Walgreens customer issues warning after encountering new refrigerators that scan

@magasassy/TikTok Tada Images/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘No chip for me’: Walgreens customer issues warning after encountering new refrigerators that scan

'Watch your money, watch your hand.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Apr 1, 2024   Updated on Apr 3, 2024, 9:46 am CDT

A woman has sparked a discussion online after sharing her conspiracy theory that Walgreens is plotting to get people to put computer chips in their bodies. Turns out there’s an explanation.

In the viral video, Shannon Lamendola (@magasassy) shows viewers the futuristic screens that have been popping up at local Walgreens since 2017.

The screens are located in the refrigerated aisle, where you can typically find beverages like bottled water, soda, energy drinks, and frozen food items like ice cream. While these large fridges usually have big glass doors so you can see what’s in stock, the updated screens remove this visibility.

Instead, the digitized doors have screens with pictures of the products showing what’s inside and the price of each item. If something isn’t in stock, it’ll be greyed out.

In the video, the screens are quite opaque, so you can only see what’s on the screens, not the actual items behind the doors.

As she walks down the aisle, Lamendola notices a small microphone button on the side of the fridge door. When she waves her hand in front, a small black screen slides out saying, “Voice assistant coming soon.”

“So what do you think this means for us as people of the United States of America?” Lamendola asks.

While the screens are meant to be more energy efficient, help stores manage inventory, and be more accessible for people with eyesight limitations, it’s not all rosy, according to a Slate article.

On the scarier “they’re watching us” side, some of these screens literally profile customers with their sensors and cameras. Not only can it sense age and gender, but it can follow your gaze to see what items you’re looking at to serve you up ads or otherwise use the data to get you to buy, as the Atlantic has previously reported.

But as Walgreens tells the Daily Dot in a statement about these screens: “The technology does not collect any biometric data or any information that is used or could be used to identify consumers. Instead, the technology uses identity-blind motion sensors that enable the merchandising functionality of the screen. Cooler Screen doors are internet-connected screens designed to play ads and show images of the products on the cooler shelves behind them.”

“Watch your money, watch your hand. Because pretty soon they’re gonna make us chip it, that’s all,” Lamendola says, concluding the video.

Despite Lamendola’s theory that the screens signify the start of a generation of microchipped humans, her correlation isn’t backed by any evidence. It’s more likely that the voice assistant is an accessibility feature.


♬ original sound – MAGASASSY

Most commenters seemed to agree that the Walgreens refrigerated-screen-door-to-chip-in-your-brain pipeline was ludicrous, and they gave their own explanations about the screens.

“Energy savings. make selection before opening door,” the top comment read.

“Temperature dropped on the old ones fast because people would leave doors open on cracked. These are used to keep them closed the majority of the time,” a commenter wrote.

“It means that the consumer is going to pay for all that technology,” a person said.

Either way, the screens won’t be an issue for much longer. Walgreens tells the Daily Dot it’s terminated their contract.

Fewer than a third of the agreed-upon doors were even installed. Now, the company Cooler Screens is suing for breach of contract and to prevent Walgreens from removing the doors that are already in place, Retail Touchpoints reported.

“Walgreens always strives to provide the best customer experience, and we terminated our contract with Cooler Screens in 2023 due to their failure to meet contractual obligations resulting in poor customer experience,” a Walgreens spokesperson told the Daily Dot via email.

The Daily Dot reached out to Lamendola via Instagram direct message.

Correction: A previous version of this story misattributed a quote to Rosalind Brewer, who stepped down as CEO of Walgreens in September. This story has also been updated with context from a Walgreens spokesperson about what, specifically, these particular electronic screens do.

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2024, 9:00 pm CDT