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Watch Amazon's Store of the Future Previewed in This 2006 Commercial (Video)

An IBM commercial from 2006 looks a lot like Amazon's recent patent application.

Patryk Kosmider / Shutterstock
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Amazon’s store of the future actually comes from the past.

Earlier this week, I reported on a patent application Amazon filed recently that described a store of the future in which shoppers can walk out of a store without paying a cashier, and still get automatically charged for the right stuff. The patent application seemed like an extra juicy find because two of the three inventors have close relationships with CEO Jeff Bezos and are said to be working on a top-secret project. To me, that was a signal that Amazon might seriously be working on the store of the future described in the patent, though Amazon hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

In the day since the piece was published, though, I’ve had a few people reach out to tell me that the system of cameras, sensors and RFID readers described in the application is not a new idea and has been talked about in some variation for more than a decade. One reader even pointed me to the YouTube video below which shows a 2006 commercial from IBM featuring a checkout process that sounds an awful lot like what Amazon described. To my knowledge, no mainstream retail chain in the U.S. has rolled out anything like what you see below. The reasons for that, I’m told, range from cost, to who will pay for what, to the tech not necessarily being up to snuff.

If Amazon follows through on the patent application, though, what you see below could someday be a reality. Creepy overcoat not included.

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