Where technology brought us 

Clinton Community College
Muscatine Community College
Scott Community college

United Personnel, Inc
1921 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

KDi Corporation
P.O. Box 1342
Bettendorf, IA 52722

5115 Utica Ridge Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Careers, Inc
807 W 35 St
Davenport, IA

Midwest Human Resources
4601 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Volt Services Group
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 404
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

All Staff Human Resources
3401 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Automatic price scanners change the way we shop

By Sarah Larson, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Nobuko Oyabu / staff
Randi Manske scans items for prices at Hy-Vee in Moline.

Richard Geifman remembers the first time he saw bar-code price scanners.

``I was visiting the first company to make them in the early 1970s,'' he said. ``I thought someday that would be a great way to do things.''

That someday came and went. Today, few youngsters can imagine the days before automatic price scanners. Mr. Geifman remembers, though, because he saw the changes over the years.

The Geifman family owned the largest independent grocery-store chain in the Quad-Cities, with 11 stores.

Mr. Geifman's first job in the family business was using a grease pencil to write prices on the tops of cans.

Later, he and other employees used stampers to imprint prices in blue ink. The stamper had bands of numbers that could be rotated to the correct price. As the person pushed down on the handle, the price bands rotated into the ink, then onto the item.

The cashiers used manual cash registers to tally the prices. The best cashiers had most of the prices memorized, so they didn't even have to look at the price on the item. If prices changed, cashiers could verify the correct price by looking in a mimeographed master price book.

Geifman Food Stores switched to automatic price scanners in the late 1970s, Mr. Geifman said. The technology that is so taken for granted today caused quite an uproar at first.

``The cashiers were a little distrustful, at first,'' Mr. Geifman said. ``Some customers were worried, too. There was a lot of apprehension on both parts.''

Cashiers and customers worried the new price scanners would not work right, he said. The company continued to stamp prices on packages for quite a while, until everyone was convinced the scanners were reading the correct prices.

Today, few people can imagine returning to the labor-intensive days before scanners arrived in local stores. Their speed and efficiency changed the way people shop.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.