Amazon's cashierless grocery store cameras were fooled by a trickster's wardrobe change - but he still got charged for an avocado left by the bathroom
- Amazon recently opened its first cashierless grocery store in Seattle, which uses cameras, sensors, and artificial intelligence to identify which items customers buy.
- A journalist from Ars Technica tried to trick the cameras and see if he could nab some items without them noticing.
- After ducking into a bathroom and putting on a jacket, he said he ended up not getting charged for several items.
- But even Amazon is possessive of its avocados: It charged him for one he left outside the bathroom.
- The Seattle store is a larger version of the Amazon Go stores the company launched in 2018, which are more similar to convenience stores.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Amazon opened its first cashierless grocery store in Seattle on Tuesday, and already someone has tricked the cameras it relies on to tally up shoppers' purchases.
Amazon Go Grocery, as the company calls it, is a larger version of the convenience-store-style Amazon Go stores it first launched in 2018, and sells everything from produce and meat to beer and wine. But instead of employees ringing up customers after they finish shopping, the store uses a network of cameras, sensors, and artificial intelligence to figure out what they're selecting in real-time, and then charges their Amazon account afterwards.
Ars Technica reporter Sam Machkovech took a trip to the experimental store to see if he could bag some fruits and veggies without its surveillance system noticing. While his creative produce-juggling efforts failed, he was able to pull off a wardrobe change in a bathroom that allowed him to temporarily escape from Amazon's watchful eyes.
For its part, Amazon said the system isn't meant to focus on people like Machkovech.
"At Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery, we spend the vast majority of our time thinking about improving the experience for the 99.9% of well-intentioned shoppers vs. designing a system that is focused on deterring the few bad actors," an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider.
Here's a look at how the stores work - and how Machkovech was able to game the system.