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You can now order groceries through your refrigerator

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 13:28:42-05

Lazy, hungry shoppers of the world, we are in trouble. At the Consumer Electronics Show, MasterCard and Samsung announced their partnership on a refrigerator through which consumers can do their grocery shopping.

You read that right: You can go to your fridge, see what’s missing and make an order to replenish it right then and there. So, instead of standing in front of your empty fridge, holding the door open and longingly wishing for that snack you’re craving to appear, you can just buy it.

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Sure, it won’t arrive instantly to satisfy your craving, but unless you’re willing to walk out the door and get it yourself (yeah, right) or pay the premium for on-demand delivery services, getting it sent to you in the next few days might be the next best thing.

To use MasterCard’s Groceries app, you can use any U.S. debit or credit card (it doesn’t have to be a MasterCard), and you check out using a four-digit PIN, likely to prevent accidental ordering by anyone playing around with the fridge.

Convenience tends to come with a cost, and it’s more than the price tag on this refrigerator. (It’s called the Samsung Family Hub and the news release from MasterCard doesn’t list a price, only that U.S. customers will be able to buy it starting in May.) Think about how easy it could be to overspend or lose track of how much you’re spending on groceries when you can make a purchase every time you’re standing in your kitchen with a hankering for who knows what. Conventional wisdom (and research) says you shouldn’t shop when hungry, because you’re more likely to buy things you don’t need, but this technology seems designed for precisely that situation.

There’s also the potential for over-sharing. As more devices join the Internet of Things, the more often places will collect people’s credit card information, personal details and/or other data, potentially making consumers more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.

As always, it’s important to read the terms and conditions associated with any smart device so you know what data, if any, is being stored and collected. It’s also a good general rule of thumb to monitor your personal accounts and information for signs of unauthorized activity, like regularly logging in to your bank account or checking your credit reports. 

New technology is always a tug-of-war between risks and rewards. For the hungry person who frequently lingers at the fridge, the Groceries app in the door might be worth the temptation to go over budget on food.

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