I recently wrote that automation is targeting the most plentiful
type of job in America: drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles. Before the day was done I posted an update – Amazon is beta-testing a store with no cashiers – the second largest job. Now I see that Amazon is aiming to make retail clothing stores obsolete. Order what you want in a few sizes, received them to try at home, and return what doesn’t fit.
Big names are already signed up including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Hugo Boss amongst others. The real kicker is the discount gamification/nudge mechanic – it’s beautiful. Every Prime Wardrobe order is granted 20% off should he or she keep five or more items but only keep three or four items and that halves to a 10% discount. Nice touch, Amazon. forbes
Of course, you’ll miss the social aspect – you’re not out with your friends or even around other people. Some stores may be able to hang on by reducing their square footage. Imagine displays of clothing with samples of the fabrics and finishes available. Once you know your size (fashion industry – you’ve got to do something about standard sizes) you and your friends can still go out for the day to shop, lunch, and enjoy yourselves. No hassles with crowds or wriggling into clothes in those little rooms with fisheye mirrors so clerks can watch you. You’ll save a lot of time – but will that matter?
Because chances are you’ll be one of those people with no job filling your days.
Which makes me wonder… how’s anyone going to afford to shop at all?
Our jobs structure our lives as well as provide money. As I’ve asked before, what will bring us satisfaction, freedom, and a sense of community in the post-work era? I hope we’ll have time to worry about such lovely problems. Is utopia coming? Or a dystopia where most people barely survive in squalid conditions while a fortunate few find work and prosperity?
In my new story, the Mars colony has settled into a post-work society where robots provide the necessities of life. There’s both utopia and dystopia. Catch up now starting with Glory on Mars – the first settlers arrive on Mars in our near-future. Something is terribly wrong in the colony – settlers are dying. Emma takes the one-way trip hoping to explore and build a new home. She may live to regret her decision, if she survives.
Hopefully my new book will be out fall of 2017. Join my readers’ club to stay in touch and receive occasional flash fiction stories.