As the conveyor belt stopped the checker picked up an item, and passed it over a slot on the counter and in that instant the register displayed the name of the item and a price. The customer had just experienced in operation Sperry Univac's AccuScanTM Grocery Checkout System. The supermarket checkout system is designed to read and decode those mysterious bars and stripes appearing in ever increasing numbers on grocery, drug and other supermarket products. A low power Helium Neon continuous wave laser with beam expander optics and a Photo-multiplier comprise the scanner, the heart of the AccuScanTM System. The scanner provides the video signals used by the AccuScanTM System to decode the symbol. The Laser/Photomultiplier optical and scanning system will be described in detail with attention to the adverse operating characteristics in which the system must operate, and the problems encountered in designing the system and AccuScan'sTM solutions. This is a performance history of installed systems and actual environmental solutions which must be found in order to scan in the supermarket environment at a cost effective price.