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posted by Snow on Tuesday December 06 2016, @10:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the amazon-knows-your-spouse-better-than-you-do dept.

Amazon is testing a brick-and-mortar concept store that would allow shoppers to pick items off the shelf and leave without waiting in a line:

Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains.

Amazon Go, the online shopping giant's new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what shoppers have picked off the shelf and bills it to their Amazon account if they do not put it back.

The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master. The company currently delivers produce and groceries to homes through its AmazonFresh service.

"It's a great recognition that their e-commerce model doesn't work for every product," said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that physical stores would complement AmazonFresh. "If there were hundreds of these stores around the country, it would be a huge threat" to supermarket chains, he said.

Also at CNBC, Bloomberg, and The Verge:

It'll feel like shoplifting, except you're actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.


Original Submission

Related Stories

"Amazon Go" Store Opens in Seattle 50 comments

Amazon Go is a go:

The first clue that there's something unusual about Amazon's store of the future hits you right at the front door. It feels as if you are entering a subway station. A row of gates guard the entrance to the store, known as Amazon Go, allowing in only people with the store's smartphone app.

Inside is an 1,800-square foot mini-market packed with shelves of food that you can find in a lot of other convenience stores — soda, potato chips, ketchup. It also has some food usually found at Whole Foods, the supermarket chain that Amazon owns.

But the technology that is also inside, mostly tucked away out of sight, enables a shopping experience like no other. There are no cashiers or registers anywhere. Shoppers leave the store through those same gates, without pausing to pull out a credit card. Their Amazon account automatically gets charged for what they take out the door.

[...] There were a little over 3.5 million cashiers in the United States in 2016 — and some of their jobs may be in jeopardy if the technology behind Amazon Go eventually spreads. For now, Amazon says its technology simply changes the role of employees — the same way it describes the impact of automation on its warehouse workers.

Also at TechCrunch.

Previously: Amazon Go: It's Like Shoplifting


Original Submission

Amazon Considering Opening Up to 3,000 New Cashierless "Amazon Go" Stores 19 comments

Amazon Will Consider Opening Up to 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021

Amazon.com Inc. is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years, according to people familiar with matter, an aggressive and costly expansion that would threaten convenience chains like 7-Eleven Inc., quick-service sandwich shops like Subway and Panera Bread, and mom-and-pop pizzerias and taco trucks.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos sees eliminating meal-time logjams in busy cities as the best way for Amazon to reinvent the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, where most spending still occurs. But he's still experimenting with the best format: a convenience store that sells fresh prepared foods as well as a limited grocery selection similar to 7-Eleven franchises, or a place to simply pick up a quick bite to eat for people in a rush, similar to the U.K.-based chain Pret a Manger, one of the people said.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment. The company unveiled its first cashierless store near its headquarters in Seattle in 2016 and has since announced two additional sites in Seattle and one in Chicago. Two of the new stores offer only a limited selection of salads, sandwiches and snacks, showing that Amazon is experimenting with the concept simply as a meal-on-the-run option. Two other stores, including the original AmazonGo, also have a small selection of groceries, making it more akin to a convenience store.

Can Bezos make the leap from $160 billion to $1 trillion?

Also at CNBC and The Verge.

See also: Amazon Thinks Big, and That Doesn't Come Cheap

Previously: Amazon Go: It's Like Shoplifting
"Amazon Go" Store Opens in Seattle
Amazon Plans to Open as Many as Six More Cashierless Amazon Go Stores This Year


Original Submission

Walmart Raises Minimum Hourly Wage to $11, Expands "Scan & Go" Program 121 comments

Walmart is boosting minimum pay across all of its stores and handing out bonuses. The CEO says that it's thanks to tax reform:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.

The increase takes effect next month and will cost $300 million on top of wage hikes that were already planned, the world's largest retailer said Thursday. The one-time bonus of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million. The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.

"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.

The move comes three years after Wal-Mart last announced it was raising wages, spending $1 billion in 2015 to lift starting hourly pay to $9 and then to $10 for most workers the following year. The increase cut into profit and was criticized by some longer-tenured employees as unfair to them. Since then, many states have enacted minimum wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 U.S. stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg.

Walmart is expanding a "Scan & Go" program from 50 to 150 stores. "Scan & Go" would allow customers to use a smartphone app to scan items and then walk out of the store with them. Kroger is experimenting with a similar "Scan, Bag, Go" program. These are seen as a response to Amazon, which has been trialing delivery of fresh foods and same-day deliveries. Amazon revealed an "Amazon Go" concept brick-and-mortar store in 2016, with no cashiers in sight.

Maybe Walmart's big plan is to give better pay to a dwindling amount of employees.

CEO letter to employees. Also at CNBC and USA Today.

Related: Walmart Wants to Deliver Groceries Directly Into Your Fridge
Walmart to Deploy Shelf-Scanning Robots at 50 Stores
Walmart is Raising Prices Online to Increase in-Store Traffic


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:10AM (#437611)

    So how reliably does it bill items to the correct person, especially when (as will undoubtedly happen) people try to trick the system?

    Not to mention the situation where one person would legitimately ask another one to fetch something from the shelf (for example a small person asking a larger one to take something for them from the upper shelves). I'd certainly hate it if I was the person helping, only to find the item to be billed to me afterwards.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by jimshatt on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:45AM

      by jimshatt (978) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:45AM (#437622) Journal
      I always wear a Nixon mask while shopping.
    • (Score: 2) by zocalo on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:37PM

      by zocalo (302) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:37PM (#437711)
      The articles are all vague on the details, but the tech behind the billing seems to be based on the "sensors" rather than the cameras, so my guess is they are basically using RFID. You'll be billed based on what you walk out of the door with, because that's where the RFID scanner will be, and the cameras are there more to look for people who are trying to game the system by removing the RFID tags. I suspect they'll also be doing some facial recognition as a backup for tying a specific person to specific account, otherwise you could potentially just switch your phone off to prevent it sending your Amazon account details, or use a hacked account. Of course, the latter means they'll be able to pitch it as being "for your security" rather than "for our profit margin's security", but them's the breaks...
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:32PM

        by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:32PM (#437810) Homepage Journal

        I suspect the store will have a "foyer" where you can collect your shopping cart and bag your groceries. In the store you need to put the article in the cart which would be equipped with an RFID reader. This would also allow a display to be integrated into these smart carts to display the items selected for purchase. Crossing the threshold to the bagging area would initiate the transaction. Cameras are there to prevent shoplifting.

        Now my theory undermines the headline of the article (shoplifting typically does not involve placing groceries in a cart). I just suspect it would be the simplest system to implement. I also assume this store will have no loose produce, as those items are difficult to tag. Bagged produce probably, although I suspect the store will be more like Fresh and Easy with lots of premade meals and a relatively small selection.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ledow on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:50PM

        by ledow (5567) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:50PM (#437828) Homepage

        I have never worked out why shopping isn't RFID like this.

        It doesn't need to have UNIQUE RFID tags, just the RFID equivalent of the barcode that's scanned.

        Push trolley through scanner arch. Several hundred beeps in the space of a second. Your bill.

        You can argue about "Did you actually buy a toy car for 99c, or was it a bottle of vodka who's tags you switched" all day long, but barcodes are vulnerable to exactly the same attack, and you can randomly-stop people at the door for anything suspicious.

        But for YEARS now, I've been watching a teenager beep through my entire shopping one item at a time, after I'd unpacked it all, only to then repack it back into the same trolley (that I then have to re-unpack back at my car and again back home) and thought "Can't we just RFID this?"

        If it's good enough to detect theft from a shop, why can't it add up what's in your trolley?

        But, no, I still have to deal with dumb teenager, or stupid self-service checkouts where I have to do the work of dumb teenager but aren't compensated for that.

        Fill trolley.
        Push through archway. bbbLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLEPEPEPEPEPEPPEPE. £115.60. Credit card. Done.

        • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:56PM

          by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:56PM (#437893)

          You would need some way to make sure that you are not being billed or items you had previously purchased in your bag or for the items in the cart of the person ahead of or behind you.

          It is trivial to jam RFID as well. The system works by walking a binary tree of bits in the IDs. First developed for the ISA PNP standard (or that is where I first read about it). To jam the system, you simply have to respond in the affirmative every time you are asked if you have a specific bit in a specific position.

        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday December 07 2016, @06:45PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday December 07 2016, @06:45PM (#438461) Journal

          You can argue about "Did you actually buy a toy car for 99c, or was it a bottle of vodka who's tags you switched" all day long, but barcodes are vulnerable to exactly the same attack, and you can randomly-stop people at the door for anything suspicious.

          That's exactly the issue, because barcodes *aren't* currently vulnerable to that because of the way they are individually scanned. If a cashier is sitting there scanning each item, they're likely to notice if the item that pops up on screen isn't the same as what they're holding. And on those self-checkout registers, they measure the size and weight of the item to ensure it's a match. With RFID tags, they can't do that. You can just pull the tag off and walk out and the scanner won't notice. Buy a couple metal baking sheets and you might (perhaps even accidentally) end up with a faraday cage in your cart. At best they could weigh the entire cart, but that's going to be far less accurate (has to account for variance in the cart itself), more prone to errors (it's gonna have to be a scale in the floor, making it more likely to get whatever dirt and gunk jamming it up) and easier to fool (swap the labels from a bottle of juice to a bottle of vodka, it won't notice it's the wrong size or wrong product and won't be accurate enough to detect it's the wrong weight). And since it would have to operate on the entire cart instead of items pulled from the cart, it gives people more time and more privacy to set up some kind of scam. You can move some lead bricks from your handbag into the cart if you need to increase the weight to fool the sensor, and just bury them under merchandise. But try sneaking a bunch of weights onto the supermarket belt alongside each item without anyone noticing...

  • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:18AM

    by Unixnut (5779) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:18AM (#437615)

    >> It'll feel like shoplifting, except you're actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.

    So it will feel like a prison? That is what prisons are like. You are watched everywhere you go like a hawk, be it by cameras or guards, and you better not overstep the rules. Sure the punishments are the not the same, but the concept seems identical.

    While this is fine, because you can choose not to go into Amazon go, or use it at all, but how long before people become accustomed to this, and it spreads beyond. I would hate to eventually live in such a society, even if I get the "convenience" of being able to be automatically billed/fined for what I do instantly.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:26AM (#437617)

      I would hate to eventually live in such a society...

      Whichever planet you live on, I wish I were there.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Unixnut on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:09PM

        by Unixnut (5779) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:09PM (#437795)

        >Whichever planet you live on, I wish I were there.

        Eastern Europe, too disorganised and corrupt to implement such a system. Also too poor to push so much money into such a system, and quite frankly they don't care enough about what you do to bother.

        Africa is pretty good too, too chaotic to implement such a system. Half the time they don't even know how many people live in the country. Russia is too big to implement such a system everywhere (you can spend your entire life on a road trip, and not see every part of the country).

        The former Communist states generally have populations that are highly distrusting of government, spying and mainstream media, as such you should get a few generations of resistance to such new applications of technology. "Western" countries have populaces that never experienced Fascist/Communist police states, so have no idea what they are sleep walking into.

        Sure, you lose some comforts and luxuries, and experience different languages, cultures, morals and opinions that you may be used to, but there are places out there that, if it is that important to you to make an effort.

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday December 06 2016, @08:24PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @08:24PM (#438006)

          Quite a few European countries spend time teaching their children about that time when someone decided to unite the place under him.
          Databases and permanent tracking are not as popular, but they're correcting that issue courtesy of a few convenient terrorist plots, and of course the app-of-the-day.

          On the other hand, I still can't stand watching US elementary kids taking that stupid pledge.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @06:37AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @06:37AM (#438230)

            At least they stopped giving the Bellamy salute [wikipedia.org].

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:32AM (#437618)

      Welcome to the future. Soon everyone will have a mandatory RFID tag implanted in their forehead or right hand, which is used to bill everything you buy or use automatically. It will no longer be possible to buy anything without that tag.

      The system will be known as Billing Electronically and Automatically with Subcutaneous Tags (BEAST).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:43PM (#437637)

        Outer Limits did episodes about the head chip ("Stream of Consciousness") and the hand chip ("Zig Zag"). Too bad millennials interpret dystopian fiction as instruction manuals.

        • (Score: 2) by rondon on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:23PM

          by rondon (5167) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:23PM (#437655)

          What the actual fuck?! What millennial do you know who has the power to implement this dystopian crap? Jesus Christ you freakin AC's are blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid today.

          Please, completely ignore that our current surveillance and police state was implemented by 70 year old white men for the last however-many years and blame this all on millennials.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:42PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:42PM (#437665)

            Fuckerberg

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:53PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:53PM (#437675)

            Jesus Christ you freakin AC's are blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid today.

            Stop generalizing.

            How many ACs do you know?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @03:09PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @03:09PM (#437735)

              Just one, but he is a complete piece of trash.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:06PM (#437841)

            Haha, I'll bet that millennials burned the Library at Alexandria because it didn't have a safe space!

            (I'd also bet that it's a millennial who's posting about how this or that is all the fault of millennials.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @11:48AM (#437623)

      Don't forget one important aspect: Rectium, Intel inside...

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:30PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:30PM (#437656)

      On the other hand if they don't have pictures everywhere, anyone on the planet can pown my phone or steal my amazon credentials, walk into the market, and buy whatever they want on my account.

      On the other hand I don't want them doing facial recognition or it'll be really weird shopping with my wife and they'll call the cops because we're together physically but I'm putting stuff on her account and she's putting stuff on my account and obviously we're not the person on the account. Or my Mom asks me to pick something up for her on the way to her place.

      Something not discussed is we're pretty close to snapping a pix of everything you buy at the scanner. Which is pretty boring if you're buying the eleven trillionth identical 2L bottle of soda but interesting if you are trying some kind of weird return fraud with custom/handmade stuff from the deli or meat or produce or whatever. We're almost at the point where its cheaper and faster to take pix and OCR the bar code than to laser scan and sweep the object bar code thru the beam. Then you can OCR or amazon turk purchases to a crazy level, like I didn't just buy Deli $6 or even Deli Sushi $6, I bought a "california roll fake crab exp date 12/7 serial number 123wtf456" or whatever.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:43PM (#437666)

      I expect the facial req stuff will spread to all big stores whether or not they eliminate the checkout lines, just so they can collect targeted data on each customer's shopping/browsing patterns. What items did they pick up and not buy, etc.

  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:13PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:13PM (#437629)

    I am curious about how this works, since it seems to combine the two biggest retail fails of all time, security systems and self checkouts. I can't get out of a store with a product I legitimately bought because it sets off the security system (I actually order electronics stuff online for that reason!), while thieves aren't even slowed down. Self checkouts simply do not work, and have to have an attendant manually reset them almost after every item. So I really would like to know on a technical level how this is different with Amazon Go. How did they solve problem that retailers haven't solved yet?

    Wal-Mart hasn't made either of these work. They have every incentive to make them work because Wal-Mart wants to get rid of the expense of employees.

    Did Amazon study the complete failures? Barnes and Noble disabled their security system because it simply didn't work. I got to where I took the tags out of the books I bought and left them on the shelf because the employees seemed unable to deactivate them. K-Mart got self checkouts and got rid of them months later because they didn't work.

    I'm also curious about how Amazon knows you bought the items you walk out with. What stops me from adding items to someone else's cart? Do you have to make a list of items before you go to the store, and get only those items? I would like to know how they solved the technical challenges.

    Remember the game Nethack? Getting things out of the store in that game was possible. You could throw things out the door, or have a pet carry them out. Did Amazon study this game?

    This is one area of technological progress I can get behind. The brain donors who work in retail are ripe to be replaced by a better system. But what do we do with these brain donors? Someone who is too dumb to deactivate a security tag isn't going to be retrained as an AI expert. If we lose the jobs that the bottom of the gene pool uses to support themselves, what becomes of them? The brain donors at Wal-Mart need those jobs because they simply couldn't do anything else. They can't even really do their jobs at Wal-Mart. I hope they have never read about a little historical event you may have heard about ... The French Revolution!

    --
    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:59PM (#437641)

      They probably make shoppers pass through the entrances and exits in single file. I imagine there might be gate coming in where, if they can't recognize you based on face req, you have to have your ID scanned by a guard. Going out it's RFID combined with face/body req.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:40PM (#437662)

        > if they can't recognize you based on face req, you have to have your ID scanned by a guard.

        They make you check in by smart-phone when you enter the store. You have to have their app on your phone and you walk through a lane where you tap your phone on a scanner pad. If that info isn't in TFA then its a poor article since that info is in all the video news reporting on this story.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:47PM (#437668)

      Here's how it works (meta level) -- Amazon knows that you are buying way too many energy drinks, (or cigarettes, booze, etc) and they sell this info to your health insurance company.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by kurenai.tsubasa on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:23PM

      by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:23PM (#437859) Journal

      Wal-Mart's self-checkouts just plain suck. I don't think I've ever used one at a K-Mart, but the one down the road from me closed up a few years ago. The regional grocery chain I go to has pretty good self-checkouts, but buying alcohol is a pain since a worker still has to check ID.

      For a while they had a couple self-checkout lanes for full (12+ item) carts but those didn't have much of an advantage over just finding a lane with a human cashier. They were removed and the only downside was that instead of 2 workers taking care of 10 stations between the full cart ones and express, there's now just 1 worker for the 6 express stations. Doing anything with potential resource waits like the ID check is going to go a lot smoother with 2 workers/resources for 10 processes than 1 worker/resource for 6 processes, especially when the tasks with the fewer resource/worker waits over time (full cart lanes) are eliminated.

      It'll be interesting to see the full details of how Amazon's system works and how it defeats some of the edge cases you mentioned, particularly surreptitiously removing an RFID tag.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:30PM (#437633)

    Where's that crap story about everyone's favorite surveillance society? Whether you live in the prison with the robot guards or the free range zoo with the spinal implants, one thing is constant. Surveillance everywhere.

    Somebody post a link because I'm sure as shit not going to post that fucking tripe.

    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:11PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:11PM (#437696)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @06:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @06:47PM (#437938)

      Thanks for pointing that out I think that part is lost on most readers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @04:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @04:10AM (#438204)

      Do you know of any organizations that I could get behind/lead others toward, that would help thwart this impending cashless/facial recognition/surveillance bullcrap that is heading to a store near us? If just one mega-corp took a position against this and threw some weight behind some educational commercials, it would help stem the tide.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @12:33PM (#437634)

    w/o seeing a single employee.

    Kinda like shopping at Dick's sporting goods.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by VLM on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:08PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:08PM (#437647)

      Walk around the panel saw area at home depot with a sheet of plywood, that's like garlic to vampires.

      The saw code is four digits and pretty easy to shoulder surf and if you type it in suddenly like 10 employees appear in a puff of smoke.

      Ironically I'm one of the better behaved saw customers because I have actual measurements whereas I've waited in line behind customers trying to use metric or asking the poor employee how big to cut it (I'm trying to plywood a broken window, can you cut it the size of a window? Oh I didn't know they had different sizes.) There really are customers that dumb.

      I'm surprised shoplifters don't team up and have one guy carry an employee repellent sheet of plywood while the other stuffs his pockets with high value items. Lets see a top tier table saw blade with small cabinet carbide teeth might be $100 and I'm easily strong enough to carry 100 of them at a half pound each, meanwhile some poor bastard I'm teamed up with has to carry a full sheet of 6mm ply to "shield" me.

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:36PM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:36PM (#437815) Homepage Journal

      As my high school history teacher said:

      "I always use the self checkout. I try to avoid people without high school diplomas as much as possible"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @03:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @03:23AM (#438191)

        Ate their own dog food.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:11PM (#437649)

    If I can't pay for my groceries in cash, I'm not interested.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:20PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:20PM (#437654)

    1,800-square-foot

    first of all that's a small convenience store like a gas station, not a supermarket.

    I shop at a "modified warehouse model" independent-ish supermarket every week that's 225000 square feet. Yup better part of four hundred feet on a side internal volume. And its not the biggest store in the area either.

    The capital costs and sheer bandwidth to spy the hell out of a tiny little 1800 sq ft store times maybe 200 to be a real supermarket... its gonna be an issue. Its not impossible but I see why they're starting small and emulating the gas station quikie mart model.

    One interesting advantage of quikie-mart is people are probably there to buy one or two things tops, not an entire shopping cart. I don't think my local gas station sells enough "stuff" to actually fill a shopping cart with one of everything. People on other sites over the last day or two insist on discussing this convenience store as if it were a supermarket before Thanksgiving and how will the technology handle people buying 400 pounds of crap at a time, when the reality is it'll be for people to by a sandwich or an energy drink or maybe a bag of chips, or sometimes two. That's a much easier step.

    Personally I like the idea of vending machines and microtransactions. You take whatever you want out of the vending machine and are charged when you take it.

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:33PM

      by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @01:33PM (#437658)

      Cost may not be an issue. The camera and processing power are relatively cheap, and employees are expensive.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:35PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:35PM (#437710)

        Possibly you overestimate the pay of your average stock clerk or cashier.

        Surely they need more than one HD webcam per 10 sq ft. Probably one cam per sq foot is about right if they want to literally watch every shelf space and create 3-d models of the shoppers.

        Also the margins are extremely low in the retail business. 100% markup sounds like a lot but somehow by the time you're done paying the bills, single digit profits are where its at. That in itself is disturbing as low profit high touch businesses are where capital goes to die, its not really a "start-up tech skys the limit" field. Its like a bank going into Real Estate investment in Florida or Arizona (notorious bank-killing states during the last bubble pop) moth to a flame.

    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:15PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:15PM (#437700)
      I imagine that these are designed to be a quick stop for urban dwellers. People who shop day-to-day instead of in big grocery runs. I don't see this scaling up to the level of a full on suburban grocery store.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @09:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07 2016, @09:40AM (#438268)

      It's their first vaguely (because it's employees only right now) real-world test of the concept. It would be surprising if it were bigger than a tiny corner store.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Dunbal on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:13PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @02:13PM (#437698)

    1) Steal someone's identity
    2) Walk out with the entire store
    3) Sell everything on e-bay.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:08PM (#437792)

      4) Amazon sells the data from the illicit purchase before there is any chance to correct it. All that beef jerky and Monster drink is going to look bad for "someone"...when it hits their health insurance company.

  • (Score: 1) by theronb on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:36PM

    by theronb (2596) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @04:36PM (#437816)

    ...we get to eliminate the cashier jobs! Now if we can automate stock of shelves we won't have to deal with any of those pesky working people.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Uncle_Al on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:13PM

    by Uncle_Al (1108) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @05:13PM (#437848)

    And what, exactly will the item price be, Mr. (fuck with the prices contstantly) Bezos?

  • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Tuesday December 06 2016, @08:51PM

    by TheLink (332) on Tuesday December 06 2016, @08:51PM (#438022) Journal