THAT AMAZON GO promo video where impossibly good-looking people weigh up the relative merits of groceries would look a whole lot less impressive if it ended with the models slowly counting out pennies to afford the contents of their basket. But it looks like that could well be the future after all.
Yes, Amazon Go - the store that urged citizens to say goodbye to cash and hello to automatic app payment - will soon be offering you the chance to pay with coins and banknotes. That would have been quite a breakthrough in Anatolia around 2,700 years ago, but in 2019 it's something of a letdown.
To be clear, this doesn't seem to be down to any weakness with the system as it stands: it works perfectly well if you have a smartphone and a bank account. The problem is that plenty of people don't, and a number of states are considering laws to force shops to support cash to avoid discrimination.
The news that Amazon intends to head off this possible incoming legislation was broken by CNBC, which obtained a recording of Steve Kessel - Amazon's senior vice president of physical stores - explaining the plans that would introduce "additional payment mechanisms" to address "discrimination and elitism." It probably doesn't hurt that this will open up a whole new range of customers, either.
"We're in earlier days but it's an important focus for us and we'll continue to extend those methods with our stores," he said.
An Amazon spokesperson later confirmed the comments, but wouldn't be drawn on any kind of timeline for cash's surprise return to retail.
"You'll check out, pay with cash, and then get your change," the spokesperson added. If you ask us, it'll never catch on. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score
Smarter than your average pair of smart glasses
9.8-rated vuln hasn't yet been fixed