A Shopping Cart to Watch Over You

by Mark Krikorian

One of my undergraduate professors, Jose Sorzano, was a Cuban refugee who was a teenager when Castro came to power. What convinced him he had to leave was when he was calling a friend and in between each ring of the phone a recorded message repeated “Cuba si, Yanqui no!” That level of totalitarian control, where even the space between rings of the telephone had to be filled with propaganda, was just too much.

Our own progressives seem to be picking up where Castro left off. A piece last week in the Washington Free Beacon on USDA plans to “nudge” Americans to buy healthier food at the grocery store included a look at talking shopping carts, which wouldn’t let you alone with your thoughts as you roll down the aisles:

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.

“The algorithm would group the purchases to classify them using the MyPlate designations and to provide consumers with a message of support or encouragement (e.g., “You achieved a MyCart healthy shopping basket!”),” the report said.

Or, to follow the Castro model, Lentils si, hot dogs no!

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