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9.29.20
Coworker Concerns

Walmart Employees Hate Their New Robot Coworkers

June 7th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
Walmart/Victor Tangermann

Disruption

Walmart executives love to boast about the robotic workers the retailer is deploying in its stores. But conversations with employees reveal a less optimistic story.

Employees told The Washington Post that they — and their customers — generally feel uneasy and aren’t sure how to act around the robots, which they say are glitchy. Their stories reveal how the increasing workplace automation, which executives insist will free workers from drudgery so they can do more meaningful tasks, may not go as planned.

Workplace Tension

Walmart has started to use robots that can unload trucks, scan shelves for missing or mislabeled products, and clean floors. But employees have had to show them the ropes and correct their errors — which, according to WaPo, can feel like training your own replacements.

“The monotony in the store has increased a ton since we’ve gotten these robots,” Walmart employee Evan Tanner told WaPo. “It’s insane.”

Grim Sweeper

Meanwhile, customers find the robots creepy — the six-foot-tall robot that scans for missing items — has snuck up behind customers on its way down the aisle and startled them.

Other customers, according to WaPo, like to kick and hit the robots as they pass.

READ MORE: As Walmart turns to robots, it’s the human workers who feel like machines [The Washington Post]

More on Walmart: Walmart Is About to Deploy Hundreds of Robot Janitors