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Why shopping is beginning to feel a lot like stealing

Retail has been under a big shift with the development of technology. So much so that it might feel like people are stealing.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News Modified: May 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm •  Published: May 14, 2014

Shoppers will soon be leaving stores without paying. But they won’t be stealing.

The Atlantic’s John Tierney wrote last week that the future of retail is investing in a checkout system, where users can pay for things online, come into the store and leave with their purchase.

“People have said when checkout is working really well, it will feel like stealing,” said Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, to the Atlantic. “You grab a pair of shoes and you just walk out.”

This trend isn’t limited to just retail stores, either. Tierney wrote that retail stores are using iPads and tablets instead of checkbooks, which allows users to pay their bill and tip without leaving anything concrete on the table.

“In the last century, the big change in retail checkout came by having the customer do more of the work,” Tierney wrote. “More recently, efficiencies have built on that model of having the customer do more of the work, now augmented by technology.”

Among the retail stores beginning this trend is Sears, which in February announced it would start a process where customers could shop online and pickup their product at the stores, wrote Michael DeGroote in February. Wal-Mart may also make the move, DeGroote reported.

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