Would you mind if the snack shelf at the grocery store sized you up?

From ads following you on the internet to your “saver’ shopping cards that track every purchase, we all know that companies are constantly doing market research about our buying habits. But what about a grocery store shelf? Would you mind if the shelf sized you up and then offered suggestions or deals based on your demographics?

From The Washington Post:

“Mondelez International, whose properties include Chips Ahoy, Nabisco, Ritz and other high-profile snack brands, says it’s planning to debut a grocery shelf in 2015 that comes equipped with sensors to determine the age and sex of passing customers.

“The shelf, which is hooked up to Microsoft’s Kinect controller, will be able to use basic facial features like bone structure to build a profile of a potential snacker, Mondelez chief information officer Mark Dajani told the Wall Street Journal. While pictures of your actual face won’t be stored, aggregate demographic data from thousands of transactions will be.

“The company expects the shelf to help funnel more of the right products to the right consumers, and even convince undecideds to commit to an impulse buy by offering well-timed in-store commercials or coupons when the embedded weight sensor learns they’ve picked up an item. The move is almost certain to make it more difficult to resist junk foods.”

I’m wondering if bone structure means they are trying to decide if your face is fat or not and would be more inclined to a snack than say a person with a thinner face? What’s next? Weight sensors on the ground in front of the shelf?

Does this creep you out or are glad to get an on-the spot coupon without doing any work other than walking by the shelf? Would this type of inducement make you more likely to buy their products or avoid their shelves? Does this feel intrusive to you?

14 comments Add your comment

mom2alex&max

October 23rd, 2013
6:55 am

I’m actually more OK than most with targeted advertising. I mean, companies are going to bombard you with ads regardless. So isn’t it better when it is stuff you are actually interested in?

However, this does creep me out a little bit. If my face is too fat, I’ll be getting coupons for fat free snacks? Or the opposite maybe? I’ll be getting more coupons for fatty snacks since it is determined I already must be eating them?

Mayhem

October 23rd, 2013
7:35 am

Oh hell NO! If I see that at the grocery store, you can bet that will be the last time I set foot into that store.

And for the most part, our purchases cannot be tracked. We use cash for everything except our monthly household bills. I don’t use store cards, I don’t give out my phone number when requested at stores like Bath and body Works.

People give out too much personal information to clerks at stores….

FCM

October 23rd, 2013
7:43 am

I do find it an intrusion to privacy. When are people going to yell enough is enough?

Techmom

October 23rd, 2013
7:47 am

Paranoid much Mayhem?

FCM

October 23rd, 2013
8:04 am

How does the shelf determine if I am there getting snacks for the youth rally or a spend the night for the kids (way more snacks then I normally buy) vs an average day? I just think if I want 6 bags of Oreos (and who would at 2 for $6???) or a the large Doritos (again who would they shrunk the package and kept the price at $5) that is should be my business.

If the snack shelf wants to entice me back to it, they need to get the prices reasonable and the package size to price ratio right.

My kids don’t mind though, we went back to baking our own goodies.

Patrick

October 23rd, 2013
8:28 am

I can see several problems with this. First of all, if it’s going for bone/face structure, it would basically be profiling or making assumptions. Just because I have a narrow jaw structure doesn’t mean I’m a healthy snacker. Perhaps I want the two bags of Oreos. Perhaps most of the weight goes towards my middle, rather than the face. Likewise, if my face is pudgy, perhaps I don’t want the fat-free snacks. I might be allergic to those. I might not like the taste.

I don’t mind, however, receiving coupons from the store where I use my shopper’s reward card. Sometimes I’ll use that coupon, especially if I’ll need that product soon, such as deodorant, cat litter, cat food, or something else.

DB

October 23rd, 2013
8:56 am

Haha, that would be awesome! Would I pay any attention to it? Not a bit. We are scanned, scrutinized and analyzed every time we leave our homes (and sometimes, in it) from security cameras, etc. This one is just a little more obvious than others. *shrug* They can scan me all they want — it’s not going to affect my buying decisions.

Maude

October 23rd, 2013
11:16 am

Okay we know there are cameras everywhere now and I can live with that, but this is to much. I do not like the fact that so many stores have “savings” cards. These cards only track what you purchase and I don’t like that, however, my adult kids all still use my cards as they are hooked to my phone number. I am sure all of us using the same cards really makes the data weird. I do not want a shelf in a store taking any data about me!! As citizens we have to put a stop to all of this “spying” on us.

xxx

October 23rd, 2013
11:30 am

in every store that has this garbage, the first shopper should rake the entire shelf contents to a buggy and push to the end of aisle for the rest to shop without intrustion. It would go away very quickly.

Scooby

October 23rd, 2013
3:04 pm

Awesome! One less thing to have to think about, I’ll just buy what the shelf tells me to.

Once Again

October 23rd, 2013
9:18 pm

This is the beauty of the “free market” (yes, I am fully aware that we have ANYTHING BUT a free market in this country, but we still have a variety of choices still. I can go elsewhere when this crap shows up in the store I normally shop at. If it shows up everywhere, I can still shop on line. When people are sick and tired enough of this, other stores will realize the opportunity, throw this crap out and advertise a 1984-free shopping experience.

Contrast this with government monopoly on “services” where one has absolutely NO choice. Crappy service, too bad. Prices too high, too bad. Don’t like the violation of your rights or your privacy, too bad. Don’t want to have to buy this horrible, overpriced health insurance, too bad.

I’ll take the choices of the market anyday. At least in the marketplace people work to keep customers happy and know that they must EARN the money they get. They can’t just steal it like government does.

Gwinnett Mom

October 23rd, 2013
10:20 pm

More Obama socilism

WitchyWoman

October 23rd, 2013
11:24 pm

@ Gwinnett Mom…….What has the president got to do with a company deciding that this will be a money maker? We can’t always blame the government for what each and every corporation or small business owner decides to do to make money or get noticed. Also, how is this socialism? It’s not telling you that you HAVE to buy anything. People always have the option of going to another store.

As for the shelf scanner, I think it potentially may keep a lot of people away from those items just because they don’t want something scanning their face and potentially calling them out for being and unhealthy eater.

Mayhem

October 24th, 2013
10:32 am

@Techmom, no not paranoid. Lol. The government tracks us enough without having to know my every purchase on a debit/credit card. You can’t really track cash.