The dreaded work birthday celebration — for a robot

Store robot getting a one-year celebration while being used as an alibi

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Jan 24 · 4 min read
Photo courtesy of Badger Technologies

orporate America (and Retail America) can already make life awkward by forcing coworkers to celebrate their frenemy coworkers’ birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers and last days. (OK, the last one probably is a celebratory event you’d be happy to go to.) But apparently retail stores have decided we need to make “I, Robot” come to life and be weirder than we already are. One store chain is now planning to celebrate robot birthdays.

Photo credit: Pexels

According to Business Insider, big-eyed robot Marty (who can be found at 172 Giant Food Stores and 325 Stop & Shop stores) has reached his one-year “birthday.” And the Stop & Shop stores plan on having a “birthday celebration” for it tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seriously. There will even be cake (that the robot can’t eat), activities (that the robot can’t participate in) and a full party for the 6'3 robot. It makes as much sense as taking your pregnant friend to a beer tasting.

In all fairness though, I’m not knocking technology. It has its productivity perks and reduces busy work for employees. As someone who has worked in retail for three years (cashier for two years at Walgreens and photo technician for almost a year at Walmart), I can understand the enthusiasm. But what I respect more than birthday parties for metal parts is robots who can potentially be used in the criminal justice system.

Oddly enough, Marty is also linked to a woman who was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Her alibi in a Stop & Shop location and taking a photograph with Marty will apparently be used, reports Business Insider. But the woman’s bigger problem may be that Marty is not designed to take videos of people, only still photographs of store floors. Marty’s goal is to clean up spills and store hazards. Although the robot can detect when people are around to avoid bumping into them, the store chain confirms that Marty is not a “crime fighter” and those big eyes serve absolutely no purpose. I must admit, I’m a wee bit disappointed.

Photo courtesy of Badger Technologies

At least when Rosey the Robot (from “The Jetsons”) didn’t like Mr. Spacely, she had the ability to throw him out of George Jetsons’ home. She could clean up spills, be a surveillance camera and kick out annoying bosses without breaking a sweat. And if you needed to know who was around, she could do that, too. (All jokes aside, I realize this is a very serious case and should be treated as such. If this woman is really innocent, hopefully their security cameras will confirm her location during this traumatic event.)

But it’s interesting to read news of store robots being used for real-life criminal investigations and celebrating birthdays at the same time. As much as I love technology, we’re clearly growing a wee bit too close to it. But honestly, who looks forward to going to work to hear “clean up on aisle 3” anyway?


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Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

15-year vegetarian journalist/editor; part-time dog walker and dog sitter; Toastmasters member and 5x officer; WERQ dance and yoga enthusiast; Shamontiel.com

Window Shopping

If you’re into retail and food news, business tips and Internet shopping, read on.

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