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New website allows NZ shoppers to update supermarket queue status in real-time

How long is the line? 

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For many of us who are used to popping in whenever we like, it's a complete culture shock. Source: Seven Sharp

That has been the question on the minds of many Kiwis before heading to the supermarket during Covid-19 lockdown, with health regulations and limits on the number of people in each store changing how everyone shops. 

Luckily, it's also the name of a new website for shoppers who want to find out how busy their local store is before leaving the house. 

In early stages, the website has been developed by a Dunedin software engineer and allows customers who have just been at a supermarket to report approximately how many people are waiting in line. If a store isn't listed, users can simply add their own on to the site. 

In order to update the status of the supermarket's queue shoppers have to physically be at the store. The website's FAQ page has explained how the website relies on the location coordinates provided by the person's phone. If someone else updates the store's information, it will immediately check their location to align it with that specific supermarket. 

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The website is also open-source, which means any developer can contribute.  

A similar concept has been put together for store-goers at a New World in Kumeu, west of Auckland. The technology allows customers to sit in the comfort of their own cars until they're called in by text message.

Shoppers show that text as they walk in, meaning they don't have to wait in line outside of the supermarket, even though they may have to wait around 45 minutes to actually get inside. The service is also available at one Pak'n Save in Auckland.