Monday, January 31, 2005

Touching Capitalism

Several years ago, there was a computer commercial where a guy enters a supermarket and starts grabbing stuff from the shelf and suspiciously stuffs it in his jacket. As he leaves the building, he walks past what looks like a security scanner passing through a blue light. A guard grabs his attention. “Excuse me sir,” he says. “You forgot your receipt.”

Piggly Wiggly is taking an important step to that not-too-distant future technology as it announces the success of its “pay-by-touch” machines. Customers can pay for their groceries via fingerprint, which is electronically tied to their financial accounts. The system is incredibly safe—there’s even a heat sensor on the device too prevent fraud with photocopies of prints—and customers are singing its praises. The chain is currently expanding the realm of the service from just four stores to all of its outlets. This service, by the way, is free.

Just another example of how the free market generates what people want. The consumer is king.

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