Following its buyout by Family Mart, Japanese convenience store am/pm is continuing to put entire shops inside vending machines. CScout reports that am/pm has 520 locations already, elimating the need for any human interaction at all when shopping here.
The outlets, made by vending machine maker Hachiyoh, can hold an impressive 150 items which can be customized. Called ‘Automatic Super Delice’, the cleverest bit is that the machines are connected wirelessly to the company’s head office so they can check sell-by dates of fresh items to halt any out-of-date products being bought.
The machines are being placed primarily at offices and factories to satisfy workers late in the night, but schools, hospitals, leisure centres and apartment blocks are also now following the trend.
This got us thinking though. With coin-operated laundromats, car parks and tanning salons springing up around the country, and now a device to pour the perfect beer too, how long do Japan’s service staff have left in a country so obsessed with automation? You can even get your sushi these days without having to talk to chefs or staff.
The need for shop assistants is fast diminishing as Japan seemingly aims for a fully automated — and chit-chat redudant — society.