IT’S NOT ROBOT CASHIERS, but it’s a start: In April, Nordstrom equipped employees at its Seattle and Bellevue locations with iPod Touches that can scan merchandise and complete sales anywhere in the store. By July, the store will have booted up at least 5,000 “mobile checkout” devices across the country, all in the name of serving customers—like the frantic shopper who was late for an interview this spring and paid for a suit in front of the mirror at the downtown Seattle store while a tailor made alterations.

Neat, but isn’t handing an iPod to a wage slave an invitation to slack off? A Nordstrom spokesperson practically choked before regaining his composure long enough to offer this succinct reply: “Uh, no.”

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