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Amazon Just Unveiled a Grocery Store with No Checkout Lines

Published On 12/05/2016 Published On 12/05/2016

At most grocery stores, skipping the checkout counter and walking out with a bag of groceries is, well, strongly frowned upon. But at the futuristic new grocery store Amazon announced on Monday, that's exactly what you're supposed to do. Really.

The online retail and technology giant unveiled details on the new brick-and-mortar grocery store concept, Amazon Go, which boldly eschews traditional checkout counters and their frustratingly long lines for a decidedly more high-tech -- and convenient -- approach. As explained in the promotional video above, the store allows you to simply take whatever you want and leave by utilizing sensor technology, a digital pass on your smartphone, and other technology. Your Amazon account will be charged for what you grabbed as soon as you leave the store. Yes, it's that simple.

Here's how Amazon explains the process on the Amazon Go FAQ page:

"Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt."

Basically, Amazon wants to make grocery shopping suck less by cutting out the part you hate the most. Imagine never having to worry about understaffed checkout lanes, or self-checkout kiosks that never work, or all those strategically placed impulse-purchase items you fall for every damn time. It's worth pointing out, however, that the tech-heavy concept looks ripe for erroneous charges and potentially alienating people who don't own smartphones, although that remains to be seen.

The first Amazon Go store, an 1,800sqft space located in Seattle, is currently open exclusively to Amazon employees as part of the company's beta test, but Amazon said it plans to open it to the public sometime early next year. Just try not to be consumed with envy the next time you get in a Trader Joe's line that wraps around the entire store.

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and would cry tears of joy if Trader Joe's did something like this one day. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.

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