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Is this 24/7, humanless Dollar General the future of shopping?

A TikTok by Rachel Sullivan (@rachsullivan__), co-author of Meals She Eats, is raking in millions of views for taking people along on her recent shopping trip to Dollar General.

As Rachel explains, this isn’t just any old Dollar General — it’s a pilot location that’s currently testing out a new, high-tech model: cashierless stores, open 24/7.

In the clip, Rachel and her co-author husband, Tom Sullivan (@mealssheeats), enter the store by swiping their credit card on an outdoor kiosk and requesting a receipt for their (future) purchase.

Once inside, they grab several drinks and snacks for the road, including chips, lemonade and candy. But instead of waiting in a line to be rung up by a human or even ringing themselves up at self-checkout, the couple simply leaves the store — without even looking back.

“We’re walking out,” Tom says in the video as the couple walks to their car in amazement. “That’s it; we didn’t scan them.”

To the casual observer, it might look like the Sullivans have just skipped out on paying. But in reality, store cameras have already captured everything they’ve taken with them, charged their credit card for the full amount and sent over an electronic receipt.

“They’ve got all of it,” Rachel later confirms after looking over the receipt for herself.

Though the Sullivans didn’t share any other details on the store, this isn’t the first time this particular Dollar General has gotten attention. In fact, it’s been featured in other viral TikToks before, including one from Oct. 2022 that was shared by the user @palu9988.

According to Business Insider, the store is located in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and is part of Dollar General’s new partnership with the AI retail tech company AiFi.

“Consistent with our ongoing strategy to continually look for new ways to meet our customers’ value and convenience needs, we recently piloted a store with frictionless technology,” Dollar General told Insider. “While we do not currently plan to expand this technology, we instead will continue to test and learn.”

The cashierless shopping experience is modeled after Amazon’s state-of-the-art Just Walk Out technology, which launched in 2018 and has been used in all Amazon Go locations throughout the U.S.

That said, the success of these stores appears to be mixed. Supermarket News reports that while Amazon had previously been “marching ahead” with the technology, the company recently announced it would be closing cashierless stores in highly populated areas like New York, San Francisco and Seattle due to theft and loss.

It’s also been met with both praise and criticism by the public. While many customers seem to appreciate the ease and convenience it offers while shopping, it’s also hard to ignore the potential impact this could have on the workforce.

These views and more can be seen in the comments section of Sullivan’s TikTok, where users are currently debating the pros and cons of AI technology in stores.

“We need one of those here. thats amazing,” commented @zoe_rose71.

“It’s wild how it seems really cool and exciting until you think about what it really means for people in the future,” commented @burt_kneeconviva.

“Here the corporations go, brainwashing us to believe eliminating jobs is ‘so cool!'” added @savannahbuck7.

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The post Is this 24/7, humanless Dollar General the future of shopping? appeared first on In The Know.

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