Would you pay for something if doing so was voluntary?

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 by User Not Found

That might sound like a trick question, but a new business in Manhattan, Drug Store, is willing to bet its customers will.

A case study on the power of today’s technology is unfolding before our eyes, according to The New York Times.

Here’s how it works: customers are expected to walk in to the store, which does not have a cashier or checkout counter, grab a “$10.83 activated-charcoal drink,” leave and then send a text to Dirty Lemon, the start-up that runs both an online store and the brick-and-mortar Drug Store. The company will respond with a text and a link to enter credit card information.

Per the New York Times, Dirty Lemon’s chief executive, Zak Normandin, said he was not worried the store’s “honor system” would encourage theft.

“I do think a majority of people would feel very guilty for continuing to steal,” he said in a recent interview at the store. And, when asked how the company would account for theft losses, he noted that the company would “write down any losses as sampling costs.”

If this sounds risky, it is. Especially when you consider the company is betting on brick-and-mortar retail in a time when many other brands are retreating from traditional stores in favor of online outlets or other types of buying experiences.

It also seems risky, to me at least, because the Drug Store system is relying on text messages, a relatively old “tech” in a world that is increasingly depending on innovation to go cashier-less. Take, for example, Amazon’s cashier-free stores or Zippin. That’s not to say it would be difficult to change the way customers pay at Drug Store in the future, maybe through an app or some other device.

And, thinking about the times I would have walked out of the store without my items had I not really needed them, e.g. when the line was too long, or the checkout was at the other end of the store, or my parking meter was expiring, etc., this grab-now-pay-later method does start to sound like something I could get behind. It’s easy… Pretty convenient… Maybe even the future of retail.

What do you think? Would you still pay for things if there was no cashier or camera watching? Would you expect other people to? Is this technology going the right direction, but too shortsighted? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter!


Leave a comment