Some of you may think this post is about online shopping carts, but you would be wrong.
This is about good old-fashioned physical carts, the kind you would find at a grocery store.
Last week Amazon Express opened up a store near us, and we had to check what all the excitement was about.
Here’s how it works:
I scanned in with my Amazon Prime app barcode on my phone and started shopping. There are hundreds of cameras hanging from the ceiling, and apparently, they can pick up everything that you put into your shopping cart. You can place your items into a bag in your cart, either your own bag, or they sell paper bags for 10 cents each. Then, when you are finished shopping, you just scan your Amazon Prime app barcode once again, and that’s it. There is no formal checkout process. I was told I would get my receipt in about 30 minutes.
I was curious how accurate those cameras would be, so I looked forward to comparing the receipt against what we actually bought. It took a while to get the receipt (several hours), and when I compared it to our purchases, I discovered that we had been charged for two items we had not bought. A simple five-minute phone call to Amazon Fresh resolved the problem, and I received a refund.
Overall, I thought the experience was great, despite the hiccup with the receipt. The store was clean, seemed to have a great selection of products, and the checkout process was quite easy. I will happily return to do more shopping. (People who do not have Amazon Prime can shop there; there is a regular checkout line with a cashier.)
But my shopping experience at Amazon Fresh is not what motivated this blog. That happened when I went to put my shopping cart back in its place.
As you can see from the photo above, there was enough room to have three columns of carts. One side looks fairly organized, I’m not sure what’s going on with the other side.
I was on the organized side, and when I went to put my green cart into one of the two green cart columns (it seems kind of obvious to me where those two green cart columns are), whoever dropped their green cart right before me was apparently confused as to how the process worked. I guess they could not decide which column to put it in, so they just left it right between the two columns.
It was easy enough for me to get things back on track, but I felt a bit sorry for the people who work at Amazon Fresh. I am sure all the employees were well-trained and ready to answer lots of questions about barcode scanning, how the checkout process work, your receipt, all the cameras, product selection, and so on.
But I am guessing they assumed that everyone would know how to put a shopping cart away, and so there was no one telling customers how that part worked.
So despite all that high-tech, sometimes it’s the most basic of tasks that cause the most confusion…