That's not good!
Walgreens' experimental use of ad-ridden refrigerator screens — you know, the digital screens that, between advertisements, digitally show you whether there's any Diet Coke left in the case, as opposed to the conventional clear refrigerator door, which allows you to simply see the Diet Coke stock for yourself — has disintegrated into chaos.
The maker of the tech, dubbed Cooler Screens, sued Walgreens back in June over an alleged breach of contract; according to Cooler Screens, as Winsight Grocery Business reported at the time, Walgreens committed to a national rollout of the roided-out door replacements before ending its contract ahead of schedule. Walgreens has defended its decision to terminate the deal, and according to new reporting from The Wall Street Journal, the two entities are now headed to court, with court documents filed on behalf of the pharmacy alleging that Cooler Screens' technology didn't really work — and even, on occasion, caught fire. Oops!
Per the WSJ, the court documents detail a number of alleged technical failures of the screens, including failures to show the right products, correct prices, or accurate out-of-stock displays. The screens were also said to sometimes go "dark," obstructing customers' views completely.
The most damning accusation, however, is the claim that some Cooler Screens doors "even sparked and caught fire," as the WSJ report reads. That's pretty concerning, and we're sure the ad revenue that may have been gleaned from Cooler Screens' disorienting displays wasn't quite worth the damage to people, property, and stock that any screen-induced fires might potentially cause.
Cooler Screens, however, has argued that the fires and other failures were the result of Walgreens' own "outdated and poorly maintained electrical system," as the tech venture told Insider in a statement. Also speaking to Insider, Cooler Screens alleged that Walgreens' recently-departed former CEO Roz Brewer, who left the company in September, "simply didn't like the appearance of the doors," and "when she realized that her opinion on how the doors looked was not enough to get out of the contract Walgreens had entered into with Cooler Screens, she and her team began to fabricate excuses."
It's also worth noting that the lawsuit is a bit of a messy family drama as well, considering that one of Cooler Screens' cofounders, Gregory Wasson, formerly held the chief executive role at — surprise! — Walgreens.
In any case, if you find yourself near a Cooler Screen anytime soon, be wary of any stray sparks.
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