Welcome To Checkout-Free Retail. Don’t Mind All The Cameras

by MR Magazine Staff

The shop has no sign. Or rather, the sign is obscured by some kind of bunting. The glass doors are papered over. You gotta know what’s back there, like a speakeasy. Venturing to open the door, I find I still can’t get inside. Between me and a cramped 180 square feet or so of convenience store-like shelves—yogurts, bags of exotically-flavored freeze-dried peas, refrigerators full of juice, and pre-packaged sandwiches—is a turnstile. It is a shop. I will shop. There’s a reader on the right. There’s an app. This is San Francisco, 2018. There is always an app. Get the app and give it a credit card—just like Uber and Amazon trained us—and the app will spit back a QR code. Krishna Motukuri, the guy running the show, calls that code up on his phone and flips it over for the scanner; the turnstile’s waist-high doors fold back. I saunter through. I’m in! I am shopping. I am free to pick whatever I want off the shelves. When I’m done, I get scanned back out. I have shopped. Read more at Wired.