Sunday, September 30, 2018
Just walk out?
Every day—make that, every goddamn day—I tell a story, or give my opinion in this space. And you, indulgent friends that you are, read it, which I deeply appreciate.
Though now I'm looking for your opinion, because I'm confused.
Last week I just had to visit the new Amazon Go store on South Franklin, part of the $1 trillion sell-everything-to-everybody-all-the-time company's efforts to eliminate all minimum wage jobs from the world by automating a range of jobs from delivery drivers to cashiers. I'm not sure who's going to be able to buy their stuff if nobody is employed, but I guess that's an issue for another day. Though, now that I think of it, judging from the number of employees, in orange fleeces or polos, overseeing the aisles of bottled water and prepackaged sandwiches at Amazon Go, Amazon still has a while to go before it fulfills its corporate dream.
Anyway, in the spirit of experiment, I bolted in, grabbed a thin can of iced coffee, and left, the glass gates smoothly sliding apart for me, as $2.49 (plus six cents tax, which seems suspiciously low) was deducted from my credit card account.
In the two minutes, 13 seconds I was in the store (they time you, like it's a race) I noticed this array of coffee mugs announcing "JUST WALK OUT," the source of my question today:
"JUST WALK OUT"—is that an appealing slogan? Do you want to own a coffee mug with "JUST WALK OUT" on it? "JUST WALK OUT?" Is that something good? Something to be desired? Aren't the situations where you "just walk out" uniformly bad? Burning buildings. Lousy plays. Crowded restaurant lobbies.
It might be nice, I suppose, to grab a few goodies without having to interact with a slack-jawed clerk, whom I end up thanking despite the fact it should really be the other way around. But not so nice that I want to pay $5.99 to celebrate this development on a coffee cup.
Or—and here is where you come in—am I missing something? Does "JUST WALK OUT" have some kind of edgy hip appeal which, being old, I am oblivious to? I'm sincerely curious? How did Amazon get to rule the world with such a tin ear? Or is the fault mine?