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Getting lectured by your shopping cart in the era of Hope & Change

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By Doug Powers  •  July 19, 2014 04:30 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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Hopefully my talking shopping cart will have a Ph.D in psychology, because I’m going to have some serious issues to work through while it tries to convince me not to buy a $9 bag of pork rinds:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.
[…]
The USDA said the ideas are “intended to change the choice architecture of the food retail environment to make healthier choices more prominent,” which is in line with first lady Michelle Obama’s stated second term agenda to “impact the nature of food in grocery stores.”
[…]
The panel came up with six preferred strategies: discount coupons for SNAP recipients; rebates of up to $60 for healthy purchases on EBT cards; buy one get one free deals for SNAP recipients; a targeted marketing plan to promote healthy food; a USDA loyalty card; and new specialized shopping carts.

The “MyCart grocery cart” would provide dividers for shoppers to make sure they are selecting enough items in each “MyPlate” category, the USDA’s food icon.

“MyCart is a nonfinancial approach that would use behavioral economics to encourage healthier purchases by any consumer, including SNAP participants,” the report said.

The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer.

Cart: “Congratulations, shopper, for surrendering any remaining shred of freedom you might have had in return for a complimentary pouch of subsidized oatmeal! And remember: Any exercise of free will is not a heart-healthy option.”

I’ll really appreciate the “buy one get one free” deal for SNAP participants while non-SNAPpers will be paying twice as much for just one. And that’s courtesy of the people who think they’ve cornered the market on “fairness”? This administration is determined not to stop until the only thing going up faster than taxpayers’ blood pressure is the price of groceries (that is, for those who will still have to pay for them).

This will really drag down prices:

Washington’s Free Beacon used chain Safeway as example, which would have to spend $40.04million to install the carts in all of its 1,335 stores.

Other recommendations detailed in the report cooking classes held in grocery stores and employees who would act as ‘ambassadors’ to explain the different rewards programs.

After the stores buy the carts shoppers won’t be able to afford anything to put in them. For the government, every plan is totally workable because there is zero accountability and a limitless budget. Too bad they think everybody else is the same.

Just a guess here, but our “talking shopping carts” will also probably be able to help us not only register to vote, but to choose a candidate.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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