Genius. Go shopping in the subway via QR code (goods delivered later)

Earlier this year when I was out of India, skint and fairly fed up with life, I reached a nadir when I went shopping at Asda.

Assailed by the noise pollution of barkers offering coupons, retired people on minimum wage slowly hauling boxes out of cages and filling up shelves, a psychogeographic hell juxtaposing Dante with Vegas and driving me insane, I came to the check-out.

Confronted with the check-out ‘girl’, a face with lines forced into shape with barrel-red lipstick and eyes that spoke of the gloom, I whispered to her… “I never, ever shop in places like this, I’m only doing it this one time because I’m skint, you’ll never see me here again. N-e-v-e-r. E-v-e-r. Uhauhaha… uhahahahahaha.”

She didn’t call the manager, although she looked as if she would, and I vowed that I’d rather starve than go to Asda again, or go to Tesco again, or any of those places. Those were bad days for me, but things have since changed, and so it would appear has food shopping.

In South Korea something wonderful is happening. You can shop for food without the experience of being all lost and f*cked up in the supermarket, you can do it in the subway on the way home.

Tesco Home Plus, together with advertising agency Cheil, have installed a wall-lengh billboard in a subway station that replicates the look of supermarket shelves.

Beautifully, each product on those ‘shelves’ includes a QR code and commuters merely scan the food images with their smartphones and once the shopping cart is full, they check out (without having to make stupid jokes to anybody behind the till).

This is utter, utter genius. What’s more, the chosen goods are delivered within the day and it makes me very happy to know that things like this exist in the world, very happy indeed.

So, I got around to thinking about how Asda would do it, how they would improve the shopping experience for its customers. I thought not about a subway station, I thought about an utterly shit bus stop on the edge of an industrial estate.

The Asda poster in the graffitted bus shelter would be ripped, there would be dog urine everywhere, potential customers would get a message on their their Pay-As-You-Go phones saying they had a BLUETOOTH message, yes fucking BLUETOOTH, from the poster in front of them.

The would then receive that SMS and there would be a message saying. You are rubbish, you are inhuman, we are here to make you feel bad, we want to confuse you, we’re going to break your little butterfly back on our great big wheel because we hate you, we hate your little life and we want you to shop with us, but you do already, so we don’t care, taste our jackboot, you consumer slave. Have a nice fucking day.

Monty (664 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.