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National Consumer Panel: Earn prizes for scanning your groceries

The National Consumer Panel is once again accepting new applicants in many locations.

If you are accepted as a panel member, you will be sent a small hand-held scanner and will scan all the bar codes of everything you purchase. Once a week, you’ll transmit this
information and you’ll earn points which can be redeemed for a variety of items from the Gift Catalog.

The National Consumer Panel is a “mini-USA” that represents all types of Americans. Manufacturers and retailers will look at the information you send to them to decide what products to make and sell to consumers all across the country.

I posted about this opportunity awhile back when they were accepting applicants and many of you left comments on your experiences. Some of you did not enjoy doing this at all and some of you found it quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in hearing about others’ experiences in this program, check out the comments on this post.

If you try out the program and find it is not for you, you can easily ship back the handheld scanner using a postage-paid box they provide.

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  1. jen says

    Wonder why they can’t just allow you to scan your reciept. Kind of strange that you have to scan each item.

    • Brian says

      @jen, The specific barcode for each product gives exact product details. If you scan them a copy of your receipt it only allows them to see what descripiton the store chooses to give. Such as Energizer AA batteries 4 pack might show on a receipt as Batt AA.

    • Emily says

      @jen, Scanning each item’s barcode will give the panel the specific items purchased. Scanning a store’s barcode will not give them anything, as they do not have access to the store’s computer systems. (and, in case you were referring to actually scanning the receipt on a scanner/copier, that would not give the specific items purchased, in many cases).

  2. Dana from Alabama says

    I signed up for this the last time and have yet to receive a scanner. I do get emails from them from time to time saying that I’m still on the waiting list, but so far nada.

    • Kristin says

      @Dana from Alabama, I did sign up and was initially put on the waiting list. But I just recently was accepted and received my scanner. It’s very easy to use and doesn’t cost you anything to be a panelist. My family and I have enjoyed scanning our items and it has even helped us pay more attention to what we are spending our money on. So if you can get accepted, definitely try it out.

  3. says

    I started doing this after your last post. It’s really not that bad. I do most of my shopping at Walmart and the only bad thing is that I have to enter the price of every item. At Dillons, I only have to scan the item. A week’s worth of groceries takes me about 10 minutes to scan, even having to enter the price in. BUT it will take you years to earn enough points to get much of anything. Taking their surveys earns more points than scanning your purchases.

  4. jennifer says

    I’ve been doing this for about 10 months. Some weeks it’s not bad but the weeks that you make a lot of deal purchases it can be wearing especially when you have to remember to enter coupons for every item. I’ve made enough points to get some really nice things but I’m holding out for the larger items.

  5. Keiva says

    I was going to do this and had the scanner at home and it just sat there because every time I got home my 5 kids were running crazy through the house and I just didn’t have the time to go through every single item and scan it before I put it away. I sent my back never even opened it. Too much time for me!

  6. says

    I’ve been on the panel for nearly five months. It does take awhile to get a scanner once selected. I was told I was selected in early December and got my scanner in January. The day after I got my scanner, I actually received an email telling me it had shipped…

    It is ok. My husband hates scanning, but the points do add up. I’m already up to nearly 10,000 points. You get points for scanning, surveys and then on major anniversaries. Yes, it can take awhile to get enough for the larger items, it is worth it to not be out any money, in our opinion. They also run weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly sweepstakes. I have yet to win (not surprised, our family joke is that we can’t win a trip to a pay toilet), but hey, the chance is there as long as you scan weekly.

    I have also received thank you gifts for participating. I have gotten a reusable folding grocery bag and a bottle opener recently.

    My only issues so far is that every questionnaire I filled out in the application process asked what operating system you use on your computer and how technologically behind the scanners are. We are Linux geeks, so I always said Linux. The software you have to install only works for windows (too much hassle to use Linux with the emulators) so I have to use windows for transmitting the scanner info. The scanner itself isn’t as technologically advanced as I would prefer. You have to scroll through all the store options to get to yours. I would much prefer something a little more up to date, but then, I realize that not all participants in the program would be able to operate something like that.

    It is a good program. You just have to stay with it. They don’t want people signing up, staying for a short time and getting great prizes for a little work. That’s why it can take a year or so for the larger gift items. From a business standpoint, that is wise on their part.

  7. D says

    I did this for about 10 months and sent it back. I shop alot of deals with coupons. Scanning each item, enter price, entering coupon, entering store sale, etc….. If I shopped for an hour, it took 30-45 minutes to enter the information into the scanner. Not worth my time.

  8. ellen says

    not a scaner in my area… tried to get on the wait list.. but couldn’t get to the web site to do so.. oh well….

  9. Sarah says

    For me, scanning every item I purchased, entering the price, telling whether I used a coupon or not, and then transmitting the information was too much. I just sent back my scanner yesterday. I also agree with an above commenter that you might as well do surveys to earn points, because scanning will take you forever to earn anything meaningful.

    There was one time during my time on the panel (maybe 6 months?) they sent me a reusable grocery bag that was lined to keep foods cold/hot. That was a nice surprise.

    I was very gung ho about it when I first signed up, but the novelty wore off after several scanning marathons. It’s worth a shot and it’s very easy to return the equipment. Just keep all the packing materials they send you!

  10. Pat says

    I’ve been doing this program for about 4 years and have only earned enough points to redeem twice. It is ALOT of work and you have to redeem for their prizes, most of which are pretty lame (anyway, it’s not stuff that I want). If I could find a prize that I really wanted right now, I’d redeem and quit, but I keep doing it hoping that “next year” they’ll have better prizes.

  11. Katie M says

    I agree with those who have used the scanners. I signed up in November I think, but I didn’t get the scanner until the end of January. It does take time to scan everything, but I just line everything up before starting. I hate scrolling through all the stores, but it saves the most recent ones. So then I don’t have to keep scrolling.

    As to points, I do all the surveys they send because it seems as if I’ll never get enough points when I only get 150 per week for scanning.

    I did like getting the cool foldable reusable shopping bag and the bottle opener. My husband is over the program though and thinks it takes too much time. Funny how he didn’t think that when they sent us the prize catalog…

  12. laura says

    I’m sending my back ASAP just to much time and effort to scan all the deals in, as well as what it cost and each coupon…to much trouble.

  13. Jenny says

    got the scanner and was able to log in to their website to see the prizes, just didn’t seem worth it to actually get anything worthwhile from the prizes! sent the scanner back immediately without every using. I’d be interested to know if people ever accrued enough points to get anything decent…

  14. says

    I’ve been a panel member for awhile and I love it. I think it’s easy to use- although I agree that it’s a bit behind tech wise and would love to see something a little more advanced, but it works.

    I’m probably a overly organized shopper. I go with lists that have the coupons on it, and since I’m mostly shopping deals, I usually have that all written out as well. So I already usually know exactly what I paid and how much off I had with coupons. When I get home I put everything on the counter and go down my receipts scanning items, entering in prices, coupons, etc. It does take a little time, but not usually more than 2o-30 minutes, even when I’ve been to 3-4 stores.

    I’m with the above poster who said her husband hates scanning things in- mine just forgets. But I think the surveys are usually pretty short and easy, and the little bonus prizes are nice to get. Overall I’ve had a good experience with it.

  15. says

    I have been doing this now going on heck almost 2 years. When I first started out my wife was doing all the scanning but now I am a nice hubby and I help out. Some days it can be a real pain in the “you know what” but over the course of time we have cashed out 4 times. Even tho the prizes might not be the greatest it is something free for items I have already purchased. So In my opinion its not to bad. I multi task alot anyway believe it or not I am noramly playing world of warcraft while I am scanning. lol. So everyone keep your heads up it does get easier the longer you do it. At least for me and my wife it did.

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