The future has come to New York, as Amazon Go opened its first store to accept cash in Manhattan - the first to accept cash in the country.
The 1,300-square-foot store opened its doors on Tuesday across the street from One World Trade Center on the second level of the Brookfield Place Mall.
Amazon launched its first Amazon Go store last year, a checkout-free grocery store that opened its flagship store in Seattle in 2018 after experimenting with physical retail locations for several years.
According to Amazon, the company “created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line.” The newest New York location - the 12th to open - is the first to accept cash, at other locations that are cashier-less, customers can only enter and shop with an app that directly links to credit cards of Amazon accounts.
The move comes as the retail giant faces backlash from critics who claim that cashless stores discriminate against less wealthy shoppers, prompting them to work on a way to accept cash. In the new store, employees will swipe cash-paying customers through the entrance and then scan items with a mobile device to check them out. There will still be no cash registers at the New York location.
The Amazon Go location in New York will feature beverages and ready-to-eat breakfast lunch and dinner options that are made by the company’s kitchen team and local eateries. They will also sell Amazon Meal Kits, which will allow consumers to make an elevated meal for two within an hour.
The Amazon Go location on Vesey Street will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
“Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning,” Amazon stated when first announcing the Go stores.
“Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll send you a receipt and charge your Amazon account.”
A Bloomberg report said that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos foresees the Go stores taking on a number of different configurations, including locations for freshly made packaged meals and others designed more like 7-Eleven stores with limited grocery selections and pre-made food options.
The announcement wasn’t welcomed by all. In a statement, the United Food and Commercial Food Workers International Union, which represents more than 1.2 million retail workers in the country, called the proposal “an existential threat.”
“It is time for America’s elected leaders to wake up to the economic threat Amazon poses to our economy," the union said. "Make no mistake, opening cashier-less stores is not about convenience; rather, it is about greed. Jeff Bezos and Amazon and deploying a business model that poses an existential threat to millions of American jobs, and it is time we are honest about the devastating impact this will have on our nation and tens of millions of hard-working American families.”
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