Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
My wife and I were hungry.
We weren't going to be tempted by one of the 4,013 (approximately) fast-food joints that seem to pepper Chicago.
We were on our way to the Adler Planetarium after a hard week's work -- staring at stars can be relaxing -- and we wanted something at least vaguely healthy.
It was then that we saw a curious thing. An Amazon Go store lurking on the south side of the river, beside an office building and a parking lot.
Neither of us had experienced this very modern entity before.
Should you have not been in Prime condition over the last year, Amazon Go is the company's store without a human or a checkout, where cameras snoop on your every itch, scratch and purchase and allow you to take what you want and leave without so much as a nod to a human.
All you do is open your Amazon app, go to the Go tab at the top and scan yourself in through a turnstile, as if on the subway.
Then you waft around, pick up whatever you want, slip it all in a brown paper bag and go.
Yes, you don't even have to scan your way out.
We wafted our way around the store, picked up some water, a couple of sandwiches and, quite naturally, plenty of chocolate.
Yes, it was creepy how many scanning devices there appeared to be on the ceiling.
Especially as Amazon's creepiness has expanded exponentially with its forays into facial recognition and its splendidly fear-inciting Ring magic doorbells.
Moreover, after Amazon's recent kerfuffle with its Echo -- in which it was revealed that some employees actually listen in to your conversations with Alexa at home -- I couldn't help wondering whether the Amazon Go snooping stooped to listening in on the Jeff Bezos jokes I told my wife while in the store.
But it was only when we briefly sat down with our sandwiches that I realized one of the biggest, creepiest joys of this Go concept.
It was one I hadn't seen mentioned: you have no idea how much you've spent.
Without a checkout of any kind, you're lured into taking and not counting the cost.
You're like a child in a candy store, abandoned by their parent and left to roam, raid and run on out.
It's a charming psychological maneuver.
You're in a hurry anyway, you satisfy your needs and you get on with your life.
Was the total $15 or $20? Could it have been $25?
It doesn't matter.
Your haste is Amazon's opportunity for a little more margin.
In my case, the receipt for what we'd spent didn't arrive in my inbox until at least 30 minutes after we'd left.
Moreover, it only showed the total, not the itemized elements. It did, however, tell me we'd been in the store for 5 minutes and 38 seconds.
To get the more detailed analysis, you had to go back to the app and check. And who's going to do that?
They talk these days about contactless payments. This Go store breaks the contact between my rational mind and my everyday experience in a supermarket.
Normally, when I get to the checkout, I can see how much I've spent.
With Go, I don't think about how much I'm spending and perhaps never will.
The convenience outweighs the cost so much that you never think about the cost at all.
Honestly, I can't even remember if I saw any prices.
How clever is that?
And what a dreadful portent of the future.