Home improvement store Lowe’s is employing human-sized robot shopping assistants this holiday season, which can respond to customers’ questions, scan products using a 3D camera and help them find items in-store. Predictably, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver is not so convinced.
Here’s one of the robots in action:
In his takedown of the idea on the show Sunday night, Oliver played Lowe’s promotional video for the new “OSHbots.”
But it all got too much when one “customer” proclaimed he liked the robots so much “we could be considered friends.”
Oliver retorted: “The sentence ‘the customer service robot at Lowe’s is my friend’ may be the single saddest sentiment even spoken out loud.”
Sales assistants in home improvement stores aren’t stationed there to help people find things, Oliver argues. No, they’re there to “stop couples from tearing each other apart.”
Home improvement stores are “a lethal combination of everything that can ruin a relationship: spending money, reconciling tastes, long-term planning and fluorescent lighting,” Oliver joked.
He then went on to introduce a dummy ad for rival Home Depot, spelling out exactly how a home improvement store should market their helpful sales assistants: basically as marriage guidance counsellors that interject arguments with suggestions on patio furniture or bamboo flooring.
Here’s the full rant. The Home Depot ad, starring Nick Offerman, H. Jon Benjamin and Sarah Baker, starts around the 2:15 mark:
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