Business: Bringing Home The 33900-10020

Like pickle barrels and nickel candy, the ring of grocery-store cash registers may soon belong to nostalgia. In its place will come the soft whir and occasional beeping of electronic equipment. Seven large supermarket chains in the U.S. are quietly testing an automated pricing and check-out system that can "read" coded prices on each item, tot up the bill and do nearly everything but pack the groceries in a bag. Advocates of the system, who describe it as the biggest advance in retailing since the tin can, say that it promises big savings in...

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