Amazon, Go!

Photo of me at Amazon Go.

Photo of me at Amazon Go.


By Cassell A. Ferere

Amazon has been a force in the past decade at taken its brand reach to new levels; Jeff Bezos is still the richest man even after divorce. A new business motto serving locals, here in New York City, Amazon Go has been unveiled as the “world’s most advanced shopping technology. No lines, no checkout – just grab and go!” their deli-style favorites. Walk-in and scan your app and grab your coffee from the self-serve Starbucks dispenser. Maybe pick up a pre-packaged bagel or an entire meal-prep. Once you have what you came for you just walk out - that’s it!


It’s a cool concept in the sense that this convenience store is located around some pretty densely populated area where thousands of people work. That can be good or not depending on how and what you like to eat. This is more about the community and what the local bodega or delicatessen means to the convenience of the neighborhood. This place of automation, tech and much convenience seems like a bright idea. However, human interaction and condition are certainly missing.


You want to be New Yorker then should know about New York City and its Bodega culture. It is interactive and complex; a sweet science. Amazon might have genius intellect, but in this department, they are lacking genuine interaction. Perhaps, the idea of the Amazon Go store can include the people that make the convenient store's convenient. 


Amazon's Go has perfectly stocked shelves and packed goods. The automated self-serve Starbucks dispenser is cool too. Despite those attributes, I would like someone to be willing and able to make the sandwich I am perfectly capable of making but, just find it taste better when made by someone else. Morning commuters find ritual in consult with their deli guy or girl, about "what's for breakfast?" I like that someone knows my face and my order after 'day 36' of ordering the same thing.

Tech may change the dynamic of a job, replace a job, and even create a job. What tech does for the economy, it does the inverse for the human condition. 


What people love about New York City is the culture that already exists here. Whether it be scary or intriguing, it is different and unique. Bodega culture is sacred in the boroughs and it is how a lot of people get by. The generosity and familiarity of a neighborhood deli have been a crucial part of our History as native New Yorkers. Amazon probably wouldn’t even realize it, although, they have since they relocated their plans for a factory warehouse in Long Island City, Queens. New Yorkers are fond and appreciative of the people running our bodegas. There is a warm feeling we get when we see the faces of these individuals.


Amazon does have great intentions in its design but should consider some human variables in their code. I respect their innovation, but New Yorkers know more so of what we don't want as much as what we do.