Amazon's cashier-free 'Go' stores will start accepting cash to address 'discrimination'...

Polycount

Posts: 2,470   +549
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Amazon's vision of a cash and cashier-free future has gone reasonably well so far, but there's a slight hitch in the company's plans now. As some states have begun to consider (or have already passed) laws that ban cash-free stores, Amazon has decided not to wait around for regulations to catch up to them.

In the interest of being proactive, Amazon's Go stores will begin to accept cash in addition to credit and debit cards. Apparently, this decision has been made to address concerns regarding potential "discrimination" against those who can't or won't get bank accounts due to credit issues.

Given that the whole concept behind the Go stores is that you can simply walk in, grab what you want and walk out, it's not clear how a cash payment system will work. All an Amazon spokesperson has said is "you'll check out, pay with cash, and then get your change."

Perhaps Amazon will add the self-checkout lanes that you see in other stores - if so, it may defeat the purpose of having the stores in the first place. However, only time will tell exactly how things will work out, and we'll update you if Amazon elaborates on their plans further.

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sdsdv10

Posts: 12   +13
I really don't see this as an issue. Adding what is effectively a self-checkout lane doesn't negate the people from using the Go stores as originally planned.
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,152   +3,284
Every self-checkout I've ever seen accepts cash. I'm surprised that the writer didn't know this but more surprised that Amazon didn't have this standard function in their stores already. It works just like a vending machine. Frankly, I just loathe self-checkout in general. If something goes wrong the poor employee who's now being forced to oversee multiple registers for the same pay has to come over and sort it out. I'm now an unpaid checkout clerk and my items aren't any cheaper than they were when a person was manning the lane. There's also the bleak sense of dehumanization and technology having gone too far in the name of profits. I've witnessed all of this excessive automation just in my adult lifetime. The rise of ineffective automated phone menus and other layers of techno-absurdity have done nothing to aid consumers. As a society we're all collectively punching zero over and over trying to get an actual person with problem-solving skills on the line.
 
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Polycount

Posts: 2,470   +549
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Every self-checkout I've ever seen accepts cash. I'm surprised that the writer didn't know this but more surprised that Amazon didn't have this standard function in their stores already. It works just like a vending machine. Frankly, I just loathe self-checkout in general. If something goes wrong the poor employee who's now being forced to oversee multiple registers for the same pay has to come over and sort it out. I'm now an unpaid checkout clerk and my items aren't any cheaper than they were when a person was manning the lane. There's also the bleak sense of dehumanization and technology having gone too far in the name of profits. I've witnessed all of this excessive automation just in my adult lifetime. The rise of ineffective automated phone menus and other layers of techno-absurdity have done nothing to aid consumers. As a society we're all collectively punching zero over and over trying to get an actual person with problem-solving skills on the line.

Where did I imply that self-checkouts didn't accept cash? If I did, I'll definitely be correcting that, because of course they do.

It's Amazon's Go stores in particular that didn't accept cash so far, because they use cameras/sensors to determine what you bought and just bill your account later (I believe you scan the Amazon app when you enter).

I think this is a positive change, but it does throw a wrench into Amazon's plans.

Because Amazon's stores are built around the whole idea of zero interaction with anything in the store (again, beyond scanning your app), I'm not sure how they're going to easily implement cash payment. It'd probably require a bit of store restructuring.

EDIT: I see where the confusion came from. I reworded the article a bit at the end, hopefully that clears it up.
 
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brucek

Posts: 425   +484
From the Wikipedia artricle on Unbanked:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbanked

"Places where over 20% of residents have no bank accounts include Miami, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; Laredo, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; Hialeah, Florida; Hidalgo County, Texas; The Bronx; and Cameron County, Texas. Many counties with less than 100,000 residents had even higher rates, including Starr County, Texas, at 32.7%. Some census tracts in Savannah, Georgia; Cleveland, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia had over 40% unbanked residents.[2]"

Certainly not surprising that voters or representatives in places like these would not endorse a cash-less system for life's necessities like groceries.

The author may question or quote terms like "fair" and "discrimination" but that all seems moot to the simple impracticality of either a store excluding a lot of customers and/or a city approving square footage that ill-suit its residents.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,214   +5,600
Unless it has very recently changed, commodity stores were required to accept cash since it is still considered to be the universal (in the USA) medium of exchange. They can discourage it, but I don't think they can refuse. Origionally created to protect farmers and simple merchants it evolved over the years to protect those that must deal on a cash basis and cannot get / keep a checking account.
 
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