Pepper the robot will be helping out shoppers at two Bay Area shopping centers this holiday

It can be tough finding seasonal help. So naturally Westfield has started looking to robots for help staffing its shopping centers. Starting today, the Westfield San Francisco Centre and Westfield Valley Fair in the Silicon Valley will be employing Pepper robots to help improve the holiday shopping experience.

At first Softbank’s friendly humanoid robot will mostly be there for show. Through the end of the month, it will be able to say “hello” in a half-dozen languages, play a game and take a selfie with shoppers – and then it will ask them to take a short survey. Not exactly streamlining the holiday shopping experience.

According to Softbank,

This survey is a key feature of the overall Pepper pilot, which Westfield will be able to use to help inform and improve the overall shopping experience.

Starting in December, however, Pepper will be taking precious jobs away from the “you are here” maps, using Westfield’s navigation API to help direct shoppers to stores and restaurants on the premises. The Westfield model is part of a larger seasonal rollout for Softbank that will also find Pepper showing up in smaller pop up shops over the next couple of months.