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Walmart's Latest Invention Is A Total Lifesaver For Parents

by Kaitlin Kimont

Every parent knows the scenario: You head out to do some shopping with your kids in tow and, in the blink of an eye, all hell has broken loose. Perhaps the cart is full of things not on your list and maybe your toddler is having a meltdown in the middle of the aisle for some unbeknown reason. Whatever it may be, shopping with kids can be a handful. Fortunately, this new Walmart invention will make parents’ lives so much easier, and here's why.

Walmart is reportedly rolling out “giant self-service kiosks” in its stores that will retrieve customers' online orders, according to Business Insider. As Mashable reported, you can’t miss the massive orange kiosks, which stand 16 feet tall by 8 feet wide.

All you have to do is place your order ahead of time online, head over to the nearest store when it's ready, scan the barcode on your purchase receipt — which you can either print out if you choose or simply access from your phone — and voilà! Your order has arrived in a matter of seconds. No overloaded shopping carts, no waiting lines with an antsy little one, and — most importantly — no fuss.

"Much like a high-tech vending machine for your online orders, this feature in a few of our stores allows you to pick up items in less than a minute by scanning a bar code sent to your smartphone," Walmart's Executive Vice President of Central Operations Mark Ibbotson said in a press release back in April. "The pilot phase has been so successful we’re expanding it to other locations across the country."

At the moment, Walmart is reportedly placing the handy and huge devices in just a handful of regions and cities, including Gilbert, Arizona; Glenpool, Oklahoma; Enterprise and Auburn, Alabama; Gwinnett County, Georgia; and Midlothian, Virginia, according to Business Insider.

It's likely that Walmart's current pick-up process for online orders will operate the same. But instead of heading to the back of the store, you'll head over to the self-service kiosks, which are typically located near the entrance.

While it's not clear right now whether there are any rules that must be met to fulfill an order to be picked up via a kiosk — such as a price minimum or product restrictions — Walmart's current policy doesn't list any.

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And this new invention isn't the first time the massive retailer implemented a way to stand out from the competition. Earlier this year, Walmart tried out a similar and much larger concept for picking up grocery orders, which required customers to spend at least $30. According to the Walmart press release from April, this option is currently available in 600 stores and it plans to add another 500 locations later this year.

Although Walmart's latest invention is only in about a dozen stores right now, these kiosks sound promising and could really be a time-saver for any parent's hectic schedule. Or, perhaps more accurately, a lifesaver.