Now, Refrigerators Are Watching Us Too – “Smart” Coolers Are Coming to a Store Near You

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If you’ve been feeling like you just don’t have enough “smart” devices spying on you every day, I have great news. “Smart coolers” may be coming to a store near you.

Years ago, you would have sounded like a lunatic if you said that a refrigerator was watching you. But, like other new technology, yesterday’s serious mental health symptom is today’s reality.

Walgreens is piloting a new line of “smart coolers”, which are refrigerators equipped with cameras that scan shoppers’ faces and make inferences on their age and gender. On January 14, the company announced its first trial at a store in Chicago. The drugstore chain plans to put the coolers in stores in New York, Seattle, and San Francisco by the end of January.

Walgreens is getting paid to install smart coolers.

So far, 15 large advertisers have signed up to test the Cooler Screens platform, including Nestlé SA, MillerCoors LLC, and Conagra Brands Inc.  While Cooler Screens is currently only in Walgreens stores, the company is looking to get their product in additional chains as well.

The technology embeds cameras, sensors, and digital screens in cooler doors, creating a network of “smart” displays that marketers intend to use to target ads to specific types of shoppers, explains The Wall Street Journal:

The refrigerator and freezer doors act as a digital merchandising platform that depicts the food and drinks inside in their best light, but also as an in-store billboard that can serve ads to consumers who approach, based on variables such as the approximate age the technology believes they are, their gender and the weather.

This new technology could provide brick-and-mortar stores with a marketplace similar to online advertising. Ice cream brands could duke it out to get the most prominent placement when it is 97 degrees outside; an older man could see ads for different products than a younger woman. (source)

Here’s what the screens look like:

But don’t worry. It’s not facial recognition.

In Now Your Groceries See You, Too, Sidney Fussell writes of the technology:

Crucially, the “Cooler Screens” system does not use facial recognition. Shoppers aren’t identified when the fridge cameras scan their face. Instead, the cameras analyze faces to make inferences about shoppers’ age and gender. First, the camera takes their picture, which an AI system will measure and analyze, say, the width of someone’s eyes, the distance between their lips and nose, and other micro measurements. From there, the system can estimate if the person who opened the door is, say, a woman in her early 20s or a male in his late 50s. It’s analysis, not recognition. (source)

So, wait a second here – the camera takes photos of people and analyses them, but because this isn’t actual “facial recognition” there isn’t anything to worry about?

I’m not buying it.

Here are the minute details that smart coolers record.

Cooler Screens also has “iris tracking” capabilities, meaning the company can collect data on which displayed items are the most looked at.

Most the reporting on this technology is downplaying another detail that should be raising eyebrows: The Cooler Screens website states “We believe brands should be able to measure the performance of media buys in real-time.”

It sounds like what they really mean is “brands should be able to spy on shoppers.” Advertisers think nothing of invading our privacy if it means they’ll make more money. Remember when we showed you how your smart device was tracking every move you made in real time?

Arsen Avakian, Cooler Screens co-founder and CEO, wants us to know that our data is safe:

“The business model is not built on selling consumer data. The business model is built on providing intelligence to brands and to the retailers to craft a much better shopping experience.” (source)

Haven’t we heard this line before?

Walgreens has made another unsavory alliance.

This isn’t the first questionable alliance Walgreens has recently formed. As pointed out by MassPrivateI, the chain has allowed Microsoft access to patient information. On January 15, the Associated Press reported:

The drugstore chain Walgreens is working with Microsoft to improve care, as more companies seek ways to manage patient health, cut costs and improve quality.

The companies said Tuesday that they will work to improve care in part by using patient information and the Walgreens store network. The companies will aim to boost prescription adherence, cut down on emergency room visits and decrease hospital admissions. (source)

The report makes no mention of HOW Microsoft will be accessing private data, other than saying it will be done via the “Walgreens store network.” It seems like customers would have to give permission for their personal information to be shared in such a way, but who knows?

By the way, Microsoft is a Cooler Screens investor.

Do we need yet another invasion of privacy?

Do we really need to be barraged with MORE advertising and more invasion of our privacy? How long until every aisle of every store is equipped with mind-reading technology?

Will commercialism and corporate branding eventually take over every aspect of our lives, as it did in the dystopian comedy Idiocracy?

What do you think?

What do you think about Walgreens using this technology? Would it bother you to shop from a smart cooler? If it comes to your region, will you avoid shopping at stores that spy on you?

About Dagny

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of a professional journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Picture of Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

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  • I’ve been thinking that I might try another pharmacy due to several problems with Walgreens pharmacy that I have witnessed.
    Now my decision is concrete.
    If another chain does the same, I will be going to a neighborhood pharmacy – they can’t afford the price these pharmacies pay.

    • That’s a good idea. You may pay a tad more however by shopping for anything at any pharmacy that isn’t a CHAIN one. BUT, if you can do so then support the locals and do just that. And no I wouldn’t think they would be installing the new SMART coolers like the BIG GUYS are doing.
      Time to bring out the baseball caps. I have several in different colors. SO I will use them where I shop (just in case) by pulling it down just over my eyes so they won’t get my full picture, b/c you can’t believe ANYTHING these pharmacy people tell you or for that matter ANY of the marketing representatives either. IF we are “SMART” (hahaha) then WE will know that they will ALL “lie” through their teeth to sell us their products. The word “SMART” is nothing new…It’s been around awhile. In fact I knew about this “SMART” marketing strategy back in 2013 when living and studying out in Missouri. There are MANY things now that are called “SMART”. The public is suppose to get used to that word so they will be able to use it for bigger and better things in the future of mankind…AHHH, how about these, have you seem them or heard about them yet? How about

      .Subway has a register receipt called the SMART receipt, Clorox has a bleach called SMART Seek Bleach, there are Earth SMART flowers, a SMART phone, SMART shopping deals, SMART commercials on television, ads in magazines, SMART T.V. shows, recipes, and foods, milk and juices. We’ve all seen already the SMART car.
      That’s not all of them, consider these SMART things as well…SMART clothes, houses and roads, energy efficient appliances and electric meters, cars, tires for the car, televisions, ideas and Digital “SMART” cash…

      A package of Blue Diamond almonds had SMART EATING printed on the front label…FORD Automobile had an add out for a STREET SMART Ford car, In 2008 it said it the 2008 EDGE was equipped with “Sync Technology”. The Kitchen Wares company has out a measuring cup that measures with precision your ingredience for baking, cooking etc. It’s from TAYLOR and it’s called the SMART CUP. Crisco has advertised they have a SMART way to make a salad even better with their new OMEGA-3 puritan salad oil. What about the SMART ONES breakfast English Muffins. We had frozen foods called FRESH CUT and they have advertised it as EAT SMART. Publix Supermarkets had on the front of one of their Publix Magazines that you pick up free at any PUBLIX market and it was a winter of 2009 magazine. On the front cover was written EASY, SMART, FUN and was advertising a SMART way to cook holiday cookies. They were SMART “cookies”.

      The Perdue chicken company has PERDUE SIMPLY SMART Original Grilled Chicken Strips that is “SMART” chicken…has NO
      antibiotics” ever!!!

      And the list goes on and on, to many to mention here. SO we are gradually becoming accustomed to this word “SMART”…

      SO walk by the SMART freezers, and talk on your SMART phone and drive your SMART car, and eat that SMART food, and buy those SMART flowers and be sure to measure everything in your SMART measuring cup while you’re at it. We also now have SMART appliances in our homes, SMART doorbells too. I wonder just how much “SSMMAARRTTEERR” we’re going to become !!!

      Stay safe and above all stay very “SMART”!!!




  • It appears that brick and mortar stores are intent on finalizing the retil pocalypse. It’s time for truth in advertising.
    I propose renaming Silicon Valley to Psychopath Valley.

  • Has anyone seen the video screens at the self-checkout at Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets? I ran in & was checking only to look up & see myself on a small video screen slightly above eye level. They were at every register. Why? This is all so very disturbing.

    • I saw the day our Walmart started putting these cameras up in the self-check lanes. An associate asked me if I wanted to use the self-check, and I told her I did not appreciate the cameras in my face. How can they claim they are watching for shoplifting if they aren’t watching what my HANDS were doing? I know why… Besides, every self check they put in causes someone their job. I will not be a willing participant in that OR my own slavery. Shop local and small when you can.

  • Something as simple as grocery shopping is turning into a terrorizing experience. I don’t go to Walgreens but I am sure that CVS can’t be far behind. The “smart” people will be drawing on mom and granny’s idea of shopping at the green grocer, the butcher, the baker, etc. I would much rather deal with individual merchants.

  • I work for a major grocery chain which is trialing something similar, customizing ads on the store shelves electronically, I am not 100% sure off the top of my head, but I think linking with your ‘smart’ phone. Myself, I will not purchase new ‘smart’ appliances, I will not purchase a new vehicle that is internet connected (it’s bad enough that even ‘older’ vehicles are computer based). I do prefer to shop the ‘mom and pop’ stores when I can. We don’t have a Walgreen’s locally, so it’s not an issue for me, but all the more reason to avoid them. And agree with previous poster who pointed out that obviously, other chains are not far behind.

  • Addinitionally steeping into the Orweelian creepiness camaign is Newsguard, the new self proclaimed “Ministry of Truth”, which has totally discredited itself as the “Ministry of Propaganda”, with the philosophy that all wars are good, just, pro- humanitarian, and pro-democracy. The fact that Newsguard gives an equal approval rating to the New York Times, Fox News, CNN and NBC, when and the New York Times, CNN, and NBC report contrasting ” realities” on a myriad of domestic issues on everything from the Mueller investigation, to Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s rigging of the primary and attempts to rig the general election, Hilary Clintons use of a personal server, personal email wiped with bleachbit, and the fact that Russians did not hack into DNC emails, but were loaded nto a thumbdrive on the east coast and transferred to wikileaks, and that the DNC and Clintons still have not handed there computers over to the FBI for forensic investigations.

    A green Newsguard rating is a virtual guarantee of outright lies regarding foreign policy. A red Newsguard rating could be one of absolute truth, like Mintpress news, or total fabrication, like the National Enquirer.

    I have called Governor Tony Evers, UWM, The USS Liberty Library, and Grafton Public school system and explained this to them and requested that they do not install Newsguard and they appeared to be in agreement based on the evidence and logic.


  • Reuters reported that former NSA workers were spying on and hackng Americans phones and computers for the UAE, having the sheer audacity to say they work in intellgence. That’s called counter-intelligence, for a very obvious reason! At least these nemetodes didn’t grow up to be school shooters, so they’ve got that going for themselves! These treasonous Anti-Americans that surveil Americans are evidently illiterate since they never read the constitution that they took an oath to uphold!

  • I left walgreen along time ago. Got tired of their mess. I have been using a private drug store for a while now. Not a chain store. It is the only one around and close to me. Guess I will be carrying my sunglasses in to wear at stores that have the smart fridge along with a cap of some sort. Let them figure that out. I don’t know what this country has come to, but is is not for anything but evil. May God help us all through this mess.

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