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Grocery stores to start spying on customers to make targeted advertisements

Fry's parent company, Kroger, is now testing new technology to create tailor-made ads for shoppers.

Grocery stores are going high tech, testing out a way to track the mood of shoppers as they walk through the aisles. 

But really, the new technology sounds a little creepy to some shoppers. 

It's all about advertising, which these days is targeting us just about everywhere we look, whether we know it or not.

“There are times where I’m like, boy… you know, a Snickers ice cream bar sounds pretty darn good right now,” said Joel Coen, advertising expert from The Commit Agency.

He says there's mixed opinions floating around on this topic.

“The cool thing about advertising is that you get delivered things in many cases that you want, right… it’s like oh, I didn’t think about that,” he said. “On the other side, it feels weird, right? I mean, it’s definitely creepy from the sense that when you read some of these articles, they’re predicting your mood.”

Kroger is now testing the cameras embedded on price signs above shelves to track customers.

They can even pick up a shoppers age and sex to create tailor-made ads.

“And then it’s like that person is sad, maybe they’d like some ice cream,” said Coen.

The discounts will then show up on video screens attached of the shelves.

Meanwhile at Walgreen's, they're testing cameras installed on the cooler doors. Rather than a clear glass door, the front of the door is a video screen which will display ads. 

These cameras can also guess your age and they track your eyes to see where you were looking. Right now, Walgreen's says those functions are turned off.

“We’re getting into a new space, but I think that it’s definitely a negative from a privacy perspective,” Coen said.

Coen says only time will tell how effective this technology really is.

“And is it something that people are going to accept,” he said.

Coen says in the advertising world, there are strict rules about what they can and can't do to make sure customers rights are protected. For example, they can’t tie your name to specific activity.

And in this case - Kroger says the information collected on these cameras will remain anonymous and they won’t store any of it, so your privacy is safe.