You place items in your shopping cart. Then when you get up front, you drop them on to the checkout belt. Seconds later, you place them back in your cart.

There has to be a better way!

Some major shopping chains have heard the complaints of frustrated customers and have introduced measures to let you "scan as you go." As you take an item off the shelf, you use your phone or special device to swipe the barcode, and it's added to your total. In the end, your wait at the checkout lane is much shorter, or not even necessary.

Out of the 63 Stop & Shop locations in New Jersey, 44 have launched Scan It! technology for customers. Once they fill out applications and obtain unique shopper cards that give them access to the scan guns, shoppers can grab devices every time they enter the store.

"About 40 percent of our customers actually use this technology," said district director Carlos Ramos at the Howell Stop & Shop along Route 9 North. "The mother that's in a hurry, younger customers, some of the seniors."

Scan It! users are encouraged to bring their reusable bags, but paper and plastic bags are available at the kiosks where the devices are picked up.

Howell resident Dagmar Walters said the scan-as-you-go approach has cut her shopping time in half.

"Every time I come in here, I use it," Walters said. "If all the devices are used up, I go to the other side and I pray to God there is a device available."

Stop & Shop customers can also scan with their own phones or tablets by downloading the chain's app. While shopping, they see their running tab and how much money they've saved through weekly promotions.

To get these shoppers on their way even quicker, the Howell location has specific lanes devoted only to Scan It! users.

Ramos said transactions are flagged at random for an "audit" as a way to ensure shoppers scan each item they place in their carts.

More than 400 Stop & Shop locations nationwide utilize the technology.

Sam's Club photo

The self-scan process is taken one step further for customers of the warehouse chain Sam's Club.

Shoppers can enter their payment card information right on to their Scan & Go app, meaning there's no need to wait on a checkout line. They head right to the exit where an "exit attendant" can cross-reference the digital receipt with the items in the cart.

"We truly believe that this holiday season we will be able to give our members the gift of time - time they can better spend with their family and friends," said Sam's Club spokesperson Dianna Gee.

Scan & Go is available at every location nationwide.

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