Your Grocery Cart's About to Tell You What to Buy. Thanks, Plano-Based MediaCart. Thanks A Lot.

Damn you, MediaCart. Not kidding. Till, like, an hour ago, I'd never even heard of the Plano-based company. Then I read this story from Advertising Age, in which it says MediaCart has cracked the apparently unsolvable riddle about how to put advertisements into your grocery shopping cart -- quite literally, in fact. Because that's just what you want at the grocery store: to be bombarded by ads from your cart. Because it's not enough to have your 3-year-old telling you what cookies to buy.

But, yeah, says AdAge, the carts have "cellphone-style navigation buttons on the handle and a self-scanning feature that can be used for nearly instant checkouts," as well as "voice-recognition technology to help shoppers find products, mobile-phone capability to connect users with customer-service personnel, and RFID to allow direct marketing and market research." Damn it, I just want to shop. Please?

But, no, now your cart will also tell you what to shop for. In fact, it'll pretty much demand you stroll down the cookie aisle and buy that package of Oreos now...or else. And if you don't, well, it also will send a jolt of electricity through the cart, which will hurt only a little bit.

That last part's made up. For now. AdAge says MediaCart's already rolled out the carts in three undisclosed Northeast locations -- and at its Plano "MediaCart Shopper-Marketing test facility," where Procter & Gamble Co., General Mills, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo are running ads on the video screens. Because, apparently, grocery shopping wasn't already a total beating. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky