by Eric Berkman

Warm Laser Gun Makes Wedding Registration Better for the Groom

Jun 01, 20012 mins
Consumer Electronics

From a groom’s perspective, registering, and wedding planning in general, is a huge drag. It’s all about the bride. That’s why I was so unenthusiastic about spending a day at a suburban Boston mall picking out china patterns, tablecloths and bedsheets with my fiancŽe and her mother. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Our first stop was Bloomingdale’s. As soon as we showed up at the registry desk, the lady smiled and handed me a plastic gun. She explained that it’s a scanner gun; we simply go through the store zapping the bar code of anything we want, and it’s immediately entered into our registry. I started stalking through the aisles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, blasting away at everything in sight. I saw another guy making laser noises as he pointed his gun. I did the same thing until Brett, my fiancŽe, made me stop. But Bloomie’s knew what it was doing: an appliance that produces homemade Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles is solely the result of an itchy trigger finger.

I had so much fun at Bloomingdale’s that I raced to our next stop, Ross-Simon, which started as a catalog company and seemed to be making a rocky transition to store and Web shopping. Its registry clerks used WordPerfect for DOS on monochrome screens, and they couldn’t bring up images of items. If the store was sold out of something or you wanted a catalog item, you couldn’t order it while actually in the store.

Our last stop was Crate & Barrel. No guns; they made us walk around with a metal clipboard and a carbon-paper order log. Brett stuck me on clipboard duty, and as she picked things out, I painstakingly wrote in every item, its price, its SKU number and the quantity desired, entering everything in the right category. It was cumbersome, and left a lot of room for human error and not much fun. But its computers were up-to-date, and the store, catalog and Web selections were consistent. The checkout person said the company would be testing a gun at its Chicago stores this spring. Most important, its martini glasses are pretty cool. I’ll cut them some slack for that.