Skip the Line!

Posted: February 12, 2019

Goodbye, long lines. Hello, shoppers!

Store owners are shopping for a way to get rid of checkout lines—for good. A year ago, the online seller Amazon opened its first cashier-less store. Now stores around the world hurry to grab the technology that can end checkout lines.

Here’s how to skip the line. All you need is a smartphone and a “smart store.” A customer opens the store app, scans it to enter the store, grabs what he or she wants, and walks out. Cashier-less stores have computers, cameras, and sensors that can recognize faces. For now, they don’t recognize people’s faces. Instead, they recognize the “faces” of grocery items! The cameras and sensors in the store know when a shopper picks up a product. Sensors can even send coupons to tempt shoppers to buy the items they pick up. When customers leave the store, their credit or debit cards are automatically charged for the items they take with them.

People like cashier-less stores for many reasons. Store shelves have more space. Items are carefully tracked and restocked. These stores appear to make twice as much money as other stores. Instant coupons help shoppers save money. Hurried shoppers can race in and out of stores in record time. “I like the idea of being able to come into a store, grab what you want and just walk out,” says Tomonori Nishimura, who bought a bag of chips at a small cashier-less store.

Some people aren’t quite sure about cashier-less stores. Shoppers want privacy. They don’t want their personal information shared by store computers. They worry that cameras will take pictures of people’s faces. Other shoppers want to choose how they check out. They like checking out with a cashier. The convenience store 7-Eleven is testing 14 cashier-less stores in Dallas, Texas. But 7-Eleven officials don’t plan to get rid of cashiers. Michael Suswal, a cashier-less store creator, says, “Within 10 years, regular checkout stands will be very rare.” He believes in skipping the checkout line. How about you? In a hurry? Maybe soon you can skip the checkout line too!

It takes patience to stand in a line. The Bible reminds us to wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him . . .”

People walk into an Amazon Go store in San Francisco, California, on January 30. New technology lets shoppers buy groceries without waiting in line. (AP Photo)