May 23, 2023 - Sports

Testing the "Just Walk Out" Amazon stadium mini-mart

A card reader and clear gate at the entrance to a stadium mini mart

No cashiers in sight! Photo: Courtesy of FC Cincinnati

Cincinnati's TQL Stadium, home of the MLS club FC Cincinnati, is the first pro stadium in Ohio to offer a food and beverage store using Amazon's Just Walk Out technology.

The big picture: The use of advanced cameras allows customers to select items and walk out without interacting with a cashier.

How it works: Customers enter the store through a special gate using a debit or credit card. A limited number of items are available — prepared pizza slices, beer, pop and a wall of chips and popcorn.

  • Cameras track customer movement, and sensors on shelves determine which items have been picked up.
  • After selecting items, customers "just walk out," and their payment method is charged.

💭 Sam's thought bubble: I ventured to Cincinnati with my wife and neighbors for the Hell is Real Derby this weekend and tried out the tech for myself.

  • The theoretical efficiencies gained by avoiding lines are outweighed by the discomfort of being tracked with extreme precision and the unpleasantness of not knowing what anything costs.
  • You can sign up to receive an itemized receipt at a kiosk near the exit, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of expediency.

By the numbers: My charge from Saturday is still pending, but my credit card statement shows a $33 purchase for a single Tecate tall boy and two Diet Pepsis.

  • Even by stadium pricing standards, that's unconscionable.

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