This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 22, 2018:
On Monday morning regular customers started shopping at Amazon’s no-lines walk-away store in Seattle. Some have said it feels like they’re shoplifting, until the bill shows up on their iPhone. Others feel like they’re just raiding the pantry, not worrying about price but just grabbing what they need.
Before Monday only Amazon employees could shop at the 1,800 square foot store on 7th Avenue — about the size of a 7-11 — using their experience to refine the software and hardware behind it. To get the technology right, which depends upon hundreds of hidden cameras in the ceiling trained on shoppers’ iPhones and the items on the shelves, it took four years before the store opened to the general public. For the moment, at least, those items are ordinary: groceries, sodas, ready-to-eat meals, potato chips, ketchup, toilet paper, toothpaste, and the like. But each item sports a dot similar to a barcode. When the item is moved into the customer’s bag, it moves it into his online shopping cart. When the customer leaves the store the software adds everything up, bills his account, and sends a receipt to his iPhone.
There are at least two things those new customers will notice: