Image: Cooler Screens

The end times are surely here, as even something as trivial as grabbing a bottle of Coke or Gatorade from a store fridge has turned out to be an insufferable task.

Walgreens and other retailers have begun swapping out their traditional, glass-paneled freezers with high-tech models from Cooler Screens that feature a digital display instead, a seemingly neat idea if it weren’t for the fact that shoppers can no longer see inside and may even have to wait for an ad to stop playing before getting a real idea of what’s behind the door. Cooler Screen’s controversial tech actually appears to have been rolled out at some stores years ago, but recent complaints from shoppers over social media have drawn renewed attention toward what many seem to think is a very, very stupid idea.

“90%+ of consumers no longer prefer traditional glass doors,” reads a statement on the front page of Cooler Screens’ website. Yes, of course.

Walgreens replaced some fridge doors with screens. And some shoppers absolutely hate it (CNN)

  • The screens, which were developed by the startup Cooler Screens, use a system of motion sensors and cameras to display what’s inside the doors — as well as product information, prices, deals and, most appealing to brands, paid advertisements. The tech provides stores with an additional revenue stream and a way to modernize the shopping experience.
  • Currently the startup has about 10,000 screens in stores, which are viewed by approximately 90 million consumers monthly, according to the company. Avakian said the company aims to bring its digital displays to a broad range of retailers including those in beauty, consumer electronics and home improvement.
  • Cooler Screens CEO Avakian said he developed the concept after watching in-store customers whip out their phones to find product information and reviews. Traditionally, in-store advertising has been limited to options like signs, promotions and prominent placement on shelves. But Cooler Screens’ targeted digital ads deliver at the “moment of truth,” Avakian said, right as consumers decide which product to pull out of the fridge.

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10 comments

  1. In one case a person had to watch an ad before the door let them know that it was the freezer had held frozen pizzas. I can see people wasting more energy by just continually opening the doors until they find the one that has the food they want to buy. Cuz most people aren't gonna sit through those ads. A friend of mine also pointed out that the doors waste energy by simply existing. Indeed, that's a higher electricity cost than just having normal glass doors that aren't f*cking screens.
  2. You can bypass the adds by opening the door.
    Yeah but you have no idea what's in there. Think of your standard storefront - you have an aisle with dozens of refrigerated cases next to each other. It spans from milk to eggs to produce to ice cream to beer. And that's before you talk about flavors, if what you want is even in there and in stock, etc.

    If you know what you're after, it's bad enough. If you were just browsing - well, forget that.
  3. Yeah but you have no idea what's in there. Think of your standard storefront - you have an aisle with dozens of refrigerated cases next to each other. It spans from milk to eggs to produce to ice cream to beer. And that's before you talk about flavors, if what you want is even in there and in stock, etc.

    If you know what you're after, it's bad enough. If you were just browsing - well, forget that.
    Every grocery store I've shopped at has signs above the freezers telling you the general content. Yes it's annoying but ****'em, I'll stand there with the doors open looking for what I want before watching their adds... unless my groceries are cheaper for having watched.
  4. Every grocery store I've shopped at has signs above the freezers telling you the general content. Yes it's annoying but ****'em, I'll stand there with the doors open looking for what I want before watching their adds... unless my groceries are cheaper for having watched.
    Here is my question. If the tech exists to do this cheaply with not a lot of power draw, and it can be clear when disabled or opaque when turned on, or some mixture of the two using AR (Augmented Reality) to show what is in the case...


    Why the hell can I not have this on my car windows so I can adjust the tint on the fly or black them out when parked and such? Or show a empty clean car as opposed to mine that always has some piece of trash somewhere that bugs me but is JUST too far to bother picking up.
  5. **** that ****.

    If this comes to any of my usual stores, I'll just go somewhere else.

    I understand advertising is a reality in the world, but if it starts inconveniencing me to where it makes it even more difficult to find stuff in the store, I'm not going to waste my time at that store.
  6. **** that ****.

    If this comes to any of my usual stores, I'll just go somewhere else.

    I understand advertising is a reality in the world, but if it starts inconveniencing me to where it makes it even more difficult ofind stuff in the store, I'm not going to waste my time at that store.
    Same here, for as long as I can make that stance. We do most of our shopping at Wallyworld and already put time into organizing our lists just so I can streamline getting everything in the 30-40 minutes I've got in between getting off work, doing the shopping, and then picking up my wife so we can go straight home right after. I will definitely send complaints to them if they install this crap.

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