There are few sadder sights than a desperate-looking shopping hostage waiting outside a changing room while their partner tries on a prospective purchase.
But this sorry vista could soon become a thing of the past if Scandinavian car manufacturer Volvo has its way.
It is set to show off a new service called “Roam Delivery” at Mobile World Congress next week which should remove the need for shopping altogether. It also avoids the issue of having to wait at home for one-hour slots while your busy life flashes by.
All unhappy capitalists need do is select what stuff they want using a computer, smartphone or fondleslab. Volvo will then tell them when the delivery is ready and create a single use digital key, allowing employees access to the car for one time only.
Then, shoppers only need to park their car in a designated place, bugger off for a bit and then upon their return, the car should be heavily loaded with goods.
Klas Bendrik, group CIO at Volvo Car Group, said: “By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through using digital keys we solved a lot of problems, since it’s now possible to deliver the goods to persons and not to places.
"The test customers also indicated that the service clearly saved time. And the same thing is valid for delivery companies as well, because failed first-time deliveries cost the industry an estimated €1bn in re-delivering costs. We are now further investigating the technology of digital keys and new consumer benefits linked to it."
The idea is based upon the app Volvo On Call, which allows drivers to heat or cool their car from afar, as well as performing various other functions.
At the risk of sounding churlish, the whole scheme will probably work in Scandinavia, land of saunas and sexual liberation, but might not be so great in scary old Blighty, home of street violence and car crime.
We imagine that thieves would be delighted to see an automobile packed full of gizmos. But we also imagine that shopophobics will be equally delighted to avoid having to trawl through shopping malls.
Do you think it's worth the gamble? ®
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