You have to
admit my neighbor John had an interesting idea
after seeing Google rework that Toyota Prius so
it would drive itself. Googles engineers
had cobbled up the car with radar, video, motion
sensors, GPSall the technology that let the
driver take a nap till he gets to his
destination. The Google car works pretty well out
But then John
borrowed the concept, installed it on a shopping
cart, and headed to ShopRite for the weeks
rations. His self-propelled carriage went down
aisle one and up aisle two reading UPC codes to
fetch coffee and cereal and whatever was on
Johns shopping list. This is what
Californians call a killer application.
started when John saw Carmelita, a cute employee
in the produce area. John always kept an eye out
for Carmelita, who appeared even more attractive
now that Johns wife was at home. The
carriage sped on, picking out a head of lettuce
before becoming distracted by radishes at 79
cents a pound. The machine then spotted five cans
of tomatoes for ten dollars and did a 90-degree
turn into an old lady pushing a walker. The
senior citizen pitched into the shelves of salad
dressings while the shopping cart snatched up 50
cans of tomatoes.
announcement went over the public address system,
Shopper down in aisle 7. Bring a mop and
pulled a U-turn and went after a sale of three-for-five-dollars
jam just as Carmelita playfully stroked
Johns cheek with a bunch of celery. John
rolled his eyes and began fondling grapefruits
suggestively, ignoring the distant crash as a
pyramid of canned goods cascaded into aisle eight.
in aisle eight at the intersection of soap flakes
and car polish, the PA system shouted.
Two seniors down and a baby buggy rolling
toward check-out! A chorus of shrieks
emanated from frozen foods.
the grapefruit while comparing it to
Carmelitas own well-stuffed smock. Is
all your produce this
This fresh and tender? How might I compare
your skin to a gardens delight? Is it as
smooth as an eggplant?
At that moment,
two police officers wrenched the carriage to the
ground wheels-up, while at the other end of the
supermarket the manager tackled John.
told me later, Carmelita was reassigned to
inventory and Google put out a court injunction
on John ever misusing its technology. I
sympathized that the world had lost a really neat
all right, he said sadly. I was also
told never to show my face at ShopRite again.