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News Roundup: A $100,000 Bread Robot

September 27, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2020

Even Amazon Knows Cash is King

That’s why they keep expanding their efforts to allow people to pay in cash for online orders. The program, called Amazon PayCode, is offered in partnership with Western Union. The company, an aggressive advocate for a cashless future, has been facing pushback from customers and community leaders who worry that “communities of color are particularly affected” by the rush to cashless.

This is actually the third tweak Amazon has made to try and pick up more cash business. In addition to PayCode, a separate program called Amazon Cash also allows online purchases with no card. And the company’s, much-touted Amazon Go stores? They have backed down from their initial cashless model and now accept currency at many locations.

Elderly Left Behind by the Move to Cashless

A new report warns that Sweden demonstrates the damages of “sleepwalking” into a cashless future. The report highlights that the costs to the elderly are significant and caution that: “millions could be left without financial inclusion, facing heightened risk of isolation, exploitation, debt and rising costs.”

The report’s conclusion: we have to treat cash as “key part of national infrastructure,” not just something for the free market to decide. That means the government taking steps to ensure that the elderly and others with less banking access can still use their hard-earned dollars.

Want Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack? All It Takes is Your Biometric Data

Gone are the days of the hawker in the stands – at least for the Mets. Their new concession stand is partnered with CLEAR, a biometric identity company to allow you to buy a beer and snacks with just your fingerprint. The downside? You have to belong to CLEAR which requires a complete set of your biometric data, your social security number and a background check.

The Sacramento Kings are going a different route, promoting a new partnership with Zippin which touts the ability to “walk in, grab a beer, and walk out in under 30 seconds.” Less clear in their story is how you make sure that your kids aren’t the ones grabbing the beer.

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Number of the Week: 100 Years

That’s how long we all have before robots send every American worker on a permanent vacation. The estimate by Forrester Research also says that roughly ten percent of American workers will lose their job this year, and then that percentage will continue building until we all end up with nothing to do but circle the sun.

Any upcoming stories about the impact of automation on the retail industry and the economy?

If you’re interested in speaking with UFCW, email awhite@www.ufcw.org for a quote, statistics, or interviews with workers in retail and other sectors of the economy.

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