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The future is here: Amazon Go


SeaConquest
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Sounds cool but more jobs lost :(

YMMV, but ringing groceries all day doesn't seem like the best use of human creativity and ingenuity IMHO. Automation is coming, whether we like it or not, and people would be wise to retool in preparation vs. trying to pretend it's still 1970.

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I told my son he might be telling his kids stories about waiting in line to pay when he was little.

Unlikely. Just as the personal computer didn't stop us from using pen and paper and Kindles don't stop us from reading books, gimmicks like this will have limited appeal and use. It's just not practical for most scenarios, similar to self check out at the grocery.

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Sounds cool but more jobs lost :(

 

I thought of the lost jobs as well. An nobody to ask where to find things unless you ask other customers who may know the store better. Less people to people interaction. Couple of years from now, we won't be chatting with anyone at the grocery store anymore -walk in, walk out without a word.

Edited by Liz CA
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What happens if someone does not put their phone on the scanner on the way in?

 

Or what if they do but their phone runs out of charge while in the store?

 

What if you get a phone call and pick up to talk while you are shopping?

 

I'm going to take a wild guess and bet they thought of all that...

 

It sounds like the phone check-in is simply a form of ID.  All the grocery add-up is occurring in their computers, not the phones.  Then you're billed through a pre-registered credit card or direct withdrawal.  

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Well, I don't have a phone, and I have no intention of getting one.  So, it won't work for me.

 

But other things I don't like about this:

 

I don't like the potential job loss, or potential for concentrating jobs.

 

I don't like giant multinational corporations replacing local owners, and taking money out of the local economy.

 

Amazon isn't generally that hot an employer, especially to people working the lower-end jobs.

 

I also think the reduction of human interaction, while appealing at times, is bad for us overall.

 

 

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I thought of the lost jobs as well. An nobody to ask where to find things unless you ask other customers who may know the store better.

Amazon Go sounds like a small scale version of the already in used Wal-Mart Mobile Pay app.

"The Walmart Pay feature on its app -- available on Apple and Android devices -- can now be used at all 4,600 U.S. stores, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Wal-Mart said more than 20 million people regularly use its app, which also provides discounts and helps shoppers locate items within stores." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-06/wal-mart-expands-mobile-payment-app-to-all-4-600-u-s-stores

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I'm going to take a wild guess and bet they thought of all that...

 

It sounds like the phone check-in is simply a form of ID.  All the grocery add-up is occurring in their computers, not the phones.  Then you're billed through a pre-registered credit card or direct withdrawal.  

 

But if your phone dies, that is still the end of your shopping, and if there are any final confirmation needed that would be out too.

 

I expect they thought of it, but given how well other technologies work, I would not count on the solution being elegant.  Even the check out machines are still a big PITA.

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I'm going to take a wild guess and bet they thought of all that...

 

It sounds like the phone check-in is simply a form of ID.  All the grocery add-up is occurring in their computers, not the phones.  Then you're billed through a pre-registered credit card or direct withdrawal.  

 

Yes, are people aware that the grocery store already tracks all this stuff?  That's why they have bonus cards and such.  It's just more convenient this way. Just like the drive up atm saves me from taking all my kids in the bank with me.  Sure, I don't get any interaction with a teller, but I never went to the bank for socializing anyway.

 

As for lost jobs, no they are just different jobs.  The age where we pay people to scan things for us and touch screens for us is coming to an end, but this has happened many times before in history. Nearly all wagon wheel manufacturers are now out of business, for example.  We didn't keep using the wagon around just to keep people in jobs.  That would make no sense economically or otherwise.

Edited by JodiSue
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Am I the only person who never interacts with anyone in a grocery store? I have no reason to. I use self-checkout, and even when the machine glitches and alerts the employee, he resets it from his handheld computer and doesn't come anywhere near me.

 

And even if I go to a store that doesn't have self-checkout, Publix is the only one I frequent, I only say Yes to the question did I find everything and then thank you when I leave. I don't consider that to be interaction really. There's no conversation.

 

Just curious, what kind of interaction are y'all talking about? Are you having conversations with strangers?

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I hate self check out with the fire of 10,000 suns.  It's so glitchy.

 

It put me off Fresh and Easy permanently one night, a last straw experience.  It was late, I was very hungry, and I decided to pop in for convenience food rather than raw ingredients as per usual.  I got the self check out, something went wrong, I pushed the help button, no one came, I tried unsuccessfully to reset it, etc. and finally I got so frustrated that I just put everything down right there and walked out of the store, never to return.  It's permanently closed now.  I don't think I was alone in this experience.

 

Ugh ugh ugh.

 

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Am I the only person who never interacts with anyone in a grocery store? I have no reason to. I use self-checkout, and even when the machine glitches and alerts the employee, he resets it from his handheld computer and doesn't come anywhere near me.

 

And even if I go to a store that doesn't have self-checkout, Publix is the only one I frequent, I only say Yes to the question did I find everything and then thank you when I leave. I don't consider that to be interaction really. There's no conversation.

 

Just curious, what kind of interaction are y'all talking about? Are you having conversations with strangers?

Sometimes I have conversations with strangers, either the cashier or other people standing in line. It can be a nice addition to the mundane task of shopping. But sometimes I'm not in the mood or they don't look to be in the mood and I don't interact. I've had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers before.

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That looks super cool. I'm not sure it's technology that would be rolled out to every grocery store in the country though. At least not anytime soon. I'm one of those people who does not care to make small talk with cashiers so I wouldn't miss them at all. I do wonder if there are employees at this store to answer questions.

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Taking the people factor out of everything makes me sad.

 

I don't use self checkout unless it is all that is available. *glares in Home Depot's direction*

I always use the Pro check out, since it's the only lane with an actual person. I think it's expected? I would stop going if the option wasn't available.

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Am I the only person who never interacts with anyone in a grocery store? I have no reason to. I use self-checkout, and even when the machine glitches and alerts the employee, he resets it from his handheld computer and doesn't come anywhere near me.

 

And even if I go to a store that doesn't have self-checkout, Publix is the only one I frequent, I only say Yes to the question did I find everything and then thank you when I leave. I don't consider that to be interaction really. There's no conversation.

 

Just curious, what kind of interaction are y'all talking about? Are you having conversations with strangers?

I'm quite an introverted shopper, but I do still interact with other shoppers or the cashier often. It is most often initiated by someone else, but I have been asked for my opinion in a craft store, asked how to make a simple bead necklace, asked if I know where XYZ item is in the store, and chatted about the vookies I was buying, which are regional. I got some great advice from another lady at the Home Depot re: removing wallpaper, because she noticed me dithering over the stripping materials and asked about the nature of my project.

 

Again - introverted shopper, not really big on shopping chat, but I aim to keep an open demeanor and I do quite enjoy those little interactions.

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Your grocery store can't track what you buy if you don't use their tracking devices.

Of course, but at least around the last several places I've lived, the all-cash shopper who pays more in order to avoid using a bonus card is pretty rare, I think. I don't have any real research to back that up I suppose, just me feeling like most people use cards of some type to pay.

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Of course, but at least around the last several places I've lived, the all-cash shopper who pays more in order to avoid using a bonus card is pretty rare, I think. I don't have any real research to back that up I suppose, just me feeling like most people use cards of some type to pay.

 

O, I think most people don't care.

 

Some do.  When I worked as a cashier we always had to ask if they collected air miles.  One guy every time told me he was not going to join some rewards program so corporate types could track what he bought.

 

I have a tendency to want to give them the same up-yours, though OTOH I want to keep my grocery budget down too.

 

But I don't like social trends that make it harder to do things without leaving an electronic trail, or have a cell-phone, etc.

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O, I think most people don't care.

 

Some do. When I worked as a cashier we always had to ask if they collected air miles. One guy every time told me he was not going to join some rewards program so corporate types could track what he bought.

 

I have a tendency to want to give them the same up-yours, though OTOH I want to keep my grocery budget down too.

 

But I don't like social trends that make it harder to do things without leaving an electronic trail, or have a cell-phone, etc.

It doesn't really bother me. I don't, in general, care a lot about who knows stuff about me. Of course there are things I'd want to keep private, but in general it doesn't bother me that people know what I buy or keep track of it.

 

I find my phone to be very useful, and I like finding ways to use it to make my life more efficient. The checkout line is one of the more antsy places for my kids, so if we could just leave after a long grocery trip..hurray! Especially if I have to cut my trip short unexpectedly.

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Am I the only person who never interacts with anyone in a grocery store? I have no reason to. I use self-checkout, and even when the machine glitches and alerts the employee, he resets it from his handheld computer and doesn't come anywhere near me.

 

And even if I go to a store that doesn't have self-checkout, Publix is the only one I frequent, I only say Yes to the question did I find everything and then thank you when I leave. I don't consider that to be interaction really. There's no conversation.

 

Just curious, what kind of interaction are y'all talking about? Are you having conversations with strangers?

 

Well, sure nobody goes out to grocery shop to socialize (actually I think there was someone who did that. I ran into her several times and she never had much in her basket but circled the store and looked at the babies in carriers and chatted with everyone) but it has been a by-product since I still greet the checker, checker greets me. Sometimes s/he tells me something interesting about an item on sale or just comments on the weather. I live in what I would describe a smallish / medium size town (under 100,000 pop). We live in a society that purports to value connection by every device imaginable but actual, real connection suffers.

 

Edited by Liz CA
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I despise self pay check outs and hate hate hate them and will walk out without buying rather than use them.

 

But the wackomart pick up?

 

Holy moly. It's all kinds of awesome. Haven't walked into the store in over a month. I put my items in my online cart, schedule when the next day or next whenever I want to pick it up. Pull into the numbered parking spot, call them to say I'm waiting. They load it up and I go home. Whole thing takes about 5-15 minutes depending how much I ordered. And I don't have to pay extra for this and I don't feel it's putting anyone out of a job either.

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But if your phone dies, that is still the end of your shopping, and if there are any final confirmation needed that would be out too.

 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet that people going there to shop will know how it works (and likely be people who love techy stuff) and will be sure their phone is charged and what not.  I mean, I have my grocery list on my phone.  I shop on Friday mornings.  I make sure to plug in my phone Thursday night so it's charged.  It also sounds like it is a convenience store so people will probably not be in there for extremely long periods of time.

 

I could also imagine charging stations in-store could also be a solution in case someone's phone suddenly died unexpectedly.

 

Yes, are people aware that the grocery store already tracks all this stuff? 

Your grocery store can't track what you buy if you don't use their tracking devices. 

 

Possibly.  Not necessarily.  Unless you use cash and most people are not using 100% cash for their grocery shopping.  The main grocery store here (HEB) doesn't have rewards cards.  Everyone gets sale prices/can use their coupons (though they do have an option for digital coupons - which are mostly the same as their in-store coupons, just paperless).  For a few months, I was doing a fundraiser where I bought HEB gift cards from my friend for face value and HEB deposited 10% into my friend's daughter's account for band costs.  It was win-win... except when I paid with gift cards only I didn't get coupons that print out at the register.  Eventually, I figured out that I would get the coupons only when I used my credit card to pay (I don't do the digital coupons).  And the coupons were often for things I have bought in the past, but not on that shopping trip.  It's even figured out now that I buy only gluten free stuff (3 of us have Celiac and one has a wheat allergy) and I don't get coupons for stuff with gluten in it anymore.  So, apparently, while HEB isn't tracking via bonus cards or whatever, they ARE tracking via the credit card you regularly use.

 

Am I the only person who never interacts with anyone in a grocery store?

 

<snip>

 

Just curious, what kind of interaction are y'all talking about? Are you having conversations with strangers?

 

That was my thought.  I got grocery shopping at 6 in the morning because the store is quiet.  My interaction with humans is thanking them when they move out of my way (they restock early in the morning so sometimes they are still in the aisles while I'm shopping) and saying I found everything I need, I don't need help out to my car, and thanking them when I am finished.

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I like humans.  I tend not to do self checkouts.  I don't like them.  I don't have to worry or look forward to this since I don't live in a city where this will be happening.  I don't know whether Publix tracks anything with my use of my debit card but they don't give out personalized coupons so I don't really see why they would.  The three stores I shop for food at times- Publix, WHole Foods and Fresh Market- none of them have affinity cards.  None give me coupons either.  I get coupons for Publix at times either at the display or from a flier they put in my newspaper or I get at the front door.

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I don't do self checkout because I feel ripped off by it... the markup on the product is the same whether I am using the cashier or not ... I should get a discount for doing their job (ringing and bagging is factored into the cost of the products...) if I don't get the discount I want the service lol

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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What happens if someone does not put their phone on the scanner on the way in?

 

Or what if they do but their phone runs out of charge while in the store?

 

What if you get a phone call and pick up to talk while you are shopping?

 

Good questions!!

 

What if the electricity goes out?  Will you get a running total during shopping?  Where are the prices listed?  In app?  What if there is a glitch in prices?   Happens all the time at the local grocery.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet that people going there to shop will know how it works (and likely be people who love techy stuff) and will be sure their phone is charged and what not. I mean, I have my grocery list on my phone. I shop on Friday mornings. I make sure to plug in my phone Thursday night so it's charged. It also sounds like it is a convenience store so people will probably not be in there for extremely long periods of time.

 

I could also imagine charging stations in-store could also be a solution in case someone's phone suddenly died unexpectedly.

 

 

Possibly. Not necessarily. Unless you use cash and most people are not using 100% cash for their grocery shopping. The main grocery store here (HEB) doesn't have rewards cards. Everyone gets sale prices/can use their coupons (though they do have an option for digital coupons - which are mostly the same as their in-store coupons, just paperless). For a few months, I was doing a fundraiser where I bought HEB gift cards from my friend for face value and HEB deposited 10% into my friend's daughter's account for band costs. It was win-win... except when I paid with gift cards only I didn't get coupons that print out at the register. Eventually, I figured out that I would get the coupons only when I used my credit card to pay (I don't do the digital coupons). And the coupons were often for things I have bought in the past, but not on that shopping trip. It's even figured out now that I buy only gluten free stuff (3 of us have Celiac and one has a wheat allergy) and I don't get coupons for stuff with gluten in it anymore. So, apparently, while HEB isn't tracking via bonus cards or whatever, they ARE tracking via the credit card you regularly use.

 

 

That was my thought. I got grocery shopping at 6 in the morning because the store is quiet. My interaction with humans is thanking them when they move out of my way (they restock early in the morning so sometimes they are still in the aisles while I'm shopping) and saying I found everything I need, I don't need help out to my car, and thanking them when I am finished.

I know it sounds nuts but these micro interactions help. It's recommended for people with depression and stuff to make sure they talk to a real person face to face each day. And even these small contacts count. The process of smiling at someone and saying hello and saying thankyou and goodbye does make a mini connection. I also sometimes will have a longer conversation if I'm in the mood. It might be about school exams if they're young, weekend plans or sports, stuff that's happening right now in the world. Not always but we do have mini ones. Of course the interaction with the staff at the small fruit and veg who know me, have watched my kids grow up from babies is more personal but even at the grocery many of the checkout staff have been there for a long time and I recognise them.

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I think there's two ways automation can go.

 

Store saves a little bit of money but still employs most of the same staff. Their role shifts to a more consultancy role. Helping find stuff, chatting about best options for customers, helping out when technology goes wrong. Results in most jobs being kept, more interesting jobs being created and a relatively pleasant shopping experience.

 

Option 2 of course is that they just see it as a cost saving and lay a heap of staff off, the store feels like a ghost town and a lot of people lose their jobs. A couple of new jobs are created in maintaining the tech system to keep it running.

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I think there's two ways automation can go.

 

Store saves a little bit of money but still employs most of the same staff. Their role shifts to a more consultancy role. Helping find stuff, chatting about best options for customers, helping out when technology goes wrong. Results in most jobs being kept, more interesting jobs being created and a relatively pleasant shopping experience.

 

Option 2 of course is that they just see it as a cost saving and lay a heap of staff off, the store feels like a ghost town and a lot of people lose their jobs. A couple of new jobs are created in maintaining the tech system to keep it running.

 

I think it's likely there will be a mix of both; just as now you can go to Walmart and get a tired, grumpy cashier who doesn't really talk to you, and a chaotic store where you're lucky if they have things where you can find them or, if they don't, you can find anyone to help you find it who knows anything, or you can go to Nordstrom or an upscale boutique and get lots of personal service, and all sorts of in-between when it comes to customer service.

 

That will be the case with automated stores; different models of keeping a "personal touch." Walmart might still have a door greeter even if that's the only person you see!

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I hate self-checkouts but this seems okay.  It will save time if it functions well.  I wonder what it will do for things sold by the pound, like a bin where you pick your own green beans.  Or, will this store only sell pre-packaged foods?  Also, I tend to pick up items a lot to read the ingredients or look at them.  The video clip showed it scanning and unscanning.  Still, I do it so much that it would be bound to make a mistake.

 

Also, will there be more staff on hand to help you find things and answer questions.  I have found that over time it becomes more difficult to find someone in a store to help you.  Either you have to run around for 15 minutes through the aisles or you have to wait a long time or they don't have an answer to your question.  I find this especially at Home Depot and larger grocery stores.

 

I do think the elderly, especially, need the personal service of a cashier. I think if it is gone it will make them sad.  If there are no cashiers the customers can still talk to each other.  Tonight my shopping cart got stuck in the parking lot and a man and his wife came up to me right away and moved it towards my van.  I would have eventually figured out how to get it there but it's nice to know that you're not alone.

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That looks super cool. I'm not sure it's technology that would be rolled out to every grocery store in the country though. At least not anytime soon. I'm one of those people who does not care to make small talk with cashiers so I wouldn't miss them at all. I do wonder if there are employees at this store to answer questions.

 

My father would LOVE this!!! He has blossomed as he's aged, but he is a true introvert, and possibly on the spectrum. When we were growing up, the Publix baggers INSISTED on taking your cart out for you, so he started only buying as much as he could carry without a cart, to avoid having to make small talk with the bagger on the way out to the car :)

 

This is perfect for him. 

 

Also, am I the only one that prides themselves on their skill in self check out? It glitches for my husband and son, but I've got that thing on lock down. I rock at it. 

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I don't do self checkout because I feel ripped off by it... the markup on the product is the same whether I am using the cashier or not ... I should get a discount for doing their job (ringing and bagging is factored into the cost of the products...) if I don't get the discount I want the service lol

 

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Interesting point. I can't imagine I'd do self check out at a Publix, but that's because their customer service is so incredibly good. The checkers are polite, helpful, and well trained. And the lines are never super long, etc. 

 

But Walmart????  Those lines are terrible, especially because the cashiers aren't always great. It's so much faster and easier for me to use self check out if I don't have a cart full of stuff. So it's MORE convenient, by far. 

 

Of course, Publix has my heart. One of my hesitations in moving to NC is that the area we are looking at doesn't have a Publix, lol. 

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I know it sounds nuts but these micro interactions help. It's recommended for people with depression and stuff to make sure they talk to a real person face to face each day. And even these small contacts count. The process of smiling at someone and saying hello and saying thankyou and goodbye does make a mini connection.

 

 

 

Keep in mind, this store is on the campus of an Amazon industrial park. It's for their employees, who are already immersed in people and interaction all day long. These aren't people who are stuck at home with no interaction. 

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Of course, Publix has my heart. One of my hesitations in moving to NC is that the area we are looking at doesn't have a Publix, lol. 

 

Publix is now in Greensboro and I am sure the next store will be in Raleigh/Cary or Chapel Hill, maybe Charlotte, but the Triangle should have one very soon.

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I do think the elderly, especially, need the personal service of a cashier. I think if it is gone it will make them sad.

I agree with this.

 

Although I think these Amazon Go type of shops are not geared toward the elderly at all. In the video clip, there were very few people who appeared to be above the age of 40.

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Publix is now in Greensboro and I am sure the next store will be in Raleigh/Cary or Chapel Hill, maybe Charlotte, but the Triangle should have one very soon.

There is one in Cary already, an I think perhaps another in the Raleigh area as well. My mom said one is coming to Greenville, too.

 

Edited: Changed Greensboro to Greenville

Edited by Serenade
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I think shops like these will work out if the products don't change their price points very often. In regular grocery stores, I have a pricing error on my receipt almost weekly, which annoys me to no end. Sometimes I get my money back, sometimes I don't bother to take the time. Most of these errors are due to the weekly promotions or special sales that don't ring up. I'd be really frustrated to walk into an Amazon Go store to save time, and then have to bother with getting my receipt corrected anyhow. I think super-accurate pricing is essential for a store like this to succeed, if convenience is the main reason to shop there.

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