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Amazon opens its first Go store in NYC–and the first that accepts cash

Amazon opens its first Go store in NYC–and the first that accepts cash
[Photo: Sikander Iqbal/Wikimedia Commons]

The first Amazon Go store has come to New York City, and it’s like no other. That’s because the store is the first to accept cash. Located at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan, the newest Amazon Go store works much like other Go stores: Users scan themselves in with the Amazon Go app and then walk out with whatever they want. The items they take are noted by cameras and other systems, and the customer is billed automatically for the goods to their account.

But the new NYC Go store will also allow customers to pay for items using cash. This obviously creates some differences in how customers using cash will shop in the store. First, they’ll need to be manually checked in by a Go employee (no scanning yourself in with the Go app). After they collect the items they want to buy, they’ll then need to have their items scanned by a Go staff member and then conduct the payment in cash.

The fact that Amazon is choosing to accept cash at the Go store in NYC is a surprising one. Amazon is the biggest player in the move toward cashless brick-and-mortar stores. However, recently there has been a backlash growing against stores that refuse to accept cash, with many cities moving to ban stores from accepting only noncash payments. As Fast Company reported earlier this year, proponents of the bans say cashless stores unfairly discriminate against lower-income patrons, especially those without a bank account or people who live paycheck to paycheck.

Though Amazon has not explicitly stated why the New York store will accept cash, it’s possible Amazon is doing it to act as a safety net should New York City choose to ban cashless stores, as Philadelphia did in March. An Amazon spokesperson did say this to WTHR about its first cash store: “We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time.”

The new Amazon Go store is located at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan. Its hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

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