange?

The other day, during the morning push-n-shove on the Shanghai subway, I passed by a billboard that caught my eye. At a glance, it looks like the shelves of a grocery store, with brightly packaged food lined up in neat little rows. But a closer look reveals more.

Each product has a scan code pattern next to it that you can scan with your mobile phone. The scan places an order with the store, & the products then get delivered to your door later that day. You can shop on your morning commute & by the time you get home, your groceries are waiting for you. Not only groceries - electronics too. You can get a Canon for 6648 RMB (US $1038). What will they think of next?

So what's going on back home? Do they have this kind of shopping there as well?

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