Amazon’s cashless convenience stores may be undergoing a significant conceptual overhaul. Specifically, an Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo, “We are working to accept cash at Amazon Go.”
The first Amazon Go location—which allows shoppers to grab snacks, premade meals, and other assorted sundries without interacting with a cashier—opened just over a year ago, and the brand has since expanded to 10 locations. But as Amazon Go expanded, so too did local legislation initiatives necessitating stores’ acceptance of cash—a move meant to protect unbanked, lower-income customers who might otherwise be shut out from cashless shops. According to a recent Gallup poll, around 25 percent of shoppers still made all purchases in cash. New Jersey and Massachusetts both have laws on the books to that end; major cities like Chicago, San Fransisco, and New York are considering following suit.
According to CNBC, Amazon’s SVP of physical stores Steve Kessel said at an all-hands meeting last month that the chain would begin exploring how to include good old-fashioned paper money to combat claims of “discrimination and elitism.”
How does a cashless, cashierless store take cash though? Gizmodo inquired as to whether this would more closely resemble existing self-checkout models, or if Amazon would simply bite the bullet and hire staff to handle cash transactions. Unhelpfully, the same spokesperson wrote that “Paying cash at Amazon Go will work as you would expect: you’ll check out, pay with cash, and then get your change.”
As to when Amazon Go stores will accept cash, it’s also as you would expect: Amazon declined to comment.