If you hate waiting in lines at stores, technology is coming to the rescue.

Kroger, the nation's second largest supermarket chain, is using measuring body heat to predict how soon shoppers will be at checkout and how many people will be at checkout.

By doing so, they've reduced checkout times from 4 minutes to 26 seconds on average around the country. Though you may see longer lines at your local Kroger! The technology can even be analyzed to tell the front-end manager how many lanes to open or close based on the body heat profile in the store.

Meanwhile, Walmart is testing smartphone apps that allow you to avoid lines in an even more radical way. The apps allow you to barcode scan each item as you put it in a cart. It gives you a running total as you shop and then, in the front of the store, you go to a special register that reads your phone. In theory, it should print out a paper receipt and you pay and go.

Finally, McDonald's is going to its new system where they use ATM-type machines that dramatically increase order accuracy and eliminates clerical orders.

The Wall Street Journal says one business after another is using artificial intelligence to build quicker ways for you to get in and out. And they're doing it at no greater labor costs. Working smarts saves them money and saves you time.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

Show Comments 0