Self-service grocery stores aren't what they used to be. In 1933, a grocery store in Los Angeles represented the pinnacle of leisure for a housewife. Instead of roaming around the aisles, all she had to do was sit down on a bar stool and select merchandise from moving shelves. Shelves made a complete circuit every eight minutes. Sure, the process sounds relaxing, but something about the concept just reeks of glorified laziness. If you're going to eat a whole tube of Oreos in one sitting, the least you can do is walk ten feet down the snacks aisle looking for it.
Automated grocery stores never really took off, but variations of the idea popped up throughout the years. In 1937, a self-service grocery store in Memphis, TN, allowed customers to order their merchandise by sticking keys into slots next to the items they wanted. By the time they finished, a master control mechanism would have recorded everything they wanted. The goods would come out of a chute attached to storage shelves and a calculator would total the cost.
Read the full story in "Shelves Move in New Store"