Amazon Go Has No Bananas

By Ruth Kava — Jan 23, 2018
If all the early hype is true, then Amazon Go, the giant retailer's new high-tech store, is a food shopper's dream. Just think, no money, no credit/debit cards. Just you and your smartphone (with the app, of course). While it's surely a technological wonder, what it's not is a supermarket.

According to multiple media outlets (1), Amazon has finally opened its first brick and mortar store in Seattle and it's a store that uses some mind-boggling technology. All you need to shop there is a list and a smartphone with the company's app. 

A shopping trip begins when you scan your phone at the entry scanners. You're then free to roam the aisles (except that you have to show I.d. to a real person to purchase alcoholic beverages) and select what you want. Cameras and sensors take note of everything you buy and everything you decide not to buy. After you leave the store you'll be sent an electronic receipt for your purchases.

The company says it will offer ready-to-eat meals, grocery essentials, and meal kits — but so far I've seen nothing that indicates the store will be selling fresh produce or meats that are not part of some sort of kit or pre-made salad. Thus, it would be hard to call this a true supermarket, rather it seems to be a technologically advanced convenience store.

I grant you, it's difficult to see how this new technology can cope with having consumers weigh their produce, for example (lots of fruits and veggies are sold by the pound). That would slow the shopping process down, you might think. Or will there be pre-wrapped packages of fresh zucchini, for example, so that shoppers only have to grab and go? Would the system's sensors be able to pick up a difference between a one pound package and one that weighs a pound and a half?

I'm sure that Amazon will find a way over such hurdles, and I'm eager to see how they do it.

(1) For example, The New York TimesThe Chicago Tribune, Food Navigator

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