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Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
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puckerman Offline
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Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
I was completely shocked by the news that Amazon wants to buy Whole Foods, as was just about everyone else I know. It doesn't seem to make such sense for either company. It just seems to be a merger for the hell of it, which is pretty common these days.

I was at Whole Foods for about three and a half years, leaving there May of last year. I learned a lot about how things really work there, in spite of all the stuff in John Mackey's book Conscious Capitalism and the fact that they are continuously on the list of Fortune's "Best Places to Work." I bought into the window dressing.

John Mackey worships Jeff Bezos and Amazon, so I wasn't surprised that Mackey is allowing his baby to be bought out by someone he admires. That being said, I wonder how much power and control he really has. It's been reported that he will stay on as CEO of Whole Foods. I predict he will be out of there in two years, and he doesn't need the money anyway.

When people asked me why I left WFM, I told them that WFM seems to be a victim of its own success. In the past, their main competition was the likes of local co-ops, Sprouts, and Wild Oats. Now, their main competition is the likes of Walmart, Safeway, and Kroger. I didn't think they could survive.

WFM does attract a lot of really good people. They are dedicated, passionate, and oriented to teamwork. But it also seems like they were driving those people out.

I worked in IT there. I saw an environment that wasn't well organized or inefficient. Plus, it was very behind the times with regard to technology. I can imagine someone from Amazon saying: "You are still using this stuff. We got rid of that five years ago."

While Amazon has done well, they do not have a good reputation as a place to work. I suspect there will be a lot of long-time WFM people looking elsewhere in the next few years. I hear this from techies, as well as headhunters. I once heard a story about a guy from Amazon getting called on his cell right after he got out of a surgery.

I also wonder if WFM has been heading in that direction. When I started at WFM, for example, you could bank as many vacation days as you wanted. Now you have to take a certain amount of them or lose them. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why they are doing this--they want people to lose their vacation days.

WFM would also delay projects and other things in order to manipulate the numbers. For example, they would buy servers. Then they wouldn't buy the software for the servers, so the servers would sit unopened in a room for six months. The only "core value" was making sure the quarterly reports looked good.

I had a 20% discount card, so I bought lots of stuff there. I sometimes went to competing stores anyway because they seemed to be phasing out some of their better products. Jay Robb's protein is one thing I could get at Sprouts, but couldn't get there for a while.

When I moved to Austin in 2004, I never heard anything bad about working there. Now it seems like they have disappointed lots of people. With this purchase, it's fairly obvious that WFM is just going be like every other workplace.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/ama...7-billion/

http://www.statesman.com/business/amazon...vPqM1ioaM/
06-17-2017 12:07 PM
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stugatz Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Thinking of applying there this summer just to get out of my current job. (I admit the cute women who shop there is a major motivation - and one of the workers, complete with choker, was hitting on me yesterday.)

Do you think it's still a decent place to work overall? "Decent" is better than excruciating.
06-17-2017 12:14 PM
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puckerman Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 12:14 PM)stugatz Wrote:  Thinking of applying there this summer just to get out of my current job. (I admit the cute women who shop there is a major motivation - and one of the workers, complete with choker, was hitting on me yesterday.)

Do you think it's still a decent place to work overall? "Decent" is better than excruciating.

Where are you? And what kind of job are you looking for? I had the disadvantage of having a really shitty supervisor. I would probably still there if I'd had a good one.
06-17-2017 12:20 PM
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Elster Away
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
From a capitalist point of view it would make sense since you diversify the reach of your cartel corp.
Tobacco companies like Phillip Morris famously did this but if you check the tree of parent companies you'll be surprised to find out how much the big boys reach.

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06-17-2017 12:25 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
I read that Bloomberg downgraded Amazon's credit rating because they had to resort to debt financing. Am I correct in saying this was a leveraged buy out?

Whole Foods is crap. Overpriced everything (even their generic 365 brand) and puny product sizes. The only time I ever shopped there was for food in the, "crap I forgot to pick this up from Wegmans" and would walk over to it.

I thought the market reaction for other grocers was off. Stocks for Kroger, Walmart, and Target got hit hard. I can understand Target but Kroger and Walmart? You can't buy Oreos and other highly processed sugar bombs at Whole Foods. A large percentage of Americans do their shopping elsewhere.

Trader Joe's along with a good local butcher is more than enough to surpass the quality a Whole Foods tries to serve up and for a fraction of the price.

I could write an essay on the type of basic people who shop at Whole Foods. However, i'll let someone else do the honor.

Edit: Whole Foods was the only place that sells American style cured and smoked streaky bacon in England which you Brits can't seem to make right! That is probably the only thing they have going for them.
(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 12:43 PM by The Beast1.)
06-17-2017 12:29 PM
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Easy_C Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Agreed.

If you like that kind of food, go to Lucky's or Fresh Thyme instead. Better quality for less money.
06-17-2017 12:32 PM
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SamuelBRoberts Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
If you assume this is a way to use Amazon's existing efficienct methods (Robotic Warehousing, absurdly fast delivery) in order to get into a high margin business like organic food, it makes a lot of sense.
06-17-2017 12:35 PM
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puckerman Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 12:29 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  A large percentage of Americans do their shopping elsewhere.

A large percentage of Americans do not even have access to Whole Foods without driving for at least an hour.

Quote:Trader Joe's along with a good local butcher is more than enough to surpass the quality a Whole Foods tries to serve up and for a fraction of the price.

John Mackey often says that Trader Joe's is his greatest competition. I've noticed that most fans of TJ's have one product that they really, really like that they only get there.

Quote:I could write an essay on the type of basic people who shop at Whole Foods. However, i'll let someone else do the honor.

Go for it.

I will say that their generic bottled water is excellent. It's also 79 cents for a liter and a half. That's the best deal anywhere.
06-17-2017 12:40 PM
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Sebastian Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Type of people who shop at whole foods?
Thin, educated, yoga pants wearing white women in a good neighborhood? Oh i know they are Liberals (or lefty they call it here) and have some feminist mindset at least. Most guys will be afraid of them in this forum.
06-17-2017 01:13 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)



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06-17-2017 01:34 PM
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RIslander Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Sold for 13.7 billion. That's roughly the value of 4 dozen eggs, a grass fed roast and a sixer of all-natural gluten free soda.
(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 02:16 PM by RIslander.)
06-17-2017 02:03 PM
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Foolsgo1d Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Amazon wants to hurt Wallmart and buying a name, its ifnrastructure and the people only makes sense. What Amazon will do is restructure it and sack a lot of people and hire cheap IT guys.
06-17-2017 03:13 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
This is a good play for Amazon, as Samuel Roberts explained.

I haven't seen notice of Amazon's credit rating being lowered - would be surprised if its junk since their stock is on fire.

Leveraged buyout - means the buyer mortgaging the target's assets to finance the deal which is not uncommon, but is thrown around usually in the going private context which does not apply here. Retailers usually don't own their real estate so probably not an LBO.
(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 05:09 PM by Hypno.)
06-17-2017 05:05 PM
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Easy_C Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 01:13 PM)Sebastian Wrote:  Type of people who shop at whole foods?
Thin, educated, yoga pants wearing white women in a good neighborhood? Oh i know they are Liberals (or lefty they call it here) and have some feminist mindset at least. Most guys will be afraid of them in this forum.

Don't mistake contempt for fear.
06-17-2017 05:37 PM
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infinitejest Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
I worked at a Whole Foods a few years back (aka Whole Paycheck or Whole Fucks) as one of the random jobs I had while I was bumbling around aimlessly in my college town post-graduation. Seems like a good time now to share some of my experiences working for this place. I met some interesting people there, but in general grew to hate it like nearly every job I've had. It's just as bureaucratic and corporate a place to work at as anywhere else. I worked in food prep.

The store manager was some old ass dyke. Probably promoted for diversity reasons. On the first day she gave another young recruit and I an inspiring tale about how if we dedicated the next 20 years of our lives working at WFM, maybe one day we too could have a cushy management gig and own WFM stock. As far as I know her job seemed to be to walk around the store and issue basic commands while tasting various food. Other than that I never interacted with her much.

My supervisor was this old former military bastard who had the job to kill time and collect benefits I presume. The guy gave no fucks and never did anything food related despite being the team leader of the prepared foods department. He also loved to exclusively schedule me for back-to-back 'clopens' all the time (you close the store then open the store the next morning), probably because I was late all the time. Most of the people who worked there were dumbasses and degenerate losers, myself at the time among that group. The rest were good girls, old ladies and boring whole foods corporate people drinking the kool aid playing the game trying to move up the WFM career ladder. The kitchen staff was slowly replaced with Mexicans more and more as time went on. I think by the time I stopped working there half the kitchen and all the dishwashers only spoke Spanish. I worked there less than a year, but got the feeling that corporate WF was a lot different than the people who actually worked in the stores themselves.

Random thoughts about work there:
-the food there is no better than any generic casual dining place, just more expensive. Most of the food comes from bags and the most cooking anyone does in the back is toss a few ingredients into a skillet or throw something in the oven. Only good food we had there imo were the sandwiches, if you felt like paying $13 for a footlong.

-whole department (and store for that matter) was a bunch of potheads and drunks. I was buying bud at the time from a 'cook' in the back and eventually was regularly doing dabs on my lunch breaks with the pizza guys. felt like the only way to get through the job at the time was to be perpetually stoned.

-a few (nasty) sluts worked there. this one girl in bakery alone I knew had slept with at least 4 different guys in the store. One girl in my department came on to me several times saying we should hang out, but I rebuffed her for good reason. She ended up sleeping around with a few other guys in the department.

-Decent eye candy if you were working up front. Whole Foods is a hotbed for young sorority girls in yoga pants who like to waste Daddy's college fund on gluten-free sandwiches. Got a few numbers and used it as a chance to practice some banter game sometimes. I actually banged a girl who came up to me and gave me her number (she was only a 5 though but whatever) and went out for drinks with a solid 7 but blew the close.

-easy to steal food and other small items. You get a small discount, but really that shit is way overpriced and out of laziness I ate there often, wasting some of my unearned paycheck. Once I realized I could simply grab food and make a beeline to the break room instead of the check stand I really started to enjoy the food there a lot more. Also had a habit of swiping yerba mattes on my way in to work to get the day started with a little caffeine buzz.

I eventually ended up getting fired from WF but not for stealing funnily enough. Simply for compulsive and chronic tardiness. They had a 5 min grace period for tardiness, so as long as you clocked in <5 minutes late, you were fine. So naturally, I showed up 5-6 minutes late everyday. Not that anyone ever noticed until they checked the logs. I worked there maybe 8 months and probably showed up 'on-time' less than 10 times total. Finally, I racked up so many points that they were forced to fire me in their words.

The day itself was pretty great. I showed up 6 minutes late, swiped yerba matte in hand, and had it explained to me that if I had just waited 2 more days, that my points would have reset and I literally could have gone back to just chronically racking up tardies. Meanwhile, a guy in the kitchen who had shown up wasted and was caught drinking on the job several times was hardly disciplined. Absurd bureaucracy at its finest.

I saw the news on FB and laughed because it makes perfect sense. They are evolving into another generic corporate name and likely have already reached peak success. I know that the store I was working at was losing money for several years. Final thoughts? Fuck kombucha, gluten-free bread, $2 for avocado, vegan donuts and all that 365 shit. From a loving former employee of less than a year, thanks for the memories and good riddance Whole Fucks.
06-17-2017 05:50 PM
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Sebastian Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Don't mistake contempt for fear.

---------------------------------------

Interesting. You prefer the opposite?
Sweat pants wearing, chubby, high school grad maybe, walmart shopper suburban residing republican girl?
(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 06:07 PM by Sebastian.)
06-17-2017 06:04 PM
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Valentine Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
Expect to see Amazon Go in your local Whole Foods soon.

06-17-2017 07:37 PM
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Foolsgo1d Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
^ It would seem infiniteJest and others like him were already using Amazon Go in Whole Foods. Laugh
06-17-2017 08:10 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 08:10 PM)Foolsgo1d Wrote:  ^ It would seem infiniteJest and others like him were already using Amazon Go in Whole Foods. Laugh

You're thinking of Amazon Gone Blush

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06-17-2017 08:15 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
This doesn't surprise me at all and was a smart purchase for Amazon. I also would not be surprised if they introduce some kind of delivery service in select markets to compete with Peapod. If they do that, Peapod is history given Amazon's logistical abilities.

My experience came from circumstance, as I lived walking distance from both WFM and Trader Joes. While I did most of my shopping at TJs, there were some advantages to WFM, particularly in the meats and fresh vegetable selections. WFM had it better hands down than TJs, even more so when it came to fresh fish. The wine selection at TJs is definitely for young people just getting out of the canned beer stage of life. WFM had it better there.

So my routine was to get the bulk of things at TJs and make a different trip over to yoga pants land at WFM for the critical items. Only once in a blue moon would I need to make a car trip to someplace like Target. Walmart wasn't close enough to the area to make sense.

I don't know why everyone thinks the 365 line of products is a rip off, they were usually a better deal than the equivalent at TJs or elsewhere, especially some of their vitamins and supplements. One of the frustrating things about TJs is you might find something you really like, then a month or so later it's discontinued. This didn't happen nearly as often at WFM, not sure why.

At the corporate level, as another poster mentioned, I've also heard Amazon is a terrible place to work and Bezos himself is a genuine asshole. They also don't pay all that much compared to similar positions elsewhere. That said, I know someone who got his ass chewed by Bezos himself, left the company a few months later for a gig at a well known app company in Silicon Valley, but then came back to Amazon less than one year later. They must be doing something right.

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(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 08:33 PM by SlickyBoy.)
06-17-2017 08:27 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 12:40 PM)puckerman Wrote:  Go for it.

I will say that their generic bottled water is excellent. It's also 79 cents for a liter and a half. That's the best deal anywhere.

You can't knock Whole Foods and their game. They know who they are selling to.

The type of people that shop there tend towards being either rich or just barely breaking even. They say they're concerned about fair trade, organic, and non-gmo laden foods which is true. But the unspoken benefit of shopping at Whole Foods is the cred. You get to be seen with shopping there and get to virtue signal to others about how you're doing your part to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Now that I think about it, there's a whole industry out there to cater to people who despise truly successful corporate empires. For example, I had a Costco membership recently and started to grow annoyed with the lack of variety they had. Being a longtime Sam's Club guy, I decided to use a one day coupon and see what it was like.

Sam's Club not only had more variety and better prices, the store was significantly easier to navigate with their aisles being properly labeled. We'll see if they're consistent in stocking products as I started to get annoyed with Costco running out of various items during the week.

It seems most people go to Costco because it's either the only warehouse store they've ever known or they're trying to actively avoid WalMart.

(06-17-2017 08:27 PM)SlickyBoy Wrote:  This doesn't surprise me at all and was a smart purchase for Amazon. I also would not be surprised if they introduce some kind of delivery service in select markets to compete with Peapod. If they do that, Peapod is history given Amazon's logistical abilities.

My experience came from circumstance, as I lived walking distance from both WFM and Trader Joes. While I did most of my shopping at TJs, there were some advantages to WFM, particularly in the meats and fresh vegetable selections. WFM had it better hands down than TJs, even more so when it came to fresh fish. The wine selection at TJs is definitely for young people just getting out of the canned beer stage of life. WFM had it better there.

So my routine was to get the bulk of things at TJs and make a different trip over to yoga pants land at WFM for the critical items. Only once in a blue moon would I need to make a car trip to someplace like Target. Walmart wasn't close enough to the area to make sense.

I don't know why everyone thinks the 365 line of products is a rip off, they were usually a better deal than the equivalent at TJs or elsewhere, especially some of their vitamins and supplements. One of the frustrating things about TJs is you might find something you really like, then a month or so later it's discontinued. This didn't happen nearly as often at WFM, not sure why.

At the corporate level, as another poster mentioned, I've also heard Amazon is a terrible place to work and Bezos himself is a genuine asshole. They also don't pay all that much compared to similar positions elsewhere. That said, I know someone who got his ass chewed by Bezos himself, left the company a few months later for a gig at a well known app company in Silicon Valley, but then came back to Amazon less than one year later. They must be doing something right.

Peapod eh? Sounds like you're in Stop and Shop land!

Really, at the end of the day TJs and Whole Foods doesn't hold a candle at all to Wegman's. If you have a Wegman's, you get the best of both worlds: organic, cheap, and you can still go and buy Oreos and processed Kraft goods if you want. If you're in our around Mass, check them out. I don't know if they've expanded to other New England states.
(This post was last modified: 06-17-2017 08:44 PM by The Beast1.)
06-17-2017 08:38 PM
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Post: #22
RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
You can't find real giardineira at whole foods or trader joe's, so I can't be too impressed with either.

I'll goto them on occasion but I've never liked being surrounded by SWPL herd mentality.
06-17-2017 09:54 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 08:38 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  Peapod eh? Sounds like you're in Stop and Shop land!

Really, at the end of the day TJs and Whole Foods doesn't hold a candle at all to Wegman's. If you have a Wegman's, you get the best of both worlds: organic, cheap, and you can still go and buy Oreos and processed Kraft goods if you want. If you're in our around Mass, check them out. I don't know if they've expanded to other New England states.

Stop and Shop land, a.k.a, Boston? Yeah I'm not there, but I know about Peapod from people who are - they say good things about it but I've never used any kind of food delivery service. Similar companies like that are scattered around the country and if Amazon gets involved, they're all history.

I agree, Wegmans is pretty amazing but also not everywhere unless you're in upstate NY.

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06-17-2017 10:33 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
There's a Wegmans opening down the street from me, glad to hear it's a good store.

I've always preferred Trader Joe's to Whole Foods just because it's cheaper. Once the Wegmans opens I'll be walking distance from that and a short drive from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
06-17-2017 11:39 PM
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RE: Amazon Buying Whole Foods (I'm a Past WFM Employee)
(06-17-2017 07:37 PM)Valentine Wrote:  Expect to see Amazon Go in your local Whole Foods soon.


Amazon might go and revolutionize the retail biz with this. It is a good thing to do with a higher-margin enterprise like Whole Foods.

They will certainly significantly cut down on employees and actually attempt to get rid of most cashiers. Maybe in the future you won't be able to enter some stores without swiping your card or phone on entry.
06-18-2017 03:29 AM
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