The only thing more awful than having to go to a home improvement store and dealing with an uncaring, unqualified sales staff is going to a home improvement store with a robot sales staff. But Lowe’s thinks it’s a great idea, which is why they’ve introduced OSHbot, a multilingual, creepy-as-hell robot that is programmed to help you find what you’re looking for quickly and easily.
“We believed that in the near future — in the next five years, 10 years — someone was going to come out with a retail operational robot and that was going to change retail,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Lab. “So we figured, why don’t we do it?” Exactly. When you just know a competing company is going to implement a wholly terrible idea, why not beat them to the punch? Crappy innovation is still innovation, right?
Last night on Last Week Tonight on HBO, John Oliver expressed why he thought the Lowe’s OSHbot is a horrendous idea. And it all comes down to the need for human interaction— but not the warm and cuddly kind. Oliver is talking about the type of human
interaction intervention that prevents couples from imploding under the strain of visiting Lowe’s. “Sales associates at home improvement stores are not there to help people find things. They’re there to stop couples from tearing each other apart,” Oliver says, adding, “Lowe’s is like a swingers party or a couples’ brunch— no one is leaving on speaking terms.”
To further drive his point, Oliver submitted his own commercial for Home Depot, Lowe’s biggest rival. It stars Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman, Archer and Bob’s Burgers star H. Jon Benjamin and Sarah Baker (Tammy, The Campaign). It’s hilarious and you should watch it.