Video about Amazon Go, retail store with no checkout lines or registers

I can think of multiple, redundant systems to keep customers in check to avoid shoplifting. NFC, AI computer vision for tracking the customer’s selections, customer location tracking, and if needed they could have a turnstyle with a weighing plate. I’m sure smarter people than i could think up of other clever solutions, but yes… there will always be people who will try to push to see what they can get away with.


Neat. But, what if you don’t have a phone, credit card, bank account, or amazon account? Not a big deal in the wealthy USA, but this ain’t gonna work in most of the world where the majority of people are unbanked. I fear that this kind of store will simply increase an already widening divide between the people who have stuff and those who don’t.

Maybe that thought is off-topic here and I should just appreciate the “wow, that’s neat!” feeling, which I honestly do have as well.


Easy. Set up a special account just for the store.

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Poor criminals shoplift food. Smart criminals emulate the contactless phone payment technology to put spurious charges on your credit card account. At least with ATM skimmers you have a CHANCE to decide that the machine looks shady.


As a non-Anglo in flyover country, I ran into the same problem. “Have a good day, Mr… um, uh… foreign guy.”* It would have been better if they hadn’t tried.

*I was born in Illinois.


Came here for this, was not disappointed.



This is from back in the day when a grocery store had people retrieve your items for you. The machine replaced the store clerk. Now there’s no clerk to replace. Nowadays you’re expected to browse (on foot nonetheless!) for your own stuff. They also had store credit in those days, so you didn’t necessarily have to pay at the register. So complicated :wink:

But seriously, it’s interesting how our concept of a grocery store has changed, and how we’re simply automating this existing concept rather than changing it fundamentally.


I’m interested to see what tricks people come up with.

I’m not sure it’s going to be a big problem though. People shoplift from regular stores all the time. Stores make some efforts to stop it, but they also don’t want to ruin the shopping experience for the paying customers. So they accept that a certain amount of shoplifting will happen and build it in to their prices. I’m sure Amazon will do the same. It’s possible that since they aren’t paying humans to run registers, they might have higher margins and so the amount of shoplifting they can accept might be higher as well.


Ha! I was thinking that’s perfect. . . I am in the Seattle area too.


I don’t think Amazon want’s to be in the business of underwriting those customers.

Well…somebody had to do it…I was elected (by me).

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The way it used to work was you would pay cash up front, and you could take anything from the store as long as your total didn’t exceed what you paid.

Flash forward 30 years after mass adoption of this concept. Poor people no longer have a clue what money even is anymore. “Buy” too many things and their contract for menial work is automatically extended. (What would form would that menial work even take?)

There’s a dystopian Science Fiction story in there somewhere.


Until the shop YulBrynners you.

And the digital divide deepens.

Imagine your grandparents live next to this store. You are required to setup and maintain their accounts, as with all other digital technology. When there is an inevitable mistake in the system, you must submit multiple forms and wait hours on hold to get back the charge for that $20 organic cheese they picked up and put back.

Now imagine that these are not your grandparents, and they dont have a tech savvy grand child, so they cant setup an account in the first place. They decide that they would rather drive to the further away grocery store rather than deal with the intimidating new social-technical construct on the block. Then the grandparent who drives because they dont yet have cataracts breaks their hip and cant drive anymore.

Technological development is not bad. Rather, we are bad at estimating how valuable something is to our society because we cannot instinctively understand the needs of people with experiences different than our own. But the capitalist system responds actively to the most valued demographics’ perceived needs, pushing us all towards systems that further marginalize the needs of people who are already being under served.

The same technology that makes this proposed store possible could be used to make existing stores more accessible to people with mobility restrictions, non-visual people, etc. But that is not considered exciting enough, it does not ignite that sense of ‘future’ that has built up in our culture, that thing you think of when you ask Siri to tell you the weather report.


I don’t think this is true any more. A majority of people worldwide own a mobile phone. According to a recent Economist article, by 2020 80 percent of the population will own a smartphone.

Of course you don’t necessarily need a bank account to own a phone- many of those are probably PAYG phones kept topped up with cash. But if you have a phone you can make electronic payments.


Sounds pretty classist. It’d work better if you add scrip into the topic.

I’m sure Wal-Mary already pays some persons on debit cards, so the concept isn’t even science fiction.

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As a cashier at a grocery store I think this is a very cool but extremely flawed idea. I have yet to see any automated technology in this field perform even remotely reliably, let alone faster and more efficiently than an actual casher. Maybe if this is treated more as a test bed than a market model (I doubt it, they are probably going to sell this as the next best thing) it will have more success.

However I imagine that for at least the first few years the front end of the store will require the attendance of multiple tech specialists and assistants to help customers work through all the unpredicted issues that will definitely come up. Right now it definitely sounds more like a gimmick to me than anything actionable, but I’ve been wrong many times before so maybe I’ll end up eating my words.


I’ve been in the self service line behind old people who didn’t know how to scan items, so I’m tempted to agree. If all someone has to do is walk or of a store with something to pay for it, everything’s okay, but there has to be some kind of really weird user error that complicates things. Accidentally walking out with an item is just one such complication.

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I bet they have some interesting corner cases. Does my young child get attached to my app? What happens when they pick up a toy and try and walk out with me. What happens if two people with the app are shopping together and one person picks up something for the other person. Does it detect hand-offs and move the item across carts? Or does person A have to return it to the shelf and then person B pick up it?