As an introvert, I was initially quite pleased with the concept of an automated store (both as a customer and as a potential investor). The idea of purchasing products in-person, or selling products, without human interaction sounded like a delightful prospect.
Unfortunately, experiencing this type of store first-hand as a customer over the last four years has been disappointing.
With no need for customer interaction, employee focus is ordering supplies, stocking shelves, cleaning the environment, maintaining/monitoring technology and customer surveillance. Regarding the store I frequent, this list of tasks does not appear to be achievable.
I am baffled. The shelves of this store remain bare on a consistent basis. It is now a running joke with friends as to how long the same solitary package of pickles will remain (as of the writing of this article, it is two months). On the rare occasion (approximately every three months) that products exist in the store, the touchscreen available to purchase the items rarely works.
My first thought is that the store is a front for criminal activity. I can think of no other rational explanation. No one in their right mind would burn through rent money for retail space and not invest effort in the business.
Maybe the empty store is run by a maniac who regards all of humanity with such disdain that the goal is to impose a minor daily irritant of no products upon the masses. Slowly chipping away at the well-being of all potential customers.
I guess the owner could be lazy, but that seems unlikely. Why go through all the paperwork and fees to start a business if the goal is to do nothing?
We have so many ups and downs during our short existence on this planet; it could very well be that the person running this location is going through a rough patch. I hope this is not the case.
In all fairness, this bare-shelf issue is probably my own fault. I am terrible at reading signage. I am sure I have just misinterpreted what this retail space is all about. Since I see refrigerated shelves containing one item, coffee machines that spit out anything but coffee, freezers and a broken touchscreen, I assume they exist to provide me with food. When, in reality, this retail space is a portal into another dimension.