SmartShopper-shopping list organizer-users?

elenalNovember 27, 2007

Hi: I'm looking at buying the SmartShopper--the gadget that organizes and prints your shopping and errands list. I know that a pad and pen accomplishes the same task, BUT I confess that I'm looking for a new strategy, and I like the idea of a small electronic organizer with voice recognition. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this device (sold through Sur La Table, but cheaper on Amazon)--does it work well, does it have any drawbacks (aside from the $130 price tag)? I read some reviews on the web (including on Amazon), but folks here tend to be more discriminating consumers, in my experience. Thanks for any feedback.

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elenal, we're all probably so discriminatingly ''old school'' enough to still be using a pad and pen! That said, I hope you try it and report back to us how you like it. It might be a cool tool that none of us know about yet.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 10:51PM
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If you are thinking of buying it, do you enjoy using a blackberry, a Garmin or any electronic time scheduler?
I use all of those items and still use a preprinted list I made up that matches the layout of the store and the things I usually buy, then I just check what I need, but have room to pencil in something. If I wanted something electronic, I could add items to my "to do" list on my electronic scheduler. I like a written list and keep a pad in the kitchen so family can add items to the list.

Unless you have a huge family how many items do you really purchase that you have on your list? Don't you purchase chicken if its on sale rather than pay a lot more because its on your list? Do you have room in your purse for another heavy item every day? Because if you don't carry it with you every day it won't be useful for errands.
With most of these items the majority of people don't have the patience and time to really learn all their features before the new model comes out (then you can't buy replacement items for the one you bought or get software support)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 3:50PM
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From a "used to be poster turned mostly lurker":

I haven't used the Smart Shopper, but I've seen it, and if I wasn't using my PDA for basically the same function, I'd sure be tempted to get one. I use the free HandyShopper software on that, because it's so simple (when I run out of something, I check it to put it on my "need" list, when I'm shopping, I check it off the list and it "disappears", but is still in the "store" list for when I need to add that item back to the list again. Very simple software, and a "paper saver", since there's nothing to print out. If you have a PDA, I'd urge you to try that first. If you don't, you might want to consider buying a cheap one, downloading the free HandyShopper software, and trying it out. You might decide you really like it, depending on how many people in your house need access to the shopping list (I do mine alone, so for me, that works just fine).

One thing to keep in mind about the Smart Shopper - voice recognition is kind of a touch-and-go thing (I work with computers), so be sure if you do buy it, you get it with the option to return it if it doesn't work quite the way you'd envisioned with the voice software. But it might be that you don't really need much as far as voice recognition either...

Anyways, just thought I'd throw my .02 worth in as a person who loves gadgets, and does use an electronic shopping list. :-)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 4:59PM
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts on the SmartShopper product--just the kind of discriminating, incisive feedback I always expect from the THS community. Re Jamie MT: I do use a Palm T:X--indeed it runs my life. Mine didn't come with HandyShopper software. I'll going to check out the Palm website to see if I can get a copy that is compatible with my PDA. Excellent to know this--thanks again, all. You've saved me some loot.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 7:51PM
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SplashShopper is a program that runs on Palm PDAs, & is part of "SplashWallet", a suite or collection of useful programs. SplashShopper is essentially a list manager. You can have multiple lists, such as groceries, things to take on trips, gifts, etc. You use each master list to select what you want to shop for--this shows up as the "Need" list, & you can sort by category, i.e. meats, produce, canned, frozen, etc. You can add, edit, or delete items or categories. I can quickly keep tabs on what we need to get, and it's so easy to click it off at the store.

The SplashWallet also includes SplashID, an encrypted database of all your important numbers that you need to carry with you but don't want anyone else to know, such as SSNs, passwords, etc.

These two programs are worth the cost of the software license, IMO, but the Wallet also includes SplashPhoto, for displaying photos, and SplashMoney, a link to Quicken.

I have absolutely no connection to the Splash software but have been a satisfied user for years.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 8:16PM
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It's so good to "see" you again! I really missed your "Christmas in..." threads. My hands are too full with 2 little ones to post though. Hope to see you chime in more. Have a great holiday season!

Maria (in Athens, Greece)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 1:51AM
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I guess it just strikes me that the $130.00 could be used for charity (and a tax break). What have we come to when we have so much money that we no longer can scribble a few items on paper but need gadgets with buttons!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 5:30AM
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Maria, good to "see" you again as well! :-) I'm "cycling" into an organizing phase again, so perhaps I'll be around more...though I haven't worked Christmas "all year long" in a few years now (I was too busy with a side job-hobby, but have since quit that). Sounds like you're quite busy there with two little ones!

I have the splash software too (got a trial with my PDA - Palm Z22), but I like Handy Shopper because it's less complex. I tend to like software that is ultra-simple, without too many bells and whistles (becaues otherwise, I just get distracted by the extras and end up not using it at all).

I'm attaching a link to a handy shopper download (if they'll let me) - which is free, so you can try that out first if you want to, and I'm sure there's a free trial of splash shopper out there somewhere you could try to see which one fits your needs better. :-)

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Handy Shopper

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:20AM
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Hi, Jamie!

I don't grocery shop the way most people do; we practice just-in-time shopping (DH goes out to get what we need, 10 minutes before he starts cooking). That's what living 47 steps from a grocery store will do to you!

But I would want something automated, I think. A preprinted form w/everything I normally buy would work, but probably I'd shift electronic. But I'm not sure I'd spend that much to have a dedicated gadget (I'd rather have a full PDA), and voice recognition wouldn't be worth the $ to me.

One day I might try the PDA thing again--my problem w/ my trial was that DH never got me set up to sync, and when my battery died, so did all my info.

Also, I really wanted to be able to take notes on it during meetings, and it was just too slow. One day I'll see if a different technology or maybe just a different approach (take the notes by hand during the meeting, transfer only the important parts to the PDA later) would make it work for me.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 5:50PM
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Ah, Tally Sue (hi!)...though it's off on a tangent, I have a solution for you with the PDA and note taking. Every year I participate in National Novel Writing Month (November), and this year, I decided to do most of it on my PDA. I bought a wireless folding keyboard (just slightly larger than my PDA - I carry it in my purse too), and used that in my armchair, on an airplane, even in a bar one night to write chapters of my novel. It took me less than three seconds to get out and set up, ready to use (same amount of time to stow away). The keyboard/palm connection was seamless, just like a normal computer, and I type pretty darn fast (and my Palm is the very cheapest out there - and I used free software for word processing). Let me know if you're interested, and I'll post more info (just don't want to bore anyone else!). I don't work for Palm or anything, just really loved the technology and how it worked. :-)

I've shifted to paperless for a lot of things - my address book, calendar, shopping lists (not just groceries), even some ebooks and a lot of recipes reside on my Palm. I figure not only does it keep everything in one place (and with me all the time), it's a small thing I can do for the environment and killing less trees (for some reason, I've become much more "environmentally conscious" lately...). And of course it has the added benefit of me not losing all those pieces of paper everything used to be on - and my purse stays more organized too.

elenal, I do hope you'll let us know if you figure out what works for you! :-)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:03PM
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Thanks, all, for the additional thoughts and suggestions. I've just downloaded the Handy Shopper software (thanks for the link), and will start trying it out. If that one doesn't work for me after a week or two, I'll try the Splash suite (sounds like an interesting product). I really appreciate the suggestions about these two different sofwares. Yours in organizing, Elenal

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Do PDA's or the Smart Shopper hold all your recipes? Can they be downloaded from your word or excel files?

I have never purchased a PDA and was wondering if more people today are inclined to use one instead of organizing their lists with the help of their own computer?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:18AM
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With regards to recipes, I use my PDA mostly for recipes I get online, or in emails (a daily recipe email provides some fun ones for me). I just copy and paste them into a "memo" in my desktop software (I use a Palm, which has excellent desktop support in my opinion), then sync my PDA and it's all right there. You can buy software that will let you copy word and excel files to the PDA, if that's what you're after.

I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but my PDA is always with me (even in the kitchen & wherever I'm shopping at) - my computer isn't, which makes the PDA far more useful for me. I'm sure people with laptops might find those more useful, since the screen is larger. You can get a fairly large screen on a PDA though...mine's just the cheapest model out there, so I deal with the smaller screen.

Obviously I wouldn't be carrying a laptop through the store though, and with my PDA, I always have lists of groceries, wholesale stores, department stores, and whatever else I need with me all the time, so it's a simple matter of pulling that list up and I'm good to go. If I did that on my home computer, I'd still need to remember to go print out a copy before I left - which I never was very good at, and I'd have to actually sit down at the computer to make the list too, which I'm also not good at. I generally have my PDA with me (I keep it in a pants pocket), so it's easy to remember to add something to the list immediately. ;-)

They aren't for everyone - PDA's need to be synced with your home computer to back them up, and they need to be charged once in awhile. If you're not going to carry it with you *always and everywhere*, it probably won't work for you. But it is pretty darn handy if you are one of those who will use it!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 11:49AM
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Thank you, Jamie, for responding. How do you cross items off of a list with the PDA? I like paper and wonder how easy it is for people like me who are used to paper lists to convert to PDA lists?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 12:20PM
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You can create a list in the PDA, using a "list" function, and then you can, oh, I don't know, "double-click" on the item in the list, and it'll let you choose "done" or something, or you can just delete it.

(I tend to like paper, and would probably never do my grocery list on an electronic item--I'd have the paper list on the fridge door for writing on, and then just add other stuff to that list. But I don't buy much at one time, remember--I don't do a huge shopping trip)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 1:01PM
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Marie, my software works just like a paper check-off list. Each item has a checkbox displayed to the left of it, and you can either use a stylus to "check" it off by tapping it, or you can use a single button click to check it off. I use the buttons, because I don't want to be messing with a stylus while I'm shopping (I never used to cross items off with paper lists, because I didn't want to juggle the paper, pen, and the cart/basket plus items). You choose whether the item just gets crossed off (a line drawn through it) or if it "disappears" from the list (just becomes invisible, basically). I have it set so items disappear off the list when I check them off, so my list gets shorter as I shop. When there's no more list left, I know I've got everything I had "written down". :-)

My software has the quantity to the right, and will display prices too if you want. It has a "checkout" function that will add everything up that you've got on your list too, for budgeting purposes. I don't use those much - I'm all for quick and simple, but they'd be handy if a person needed them.

I shop Costco once or twice a month, the pet store twice a month, and the grocery store once a week (because our milk delivery company recently quit business). Not because I live all that far from the store, but because I hate to leave home once I get there for the night, so I prefer to just do it all at once.

I also keep a running list of wardrobe items I probably should buy (since I hate clothes shopping, and don't go often), gifts, and other various items like books, tea and makeup (most of which I buy online at work - shhh!). I love lists though...that might be a bit extreme for most people.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 3:48PM
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I appreciate Jamie MT's explanation of how to manage electronic lists. I'm a big list person myself, and am now looking forward to using my PDA in a way that I never imagined. Thanks

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 1:39PM
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I have a Treo cell phone that also has email and notepad capabilities. For immediate shopping lists, I walk around the kitchen and write myself an email and send it. I get to the store and read the email from my Treo as I walk around.

In the notes category, I keep measurements and brands of things (like filters for the HVAC, etc.) that have to be replenished occasionally. That way, if I'm out in the hardware store and remember that we need something, I look at my notes and get the right brand/size. I also store window sizes if I'm shopping for window treatments. Cabinet measurements if I'm looking for organizers.

Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 1:48PM
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