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One system built by Motorola Inc. is used in 1,000 stores in Europe and more than 100 in the United States, said Frank Riso, senior director of the company's retail solutions group.
Besides keeping track of items as they are dropped into the cart, shoppers can use the scanners to build bridal and gift registries.
"You can scan everything you'd like people to buy for you," Riso said.
Shoppers also can use the scanners to create lists of items for delivery, such as bulky items at hardware stores, Riso said.
In New England, some Stop & Shop supermarkets offer an International Business Machines Corp. system that arms shoppers with a scanner and wireless touch-screen display attached to the shopping cart.
Plano, Texas-based Media Cart Holdings Inc. also offers a "kiosk on wheels" system that includes a cart-attached screen that flashes relevant ads as users walk through the aisles. It also has a scanner for keeping track of what's put in the cart.
William Stewart of Sykesville avoided lines while shopping with his father at the Eldersburg Martin's store. Stewart said he prefers the system over the traditional checkout, except for its occasional problems accepting coupons.
"I do miss the interaction with the cashiers because my dad and I are people persons. But you do beat the line and, once you get used to it, it pretty much works for itself," Stewart said.
Sue Jones of Sykesville said the system makes shopping with her child easier.
"I usually have a little one, so it's easier to check out," Jones said. "I scan the little bar codes and at the end I can just pay. Usually by the end that's when she starts to scream, so I can get out fast."
On the Net:
Royal Ahold NV (Parent of Martin's Giant Food Stores LLC):
Media Cart Holdings Inc.: http://www.mediacart.com
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