Go to Kmart to use the Internet to shop at Kmart


[Read the post]


Mind you this was at a time when most people didn’t even have dial up. Amazing how fast some things can be obsolete.
ETA just noticed the 1998 but still anything with that speed and graphics that nice was not gonna happen at home quite yet. DSL was the blazing speed and was not easily available everywhere.


She looks like a Maria Bamford character.


From the trenches: I, Cincinnatvs

In July, 1998, I moved to the Kmart Solutions project, which was an attempt to expand the product offering at Kmart stores without expanding the actual floor space. The hope was that Kmart could offer sheds, playscapes, appliances, a more comprehensive music catalog, furniture and other stuff, through an in-the-store web application, for which the customer could pay at a regular cash register. My job was to take the orders placed and forward them to the companies who would fulfill them. Some of those companies accepted orders in EDI format; some accepted their orders by email; some could only accept orders as facsimiles. I had just learned Java 1.1 and this was the first application I ever wrote in it. In the end, the application I wrote forwarded orders for Kmart Solutions and the Kmart.com website, both of which used IBM's Net.Commerce package.

Initially, the Kmart Solutions system would print out a sheet of paper upon which the “web” portion of the customer’s order was printed and a specific cash register had to be used to cash the customer out. This meant that, if the customer purchased other merchandise, they had to check out twice. My first CGI (Common Gateway Interface) program was written in C and it automatically transferred the customer’s web order to Kmart’s retail pricing system so that it was available from any cash register and could be rung up along with the customer’s other purchases.


If Kristen Wiig’s Target character and Maria Bamford had a baby, it would be that woman.


I remember those. Also a fun fact, the site/kiosk used to play the ‘all your base belong to us’ video if you searched for ‘all your base’ on that website too



Thanks for the giant annoying GIF that adds absolutely nothing to the article. I’m really sick of this trend.


Soon with oculus rift you’ll be able to visit a virtual K-Mart from your own home and use these kiosks to order things, then who’s laughing.


The internet zeitgiest irony is strong with this one. Perhaps…whole stores could exist this way?
Delicious irony.

Isn’t this why Kmart went out of business? Does Kmart still exist maybe? I haven’t seen one in over a decade


You probably see a “Kmart” more often than you realize…
Kmart actually purchased Sears back in 2004 for $11B.


I wonder how they would have taken it if you went to K-Mart to use the computer to shop Amazon?


I have a rift, and mine is a post-commerce device. No shopping allowed.

Who’s laughing now?

Shop smart, shop S-Mart!


Still, amazingly prescient on how to monetize the internet, At that time most of us non-billionaires still envisioned a hand processed CC transaction. Not Elon Musk. Dammit.


Is this really odd?

We research which dishwasher we want and select a model and go to Home Depot…just to watch the guy at the store boot up the Homedepot website and order it.


I hate Home Depot, but one good thing about them is keeping their internet inventory live. This can save quite a bit of time. A customer can check which stores have an item, or have it sent to a local store from a more distant one.

Now if only they did special orders, and didn’t prefer to stock only mediocre wares, I would avoid them slightly less.


Those CRT touchscreens were so responsive.


You’ve got 54-, 60- and 64-inch televisions. Nothing deeper?


It’s kind of like how Sears used to have booths with phones in them – not really “phonebooths” – which people could use to order from the catalog


There was a period during 1999-2000 when I was using free (ad-subsidized) Kmart dial-up at home. It was called BlueLight.com, after the stores’ blue light specials. I never used it to shop at Kmart, though we still had one in town back then.


Yeah, people have got to keep in mind that there were less than 150 million people on the Internet worldwide in December 1998.

Snarking on people for not being part of the 4%?

I was working at a Kmart in 1998. Shopping at Kmart would have been beneath the average BoingBoing contributor. Don’t know about other stores, but our customers tended to be old, poor, or both. And when they were both, they were there to avoid the crowd at Walmart. Buying stuff on the Internet through a store kiosk probably seemed like a no-brainer to the higher-ups.

And as far as the old, poor folks went, you learned quickly, if you were trying to make small talk, to not ask about their pets when they were buying pet foods. There was no pet, the pet food was cheaper than other canned meat.

Yeah, dear God. When I see one of these absolutely pointless, bad GIFs, I think of this: