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Photo by JMacPherson [CC BY 2.0 (]

Yesterday, I ran out of ketone test strips. They’re sometimes available at my local Shoppers Drug Mart. I’ve known better to show up and ask. It’s better to call and ask the pharmacist if they have any in stock. So began my journey.

I called one store. Nope. Called another. Nope. Called a third. Nope. Shoppers pharmacies aren’t able to see the inventory of other stores meaning that calls need to be made to individual stores to check.

Some calls could be completely within a minute. With others, I was put on hold for as much 10 minutes and then asked again what I was looking for. Some needed an explanation. No, not Ketostix. BLOOD ketone test strips for the Freestyle Precision Neo. Not the glucose strips. “Sorry… no.”

Finally, I found one store that carried them. Great.

My robocalling wish would be a Google Duplex type service that could call 20 stores simultaneously and get the answer about inventory within a few minutes. Why? Well, I felt a bit robotic repeating myself over and over. Pressing 3 twice to get through to the pharmacist. And it would need to act immediately. I’d wait 10 minutes and then be able to see if any of the stores carried the product.

This would be a huge effort savings and be an AI work around for Shoppers not having a connected inventory system. It would be a true concierge.

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