Pete Davidson plays a recurring character on Saturday Night Live named Chad. The joke is that when presented with extraordinary circumstances, Chad just nonchalantly replies “OK!” Nothing phases him. That’s basically how I felt shopping at the new Amazon Go store in Seattle. It worked so well that there was nothing remarkable about it.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, here’s how Amazon Go works. You download the Amazon Go app to your phone. The app produces a QR code that you scan as you enter the physical store.
The store itself is like an immaculate, high-end bodega. It’s small, but efficiently packed with just about anything you could need from a grocery store. Produce, dairy, bakery items. There are cooks on-site that prepare sandwiches and meal kits. There are people there to re-stock shelves and field questions (there were actually quite a few workers, but I imagine this is because the concept is so new these particular Amazonians are living, breathing FAQs).
Once inside, you grab the items you want off the shelf and put them in your bag. Then you just walk out. No cashiers. No conveyer belts. No baggers asking “paper or plastic.” Just leave. Minutes later an accurate receipt of everything you took/bought appears in your app.
And it works exactly as advertised. In fact, shopping there was so seamless that it was anti-climactic. It felt like air. Like nothing. And that might be the best part of the experience. Though I made a special trip across town, everything felt so fast and easy that it was almost as if it didn’t happen. I went about my day as normal.
But despite all the convenience, Amazon Go is still a convenience store. It’s too small for carts (there are none anyway), so you won’t be buying a week’s worth of food here. And while the selection is remarkably broad, the produce in particular is lacking, especially for a family. But in a city full of millennials and people on-the-go, you can absolutely see this taking off.
It doesn’t feel like the future of shopping, it just feels like the way shopping should be. And that’s “OK!”