Thoughts & Essays

Virtual Shopping at Walmart

So, this video was making the rounds on Twitter this morning:

I’m not sure where exactly the video comes from, but it appears to be some kind of demonstration or concept art for virtual shopping at a Walmart.

My first thought is… why would I shop this way? It looks so janky and awkward. Like, why wouldn’t I hit their website or scroll through an app on my phone? I mean, it might be fun once or twice just for the novelty, but I feel like once the novelty wore off it would be very tedious.

I suppose there might be something to be said for the browsing sensation. One thing my boyfriend has mentioned a few times since we started having our groceries delivered is that he misses being able to wander through the store and find interesting new things. Maybe this would replace that?

Another thing I noticed was that about halfway through the video, their little “virtual assistance” person mentions that your oil change is done and like… am I meant to be doing this while I’m at their store? Like, where is this experience happening in the real world? Because I’d think I’d be doing this from home, but apparently my car is there getting an oil change? Am I supposed to be wearing a VR set in my car or in the auto shop waiting room? If I were there getting my oil changed, why wouldn’t I just be shopping in their store, live and in person?

Also, apparently your “smart refrigerator” will be talking to Walmart while you’re shopping because at one point the virtual assistant is all like “Your smart fridge says you already have milk, do you want to put that back?” and I’m like “Don’t police my milk-buying habits, Walmart.”

I don’t know. It just seems like a very awkward way of doing things. I don’t want my fridge tattletaling on me to Walmart. I don’t want some rando in the corner of my vision hassling me about oil changes and coupons and sales and crap. I don’t want to wear a VR headset in my car so I can act out shopping while people change my oil. I just want to sit quietly in front of my computer and pick out the things I need off their website, or, failing that, to walk unmolested through the store and grab what I need without being hassled while the oil change guys do their thing.

I’m old and the world changes fast and we don’t keep up well when we age so maybe this is the future of grocery shopping but like… I feel like we can do better, y’all.