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Amazon Says It Won't Replace Whole Foods Cashiers With Computers... Yet (cnbc.com) 109

An anonymous reader shares a report: Amazon said it has no current plans to automate the jobs of cashiers in Whole Foods stores after it finishes acquiring the grocery chain. It also isn't planning any layoffs, according to a spokesperson. There is some speculation, however, that Amazon may change its plans and use new technology inside of Whole Foods locations. Commenting on Amazon's announcement from earlier today, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said, "Only one company on earth can buy grocery chain, be rumored to buy enterprise software company & in both cases be lauded for strategic vision."

Amazon Says It Won't Replace Whole Foods Cashiers With Computers... Yet

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Every company that ever bought out another company always starts out with saying "Oh no worries we aren't going to change anything or lay anybody off!" and then six months or so later they do precisely that.

    Whole Foods may be pricey (which is why I only buy a few things there I can't find anywhere else; who does all their shopping in one store?), but Amazon will be making a mistake if they turn it into Just Another Grocery Store. There are aspects to Whole Foods that distinguishes it from other grocery s
    • What kind of insane PE ratio did they pay for 'Whole Paycheck'?

      Their 'chump list' is worth a fortune, but still?

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Yes, "stuff that others don't have" like old world coffee is why I go to Whole Foods, Fresh Market and similar stores.

      For regular groceries, they are much worse than regular supermarkets, both for price and quality. Staples like bread, milk and produce tends to be truly old compared to bigger stores with faster churn. And their meat and fish departments are staffed with people who have no idea what they're doing, and couldn't butcher a carcass or filet a fish without cutting bones if their life depended o

  • Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumpy-cowboy ( 4342983 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @01:42PM (#54634467)

    With a 15$/hour minimum wage, they will probably change their minds.

  • by FilmedInNoir ( 1392323 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @01:44PM (#54634483)
    Whole Foods is all hippy-dippy Earth loving stuff I thought. What would Amazon want with that? It's like Walmart buying out an Amish quilter and saying they have no plans for a factory. No duh! They can't go high-tech, it would defeat the purpose of why it was successful in the first place.
    • 'Whole Foods' knows who the people dumb enough to shop at 'Whole Foods' are!

      Think about that for a second. There's only one explanation: Amazon is going into the Cherokee Hair Tampon business.

    • Eat your broccoli.
      President Bezos's secretary of Agriculture will mandate daily drone delivery of fresh broccoli to every American. Grandmas will be crushed under mountains of uneaten broccoli.
    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      Who knows, but it makes sense. Amazon has been interested in having brick and mortar stores for a while. And they are also interested in grocery delivery.
      I see two angles:
      -use the Whole Foods network to serve as relay point for their regular deliveries
      -add a food delivery department to Whole Foods

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @02:49PM (#54634987)

      Whole Foods is all hippy-dippy Earth loving stuff I thought. What would Amazon want with that? It's like Walmart buying out an Amish quilter and saying they have no plans for a factory. No duh! They can't go high-tech, it would defeat the purpose of why it was successful in the first place.

      Brick and Mortar locations with decent brand recognition (and, among their target customers it's a well liked brand) in high-income areas with a lot of cross-over with their existing customer base (You think hippy-dippy upper-middle class buyers don't also use Amazon?) They can also use these locations and their existing back-end to expand their grocery delivery business and get real experience in retail.

    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      Whole foods has a pretty incredible IT department, they have oodles of data back to at least the late 90s on every customer, purchase, and analysis of purchasing habits etc etc. They're a very big customer of Oracle's. It's hard if not impossible to buy that kind of dataset, and if you intend to move in to, own and dominate brick and mortar retail, you need decades of consumer data from many regions. Also they get access to a massive distribution network and long standing vendor relationships. Total slam du

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Whole Foods is all hippy-dippy Earth loving stuff I thought.

      It thought that was Trader Joe's. "Whole Paycheck" is for snobs and hipsters who think that they have gluten sensitivity.

    • They found out there was money in the banana stand [slashdot.org]. So they bought a bigger banana stand.

  • well in some sates self checkout does not take wic / ebt

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @02:00PM (#54634627)
    Echos are more productive, complain less, and don't show up to work with tattoos
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What's wrong with tattoos? Does your food taste different if the cashier had some ink done?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 0111 1110 ( 518466 )

        Tattoos are ugly. Yes all of them. But I guess it's no worse than hiring ugly cashiers. It's not like every cashier at whole foods is a hot girl. Although if I were in charge they would be. Obviously robot babe cashiers would be better than human ones though.

        • I'm going to guess that at least half of people who shop at grocery stores aren't actually interested in oogling hot girls. Maybe that's why your not in charge of hiring practices.
          • Lots of managers seem to favor hot girls. Actually I suspect that all heterosexual male humans who hire people choose the beautiful girls first. It's just human nature to favor what is beautiful. Of course I think robots can be beautiful too. [youtube.com]

      • Nope, my food doesn't taste any different. Then again, you can't taste hepatitis.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Echos are more productive, complain less, and don't show up to work with tattoos

      ...yet.

  • "Alexa, add Beyond Burgers to my Whole Foods pickup box. Alexa, add Fabainaise Classic 32 ounce to my Whole Foods pickup box. Alexa, add Field Roast Herb Chao slices to my Whole Foods pickup box. Alexa, schedule my Whole Foods pickup for Saturday morning."

  • Exactly the kind of psychopath I want involved in my food supply.

  • is being Seen there, just like some people want to be Seen in church. Amazon might mess with that aspect.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If anything you'll be seen more, after Amazon installs more surveillance to datamine shoppers.

      Not to mention the automatic updates of your visits they'll post to your social media after hijacking your in-store internet traffic.

  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @02:27PM (#54634847)
    This is standard process for any acquisition:

    Step 1: Assure all employees of both the acquired and the parent company that their job is safe.
    Step 2: Assure the public that it is business as usual.
    Step 3: https://hardware.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org] all your employees in potentially redundant areas fill out "Skill matrix" or other bullshit evaluations
    Step 4: Make a shocking, totally unexpected, totally unpredictable move to lay off redundancies to the point where you can't properly function
    Step 5: Bring in inexpensive contractors/scabs to bring the business back up to minimal function as you ring money out of the asset at peak efficiency.
    • huh, no idea why that link is there, I blame the totally necessary feature of drag-drop text manipulation on browser text-boxes.
  • by SYSS Mouse ( 694626 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @02:28PM (#54634855) Homepage

    block customer from checking competitors' price online.

  • Please place the item into the bag.

    Please place the item into the bag.

    Please place the item into the bag, YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO COMPLY!
    • by habig ( 12787 )

      Please place the item into the bag.

      at the WF near me, you don't need to use a self checkout machine to get this interaction (minus the Robocop bit). There are signs up saying something about "don't make our employees put things in bags for you to save them from repetitive stress injuries". And the employees give you the evil eye if you don't Comply Immediately With the Sign. So, you get to pay more for your food while getting less service.

  • at the very least their IT staff will get the axe as they merge their network with Amazon's. Accounting & HR will go next for the same reasons. That's just what you do when you merge. You remove redundancies.

    Automation will come later, but it'll come. Probably not the checkout. If you're spending twice as much on groceries you're probably expecting somebody to check you out. Unless they implement some kind of grab and go system (or just close the storefronts entirely in favor of delivery).
  • I could sometimes stomach Whole Foods when they were their own entity, but I'm not interested in my grocery dollars going into Amazon's pocket. Even more so, I'll go out of my way to frequent local specialty markets. I imagine many Whole Foods shoppers being turned off by Amazon's involvement. If the demographics shift they will not be able to maintain the current standards.

    I'm a little surprised investors seem to think this is such a great idea. It will be sad if they ruin a good business that a lot of peo

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      The CEO of Whole Foods is pretty conservative/libertarian. If you assume Whole Foods customers are tree hugging greenies who have Greenpeace stickers on their Volvos and aspire to join a commune, they don't seem to mind. They might welcome that their market is being bought by the same guy who owns WaPo, which has all those journalists and editors going after Trump. Of course, those local specialty markets have largely been run out of town by Whole Foods or Amazon already. Unless, of course, they were an upm
      • Mostly, Whole Foods shoppers are worried about things like celiac disease (that they don't have). Also, as many Greenpeace Vegans they have, there are just as many Trumpkin Paleo guys.
      • Valid point, ignorance is bliss.
  • So this will be the Whole of Amazon?

  • white kids with dreadlocks.

    • They already have computers that will play Sublime 24/7. Just wait until they invent a bong-smoking machine, they'll be out of a job too.
  • ... 100% organic cashiers.

  • Two weeks before Microsoft closed its takeover of Nokia Mobile Phones where I worked at the time, they assured all the employees that there would be no layoffs and everyone had a secure position. Two weeks after the takeover was complete, they laid off 20,000 of us... Our entire division was decimated and basically shut down. I wonder what happened to the 100 million customers we were serving?

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