Monday, October 22, 2018

WalMart's Creepy Shopping Cart Patent (WMT)

From Inc. Magazine:

Walmart Just Filed for a Weird Patent. Shopping Carts May Never Be the Same
Walmart has plenty of haters. But for many consumers, Walmart's prices just can't be beat. You can't afford to be choosy when you're on a tight budget.

If price is not so much of a concern for you, what if you discovered that Walmart wants your personal data? And not just data about your shopping behavior, which we already give hand over fist to Amazon in the name of fast shipping.

Walmart is interested in what's going on in your body while you shop.

The company wants to collect this data is a particularly creepy way: through the handles of its shopping carts. Walmart recently submitted a patent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office called "System and Method for a Biometric Feedback Cart Handle," CBInsights reports.

These innovative shopping cart handles would collect your biometric data, meaning your stress level, your body temperature, and heart rate -- all while you're strolling through the aisles of your local store, filling your cart with Walmart's everyday low-priced items.

Putting a positive spin on data collection
Walmart is wisely putting a positive spin on why it wants to collect shoppers' biometric data.
Say someone was unwell while shopping in one of the Walmart stores. Their pulse becomes erratic or their temperature drastically changes. The shopping cart handle would transmit this info in real time to a server, which would then notify a Walmart associate to go check on the person.
That sounds awfully altruistic for Walmart. It's probably not the only reason America's largest retailer wants to collect information about what's happening inside the minds and bodies of consumers while they shop.

How Walmart could spin this to its benefit...