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Could Amazon’s new checkout-less store revolutionize your meal-prep game?

Amazon Go opens first location in Seattle Pin It
Photo: Amazon

As a busy woman with things to do and people to see, the prospect of spending my lunch break or BFF-and-Netflix time stuck in a gridlock of shopping carts, waiting in a color-coded cashier line is annoying (and, TBH, downright frightening). It’s so off-putting, in fact, that I often forgo grocery shopping altogether. But, all that may change, thanks to technology used in the just-opened Amazon Go, Amazon’s first checkout-less grocery store (AKA, the meal-prep news of my kitchen’s dreams).

Located in Seattle, the store is Amazon’s latest foray into the grocery world, following its gargantuan absorption of Whole Foods. And this place is completely free of registers—there aren’t even those pesky self-checkout machines, which I can’t seem to master without needing employee assistance, thus elongating the option meant to streamline the whole ordeal. #Ugh.

Here’s how the new techy store works: Before entering, you have to download the Amazon Go app, then you simply enter the store, grab the items you need from the shelves (which, according to Amazon, currently include ready-to-eat meals and fridge and pantry staples, in addition to Amazon Meal Kits), and leave.

When you take something off the shelf at Amazon Go, one of the hundreds of small cameras that hang above the shelves throughout the store automatically detects it and adds it to your cart (the digital shopping cart via your account, that is—meta, huh?).

But how does Amazon know what you’re taking? Well, when you take something off the shelf, one of the hundreds of small cameras that, according to The New York Times, hang above the shelves throughout the store automatically detects it and adds it to your cart (the digital shopping cart via your account, that is—meta, huh?). If you return the item to the shelf, it’s removed from your cart, and if you leave the store with it, you’ll get receipt minutes later regarding the charge to your Amazon account. What a world.

And though the idea of a checkout-less store may feel like some sort of bad dream from the future, the space is not completely void of human employees. There is staff on hand prepping food, stocking shelves, and helping customers. And if this means getting in and out of the store with as little hassle as possible, giving me more time to cook and eat with friends, well, can’t complain.

Currently, the Seattle location is the only Amazon Go store, and according to the New York Post, the company has denied any plans to implement this technology across Whole Foods locations. Still, so long as it works well, the spread of this new technology feels pretty imminent. But in the meantime, you can still enjoy Amazon-sanctioned grocery convenience nationwide, thanks to Prime Now’s same-day delivery. Phew.

Keep in mind, Amazon’s grocery advantage may not last long: Walmart and Costco are catching up to the online retailer’s convenience game.