I’m Sure This Stop & Shop Scene Is Just A Post-Strike Coincidence

After all, as the sign says, human beings will still do the clean-up:

(Photos/Mark Mathias)

What could possibly go wrong?

32 responses to “I’m Sure This Stop & Shop Scene Is Just A Post-Strike Coincidence

  1. Polly Temple


  2. Susan Huppi

    Hmmmm like Hal in 2001…..??

  3. Alexis Donnerstag

    My toddler loves that thing. Throughout our entire shopping trip I listen to “find robot” “say hi to robot”.

  4. Dick Lowenstein

    Should we start using human-manned checkout stations, instead of scanning guns and automated checkout stands?

    • I’d been using the self-service checkout stands for years, because I found them to be quicker. But since the strike, I use the “human-manned” ones to try to save jobs. I don’t think the robot can eliminate any jobs, because they still need humans to wipe up spills and get rid of other “potential hazards.”

    • William Strittmatter

      If the human-manned checkout station were even half as fast as the self serve machines, it might be worth the hassle. However, I seldom find that to be the case. Not to mention DIY means the rolls end up on top of the bag, not the bottom.

  5. I videoed this one who was stopped by a small piece of corn husk. What you see lasted about 5 minutes, as all the humans seemed to ignore its call for “Caution” and “Faîtes Attention” in French and sending automated messages to the intercom.
    After this, I went over and kicked the husk aside. Marty continued to flash and warn for another minute, then suddenly spun around and resumed its patrolling duties.

    • That is hilarious. I wonder what happens when Marty encounters a toddler!

      • Wendy Cusick

        Dan, it started flashing yellow and screaming “I’ve encountered a ‘hostile environment’

    • William Strittmatter

      Good to know the human employees were as responsive as ever. Or were they simply rebelling against instructions from a machine?

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      I took a video of it last week, totally getting in people’s way and blocking the aisles. Not only was it blocking it, but it just stopped in the worst possible location. This does NOT seem ready for prime time. I think it’s more of a message, a shot over the bow, to keep the working class in line.

  6. Sharon Paulsen

    Funny, but the whole time, I kept thinking these were some kind of “grocery Rumbas”, cleaning up the floors!

    There haven’t been any signs like that on these devices at the store I use (Southbury, CT).

    They do seem to “stall” quite a bit. I ran my cart into one while turning a corner. Didn’t seem to “phase” it one bit.

    Kinda creepy, actually.

    Might be better served to spy on would-be shoplifters? 😂

    • Wendy Cusick

      You had a better encounter than I did. It stopped started flashing yellow and screaming ‘i’ve encountered a hostile environment’…. 🤣🤣🤣

      • Sharon Paulsen

        OMG, that’s so crazy!

        Welcome to the new “AI” world … ugh!

  7. Creepy!

  8. Wendy Cusick

    I met ‘Marty’ in the Norwalk Main Ave store. I decided to take pictures and video to show my mother.
    As I let Marty pass me, I turned to follow it and go back to my carriage. Marty stopped short and started flashing yellow and screaming repeatedly “Hostile Environment’!
    I’m thinking you have got to be kidding me! So apparently humans, paying customers, are hostile. Great…
    It startled a parent with her 2 kids with this thing flashing and screaming. She says to me “what is THAT!?!” Let me introduce you to Marty.
    It finally settled down and continued on it journey.
    I think Marty was malfunctioning because seconds later the store manager comes running pass me to catch the robot. It blasts everything over the intercom and technically was in the wrong isle too. I continued shopping and met Marty again this time without a ‘screaming’ incident.
    My mother told a friend what it did when I followed it. She burst out laughing that the robot reacted like it did.
    Stop and Shop and the manufacturer might want to reprogram and use a different term than ‘hostile environment’.

  9. Overnight they are being trained to do the inventory by filming the shelves. – Chris Woods

  10. Tony Giunta

    Does it take videos of the customers too?

  11. Richard Long

    This has nothing to do with the strike; these robots have been in many stores for months now. However, some of the striking employees were worried that eventually these robots would evolve into a cleaning role which would reduce jobs.

  12. Danger Will Robinson!
    In the immortal words of Dr. Smith:
    It’s a bubble headed booby!

  13. M. Sullivan

    AHOLD doesn’t have to pay a robot.🙄

  14. Richard Fogel

    Its for insurances purposes. It shows the store does its best to limit slip and falls.

  15. Elaine Marino

    According to a GIANT Food Store employee in Pennsylvania, “Marty” also scans the shelves to report depleted inventories, and scans unit price tags to reconcile the price on the shelf to the price that the register reflects for the product. Marty gives new meaning to the term “Big Brother is Watching.”

  16. This is a complete waste of money. The employees would benefit from the money foolishly spent on a robot. I know my local store is always clean and hazard free. This thing is annoying and scares small children.

  17. Mike MacDonald

    It’s probably just a matter of time until all the robots and artificial intelligence decide to turn against us.

  18. Wendy Cusick

    My mother looked up ‘Marty’ online as I told her the 06880 blog readers found Marty.
    She says the robot has 8 cameras and scans shelves.
    It patrols to let the Porter staff know where something needs to be cleaned. An employee still needs to come with a mop and broom to clean up the spill and glass etc

  19. Albert Lee

    Stop & Shop started rolling these out across Boston area months before the strike, and yes, all of them are fitted with googly eyes which unintentionally makes them creepier.

  20. Joshua Stein

    I saw these in other Stop and Shops last year. Originally I read an article (can’t remember where) that said these were also being used to monitor customers and for loss prevention. It seems that stop and shop has found some graceful language to put on the sign but I question whether they are really being used to follow customers, take pictures, video, etc. I had one follow me around for quite some time last year.

  21. This thing resides somewhere between funny and scary. One thing I’m reasonably sure about is that “reporting spills” is not the primary role of our new best friend Marty. I’m guessing it’s an experimental prototype for machines being considered for a variety of functions in the future.

    I don’t consider myself a Luddite by any means, but I am becoming alarmed by the growing omnipresence of AI in our society. And what’s most upsetting is to realize it’s only getting started. Marty’s going to have a million children.

  22. Dermot Meuchner

    A Brave New World. Yeah , what a country.