/ Shopping, Travel & Leisure

Tesco in an airport? Unexpected item in the luggage area

What do you like doing in an airport? I usually spend 10 minutes perusing things I can’t afford, then settling down with a book. But Tesco’s got a new idea. It wants you to do your ‘virtual’ shopping before you hop on a plane.

The supermarket is trialling a new way to shop – through a machine in an airport.

The idea is that you shop for the items you’ll need when you get home from your holiday, and book a delivery slot for your return.

This, in theory, means that there’s no panic or upset when you return and have no milk for a nice cup of ‘Welcome Home’ tea.

Hassle, hurdles and a heptathlon analogy

Except, of course, the idea is deeply flawed. Yes, you might have time at the airport to browse some virtual shelves and pick up some treats for your return. But what do you do next? As far as I’m concerned there are almost as many hurdles as Jessica Ennis had to deal with – enough that your average consumer won’t bother jumping over them.

Hurdle one – although you can peruse the virtual shelves on Tesco’s magic airport screen, to actually order anything you have to use a barcode reader on your phone. Despite marketing types telling us that this is the tech of the future, it hasn’t quite taken off to the point where I’d confidently expect the majority of customers to understand, let alone use it.

Hurdle two – when you’ve scanned your basket of items, you then have to pay for them. How? Well, perhaps it’s easier if you have a Tesco account, but if you don’t you’re stuck entering fiddly credit card details on to your phone in the middle of an airport. Not something that a lot of us would be comfortable with.

Third and final hurdle – I’m afraid this is the one I can’t possibly jump over – you have to choose a delivery slot. But unfortunately you’re just about to board a plane out of the country.

You know when you’re supposed to arrive back in the country, but do you know when you will get back? You might miss your flight, get delayed due to bad weather, or arrive in the UK to find that your trains aren’t running and you’ll take an extra hour to get home.

OK, you could book the slot for a few hours after you arrive home, but then what’s the point? You’ve been back for three hours – it would have been quicker just nipping to the corner shop.

Tesco’s tech for tech’s sake

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice idea. I would love to arrive home after a week’s holiday to find a friendly delivery driver waiting on my doorstep with a pint of milk, a loaf of bread, and a gigantic chocolate cake (just the essentials, of course). But this feels like an idea that hasn’t been properly thought through.

Yes, the technology is there – technically we can buy things with barcode readers and have them delivered next week. It’s all very exciting and futuristic, but it feels a bit like we’re implementing tech for tech’s sake. Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should.

I suspect that after numerous failed deliveries Tesco might end up agreeing with me, but what do you think? Would you order your shopping before you left the country? Or would you – like me – prefer the less relaxing but ultimately more straightforward option of popping into the corner shop on your way back home?

Would you order your shopping in an airport before going on holiday?

No - I don't think it's practical (79%, 143 Votes)

Maybe - I'll see how Tesco's trial turns out (16%, 30 Votes)

Yes - I'd like the convenience (5%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 187

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They’ll be creating something for the smallest room in the house soon so that there is nowhere you can escape from shopping – their shopping. (Oh no, I may have given them the inspiration they were looking for.)

exiledscouser says:
14 August 2012

Why do I need to do this at the airport when I can book a delivery on the PC in the comfort of home up to three weeks in advance. Same problem exists if I return late!!!!

Corinne says:
15 August 2012

I usually prepare an online supermarket delivery for my return from a holiday a couple of days before I leave for the airport. I usually have it arriving the day after I m due home just incase of delayed. I am lucky enough to have a good neighbour to collect it IF i am delayed. I find this really useful as I up date the delivery a couple of days before I go home. I do collect bread & milk on mt way home.