The Horror! The Horror!

Amazon announced this week that it’s opening a new food store, called Amazon Go, which automatically charges customers without having to wait in a checkout line. In a video posted to the company’s website, which went viral, busy Americans pluck sandwiches and drinks from high-tech stores shelves while Amazon automatically tracks their selections through a downloadable app, bills their accounts and sends a receipt to their smartphones. It ends with a cheeky message: “No lines. No Checkout. (No, seriously.).”

For Richard McCarthy, the executive director Slow Food USA, the store depicted in the video is “horrifying.”

“Amazon is an enabler in our rush toward processed, pre-packaged convenience foods for a generation and a subset of consumers,” he told Salon. “It’s like ‘I want the ease of clicking, but now I don’t even have to click. I can just grab it and go.’”

The Puritans are still with us, eh? We must suffer in order to have anything nice.

19 thoughts on “The Horror! The Horror!”

  1. Also, I wonder if he thinks this is worse than people queueing for hours for food in Socialist shitheaps? Perhaps those people in Venezuela REALLY appreciate their food as they have had to grovel for it for hours?

  2. Not only is he an idiot, he’s a traitor to his own cause. The less time you spend in the queue, the more time you get to spend having a leisurely lunch (should you wish to do that).

    In other words, what the hell does eating slowly have to do with queuing? Nobody eats in the queue.

  3. Never been on that Salon site before and probably won’t bother in future.

    The writer of the piece should be locked in a room and made to subsist on a diet of other people’s nose pickings.

  4. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “executive director Slow Food USA”

    What a remarkable thing to have a bee in one’s bonnet over. And how clever of McCarthy to get paid for it.

  5. What the hell is ‘Slow Foods USA’?

    Ah, it’s apparently a ‘…nonprofit organization (which) advocates for locally produced foods, fair farming practices and other calls to culinary action…’

    That can be safely ignored then.

  6. OK, “calls to culinary action” is my new favourite phrase. I have this picture in my head of something like Agincourt, but everyone with a napkin tied round their neck and holding a knife and fork a la Wile E Coyote.

  7. So we’ve solved the problem of getting enough food.

    So the next world-threatening worry is whether we get to enjoy it too fast.

    Colour me unconvinced…

  8. Ah, the good old ‘nonprofit’, for when you don’t fancy the added scrutiny of forming a charity. Get cash from idiots and top it up with some government largess, nice little business – sorry, it’s not a business, it’s Doing Good.

    If I sound jealous it’s because I am. The urge to punch McCarthy’s smug face is unrelated though. It’s a face you’d wear out your shoes on.

    I note that the good people at Slow Food USA have four (no doubt unpaid, it’s a non-profit after all) interns to help out.

  9. Slow food movement started in Italy in ’86, but like all well intentioned ideas it has been hi jacked as it grew bigger and now appears (from their world site) to be just another organisation looking for public funding so it can involve itself in all matters that have little to do with food.

  10. Come to think of it, it will lead to unemployment for predominantly female shop assistants, so it’s misogynist as well. I blame that Trump.

  11. Mal Reynolds (Serenity)

    “Amazon is an enabler in our rush toward processed, pre-packaged convenience foods”

    …haven’t processed, pre-packaged convenience foods been available for decades?!

  12. Better to be a disabler than enabler these days, the State will pay the former and penalise the latter.

    Could someone do the world a favour and cut the electric supply to his house? Let’s see how he gets on.

  13. He’ll have a heart attack when he discovers that all the major supermarkets do home delivery, meaning precisely zero minutes spent in the supermarket.

  14. I’m glad there was a video.

    The article I read didn’t mention it. That piece focused on convenience stores and labor costs. As most of the convenience stores I frequent normally only have one employee staffed at a time I’d love it if they cut labor in this manner. I could just walk in, grab what I want, and walk out with no problems. As I returned to a flip phone I’d just need to disguise myself, the employees wouldn’t care I have my face covered, as there wouldn’t be any, my bill would suddenly go to zero.

    Alas, from the video, it is clear that this is a small trial setup testing procedures for grocery stores. My visions of free stuff have been dashed as there would still be some employees to notice. I am still curious to see how they deal with a couple issues.

    From the video it appears an item goes in your online cart when remove it from the shelf and comes out if you put it back in the same place. Humans have a very hard time with the putting it back in the same place part.

    Virtually every grocery run I make includes at least one piece of loose produce measured by weight. Furthermore each piece is inspected by, in this order, sight, feel, smell. No, I will not allow someone else who skips at least one of these steps to pick out my plums.

    I’m sure after visiting this type of store I’d find other problems. That said, if the labor savings are greater than the capital expenses, operational expenses, additional shrinkage, and lost margin from checkout line impulse buys it will happen. Hopefully once they reach my area smartphones add enough value for me to want to carry a personal one again.

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