Don’t even stop to pay — just grab and go. That’s how Amazon’s “just walk out” technology claims to work at the locally-owned Community Groceries. This may sound like a far-fetched story line pulled out of a science fiction novel — because it is. The future is now.
Community Groceries’ East Crossroads location opened in December 2022 — at 640 E. 18th St., KCMO. Its arrival splashed across local headlines, as it claimed to be the first standalone store to utilize its proprietary technology called Amazon One.
But does it work as described? Do you truly just walk in and out? Editor Charmaine took a shopping trip to see if the myth held up to the legend.
When you first walk in, there is a partition that won’t let you proceed until you provide payment information. You can satisfy it by inserting a credit card. You also have the option to link your card to your palm print using Amazon One’s palm scanner.
Amazon One’s palm-scanning technology works similarly to using a fingerprint. In order to set it up, insert your credit card and hold your hand over the scanner. Then, cameras match multiple aspects of your palm including lines, ridges, and veins. This information is stored in Amazon’s data systems + your palm print is now connected to your payment method. Now, you can enter with just the wave of your hand (over the scanner). So regal.
Editor Charmaine elected to skip the palm scanner and just use a credit card.
After providing payment, shop as you normally would. Cameras mounted on the ceiling track your movements. They notice when you pick an item up, and put it back down. Each item has its own version of a virtual bar code the system is also tracking.
Pro tip: Bring your own shopping bag or backpack. There are no bags or carts provided.
When you’re done, simply walk through the exit partition. If you’ve chosen to get nothing, your card won’t be charged.
Want to receive a receipt? Stop at the tablet beside the exit and enter your email address (it won’t send you marketing emails, only receipts). This email address is then linked to the payment method you used to enter the store. So the next time you use that method to enter, the receipt will be sent to the email address you typed in.
And that’s it. That’s shopping at the myth, the legend, the locally-owned futuristic convenience store known as Community Groceries.