Going too far

This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's a barcode scanner that hooks up to your computer. You can use it to scan every thing that you throw away and buy, so you can keep a "running inventory" of your kitchen. It'll make a shopping list for you so you can replenish your inventory to what it was.

For anyone who's worked in retail, they can see the absurdity of the situation. Doing inventory is hard, and it works in retail for two reasons: 1) You have a set stock of products that, while it may change, you pretty much know what it is and will be, and/or you have to keep track of most of the information for other purposes anyways, so tracking what's there and what's gone isn't that much more difficult; and 2) You have to do that to find out what's been stolen throughout the year. Still, it's a lot of work.

For the home, you aren't really all that concerned with shrinkage (from an inventory perspective, at least. I won't presume to guess what you worry about otherwise), and your inventory varies from week to week based on interest, season, and sales at the store. It would be especially difficult for me, as I tend to shop on the outer ring of the store, getting the fresh fruits, breads, dairy, etc, but avoiding as much prepared food as possible. I'll make a foray into the baking aisle and canned goods aisle, but even the baking aisle would do me little good, as I dump the flour into airtight containers immediately, so I wouldn't be able to scan the stuff as I ran out.

So this is a classic case of a solution in search of a problem, and something that I wrote about in the first part of this series. Take a look at the rest of the series to get caught up on what I think would make a good computer.