Amazon Go seems like an impossible dream. A store with no-checkout counters and no lines. The way it works is you scan your Amazon account at the entrance and when you pick up items from the shelf, cameras and sensors will detect what items you've removed from the shelf. Grab what you will and when you leave the store, your Amazon account will be charged with all of your 'purchases'. This futuristic – and idealistic – vision for the future is great but we're not sure how well it will land in Malaysia. Afterall, PIN numbers for our debit and credit cards are only just being implemented and self-checkout counters aren't even available here. Most of the scanners available in our supermarkets can't even scan the barcodes and can't even display the proper prices. Forgive us for being the 'glass half empty' types but this is reality.
In this atmosphere, we tried to imagine what would happen if Amazon Go became a reality in Malaysia and thought about the ways we would royally mess with such an elegant system.
1. Malaysians will cause a line at Amazon Go (and cut-q while we're at it)
We can see it now, throngs of shoppers outside of Amazon Go trying to get the scanner to work, causing a line outside of the store. "Point it the other way!" "Do you have an Amazon Go account?" "Just jump across lah
." These are some of the sample conversations we picture Malaysians having at the store.
2. Malaysians will sneak their children in
Just like we sneak them in at buffets and movie theatres for free stuff, Malaysians who are able to pass the first barrier at the entrance will then push all five of their kids through the gate and run in after them. What happens to the items the children pick up? That's anyone's guess.
3. Malaysians will create inventive ways to beat the system
We're not much for rules here. Everything in our laws are mostly... guidelines. Parking ticket? Oh, that's just a suggestion. Speeding? No problem, can settle. Pay for groceries? No need. Just take the peanut butter jar, empty it into another container and put back the empty peanut butter jar. You could also buy just one peanut butter jar and exchange it at the store everytime you finish its contents. We'll grab and go alright.
4. Malaysians will not bring their own bags for their groceries
Despite the 'No Plastic Bag' initiative in Selangor, most Malaysians still aren't in the habit of conserving the environment. The no-checkout lanes will lead to angry, confused Malaysians cursing the store on social media, and blaming Amazon for not putting the needs of their customers first.
5. Malaysians will try to get in without an Amazon account
"Har? Must sign up only can go in? Ok, nevermind. 99 Speedmart easier." Remember Makro in Shah Alam? You needed a Makro Trade Card to get in and you could only bring one guest in at a time. Children below 12 weren't even allowed to go in. That business did not do well and all of its stores have been bought over by Tesco now in Malaysia. We always take the path of least resistance here in Malaysia and grocery shopping would be no different.
Who knows how Malaysians will actually react if Amazon Go ever arrives in Malaysia. But if you're seriously interested in finding out how the store works, watch this video prepared by Amazon. Its first Beta store is already running in Seattle and is only open to Amazon employees. Much like convenience stores, they sell snacks, drinks, premade food, and grocery essentials.