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You can soon ‘Go’ to Amazon’s new automagic grocery store on your way back to Capitol Hill

Only a mile from the crowd around the self check-out kiosks at the Harvard Market QFC, a new shopping experience — probably worked on by a few Capitol Hill residents who have stood in that crowd — will be unveiled early next year on 7th Ave.

Amazon Go will be a “self driving” grocery store in Seattle’s burgeoning new Amazonia neighborhood where shoppers can walk in and walk out with anything they like — without having to wait to ring up their purchases.

“What if we could weave the most advanced machine learning, computer vision and AI into the very fabric of a store, so you never have to wait in line,” the promo video released Monday morning asks. “No lines, no checkout, no registers — welcome to Amazon Go.”

The company’s secret grocery project comes as the retail giant has laid claim to around a third of the country’s online holiday spending this year and many industry watchers have been predicting advances with delivery technology like drones. The company is also planning drive-up grocery stores with a prototype nearly ready to open in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

While the planned Amazon Go debut in 2017 at 2131 7th Ave has garnered a lot of buzz, we’ll be more impressed when the retailer shows its new system can work on Broadway where many grocery shoppers have been employing a version of “just walk out technology” for years.

“Take whatever you like. Anything you pick up is automatically added to your virtual card. If you change your mind about that, Cupcake, just put it back…”

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23 thoughts on “You can soon ‘Go’ to Amazon’s new automagic grocery store on your way back to Capitol Hill

  1. It’s going to be creepy when they ‘mistakenly’/accidentally on purpose combine one’s book-buying recommendations along with one’s shopping history or vice-versa.

    “Based upon your recent purchases of low-calorie cookbooks, we thought you might be interested in this coupon for 10% off the next time you purchase a carton of Tab!…and since you always pick up a carton of ice-cream and package of kitty litter every Friday night, we’re offering you a trial-subscription to Cat Fancy.”

  2. Totally appreciate your cheeky reference at the end to the rampant shoplifting at Harvard market QFC. As a neighborhood resident and frequent (sometimes twice a day) shopper at both Broadway QFCs, it’s annoying to pay the mark-up in prices required to maintain the store as the personal pantry for the drug abusers who loiter at the entrances.

    • It looks like, with Amazon Go, they can actually control entry to the store based on your Amazon ID.

      So in theory those drug abusers would not be allowed to enter the Amazon Go store in the first place.

      There are probably civil rights questions there, but as an entitled yuppie, I’ll just say I’m 100% happy with that.

    • A store has the right to refuse service to anyone, including a yuppie who has an Amazon account and forgot her/his phone. Phone required for entry. Technology marches on.

      I’m sure there will be shrinkage loopholes to be closed, but Amazon will do so. Legally.

      I know it may not be popular sentiment here, but I’m very excited that such new tech is launching here in our back yard.

    • Actually, no…stores don’t have unfettered right to refuse service to anyone. Just ask the florist in TriCities who’s getting sued for refusing to sell flowers to a same-sex wedding.

    • Actually, yes. I’m sorry, an Amazon account and a cell phone is required for entry is not infringing on civil rights in any way. Say what you wish about elitism, but this is completely legal.

    • You’re conflating 2 issues. One is the *unfettered* right to refuse service to anyone. No, you just can’t refuse service to just anyone, for any arbitrary reason. The other is the issue of imposing the same requirements on everybody (such as requiring an approved credit account) for cutomers that you choose to serve. Nobody said requiring an Amazon account and a cell phone infringed on civil rights. But if you have no requirements to service, you can’t claim (unrestricted) “the right to refuse service to anyone”.

    • Jim, a business does indeed have the right to refuse service to anyone it chooses as long as their reasoning isn’t found to be discriminatory against a protected class.

    • Pete, that’s my point about “unfettered”. There are limits. Your reason for denying service can’t be discriminatory.

  3. I don’t have a cell phone. Even if I did, I read so many product labels I’d prolly break their system picking up and putting things back on the shelf lol

    • Seriousky. We’re already scanning our own groceries in other stores. Next, Amazon will be having us unload the trucks for them.

    • When I asked the checkers at our Safeway about the self check stands, soon after the aisle was installed, they told me that jobs were actually added because of them… I don’t know if that lasted or not.

  4. I would think the hundreds of checkers/cashiers at grocery stores throughout our area would be very worried about this technology. The self-checkout kiosks now in place have cost many jobs, but this will cost all of them if this technology takes hold.

  5. Apparently the Starbucks kiosk at the Harvard QFC is now self-serve too. However it is either broken or too difficult for me to figure out.

  6. Unmanned convenience/grocery stores are not a new concept. Rather than banks of vending machines, the doors to the retail space itself control access.

    This won’t work for the very same reasons, but lets see if they hire security guards to try and keep the theft, squatting, and vandalism down before quietly shelving it.

  7. Amazon is so not creative. There’s nothing innovative about squeezing every last shred of humanity out of each transaction to create more profit for the elites. So predictable and boring, and a zero sum end game. Will rejoice the end of the soul sucking demon that is Amazon.

  8. This is kind of creepy. There is something I find disturbing about a company that is so persistent about getting into people’s lives. There is their general website that tracks shopping and viewing history, Kindle Fire/entertainment, the weird home control device called I think “Alexa,” everything they have on the cloud, and now they want to be with us in the grocery store. What’s next, Amazon EasyCare doctors, so they can access our medical history? It is odd that people are willing give up so much information to a company that is so brutal.

    • A bit paranoid are we? I don’t work there but Amazon has added immense value to my life. Saving time avoiding hardware store runs for small items. Great tv productions, the Kindle and more.

      If horses could have voted, we would not have cars. People at Amazon are smart. You can’t wish them away with nostalgia or fear. Nobody makes you shop there. They don’t have your medical records for gosh sake and if they did I bet it would be the world’s most boring read. Or second most after mine.