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Supermarket Scan

In a departure from talking about our computers, let’s talk about other computers, specifically the scanner in your local supermarket.

Long gone are the days of the cashier keying in the prices. The scanner reads the barcode, the monitor shows the price, we pay the total.

Is the system ever wrong? Yes.

You agree to “buy one get one free” but you may get charged for two. You buy “regular” produce but the computer may charge you for the more expensive organic option. It happens.

If you can monitor the monitor, and remember the prices, you might be rewarded. In some supermarkets, if the scanned price doesn’t match the store’s advertised price, you don’t get just the correct price, you get the item for free!

Although scanning technology is amazing — and looks official enough to seem infallible — it is still only as accurate as the data entered by human beings. Keep them accountable.

Happy shopping.