A Case for RFIDs

By Deane Barker on December 6, 2003

I went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart today (yes, I know it’s a juggernaut, but I’ve been assimilated), and one big reason for RFIDs occured to me.

I got up to the counter with what turned out to be $118 worth of groceries, and I was faced with the prospect of unloading my cart, item by item, to have them run across a scanner, and then put them all into bags, one by one.

With RFIDs on every product, I imagine you could just push your cart through a metal detector-like device that would instantly scan every product at once. It took 10 minutes for the checkout lady to get everything scanned and taken care of. With RFIDs, it would take seconds. How you get them into bags to get them home is another story, but I’m sure a solution for that is right around the corner.

Sitting here in front of my PC, I subscribe to all the same privacy concerns about RFIDs that everyone else does. However, if you’d asked me a few hours ago while I was standing around a Wal-Mart checkout counter being lulled to sleep by the little electronic beep of every… single… item… I… purchased going across the scanner, my answer may have been different.