ELECTRONIC LABELS: A MIXED REVIEW

WATERTOWN, Conn. -- Shoppers at the Edwards Super Food unit here want to get through the checkout lane as fast as possible -- and the store's electronic shelf labeling system is helping make that happen.That was the general consensus among shoppers asked their opinions about the new system installed at a store here.Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn., was to have completed late last month

WATERTOWN, Conn. -- Shoppers at the Edwards Super Food unit here want to get through the checkout lane as fast as possible -- and the store's electronic shelf labeling system is helping make that happen.

That was the general consensus among shoppers asked their opinions about the new system installed at a store here.

Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn., was to have completed late last month its 32-store, statewide rollout of the technology, a $4.8 million project.

The labels, which are affixed to the shelf edge, receive price changes via radio frequency technology and eliminate the need for individual product pricing. Because pricing data transmitted to the tags is drawn from the same source file feeding scanners, pricing discrepancies are virtually eliminated.

Here is what shoppers had to say about electronic shelf labels:

Victor Reilley

ballet instructor

Watertown, Conn.

I can see the advantage of the tags: If there's a fluctuation in price or something is on sale, you can just scan it right in.

I've been shopping here since before this store was taken over by Edwards and I've noticed that the customer service has improved drastically. So I guess that this new tagging system is just another improvement in the overall quality and service of the store.

Those are the kinds of things that make me decide to shop here in general, although I doubt that I would just shop here because of the new [electronic shelf tag] system. I do know that there weren't any price checks while I was standing in line, which does make checking out go faster.

Florence Reilley

ballet instructor

Watertown, Conn.

The [electronic] tags may be more accurate for the scanners and easier for the cashiers, but I still prefer the tag on the item. I guess I'm just used to shopping that way.

I know that several times when I was looking for a price on something, it took me a while to figure out how much things cost. Maybe once I get used to where the tags are placed and what goes with what, I'll start liking the new system.

I know I'll like it if it means that I don't have to wait for 10 minutes while someone yells for a price check in aisle 4. That really gets my goat. Now that I think about it, we didn't have that problem today, which is nice.

Wade Contney

school administrator

Watertown, Conn.

I couldn't tell any difference with the electronic shelf tags, except that it seemed to make the lines go slower. I think that's because the cashiers are trying to get used to the technology.

I just went in to get some flowers and some milk, and I was in the express line for about 20 minutes.

If it really does cut down on price checks, which can slow down a line significantly, then I think that once the cashiers get used to this, I probably won't have to wait in line as long.

Barclay Smith

school teacher

Watertown, Conn.

I'm not a big shopper, since I don't eat many meals at home. But I do appreciate the fact that Edwards is trying to make shopping go faster. In fact, I wondered why they didn't have this kind of system before.

I usually just drop by here to get a couple of items and I always go through the express lines. For being express, I've noticed that they're awfully slow and sometimes they let people in who have more stuff than is allowed, so maybe this system will get everybody in and out faster.

I'm also not much of a coupon-clipper, but it's nice to know that sale prices will automatically go into the computer so that I don't have to worry about human error.

Will Simpson

construction contractor

Watertown, Conn.

I did notice in the past couple of weeks that the lines have been faster. I guess that's because of the new electronic pricing.

That would be great for me, because there's nothing much more boring than standing in line for what seems like hours, with a bunch of fully loaded carts in front of you.

Karen Slater

bank clerk

Oakville, Conn.

I'll tell you, I hate to shop for groceries, so my husband does most of the shopping. I usually just come here to do my bottle returns and pick up some milk or bread.

I came here today to do that, and the lines were so long I decided to just forget it. I didn't really notice the new shelf tags, but anything that would make shopping go faster would certainly make my life easier. I hate to stand in line.