Field of Science

Darn You, Amazon

For a while now, my department has had problems with packages going missing. A suspiciously large number of them were sent by Amazon. A couple weeks ago, our building manager started to get suspicious. He emailed the department:
Today I received what is now the third complaint about problems with shipping of products at Amazon. I don't know which courier they were using, but the packages were left on the [unmanned] security desk in the 1st floor lobby ... In another recent case, the packages were dumped in front of the Center Office door while I was out. Interestingly, tracking showed that they were signed for me at a time that I was attending a meeting ... it's happened a few times. Usually the packages have simply been mis-delivered ... and turn up about a week later.
Figure 1. A prototypical, over-packaged Amazon box.

Some days later, he followed up with more information. Another department denizen noted that Amazon has started using various different couriers. She wrote "The other day I ordered 2 books and one came via FedEx and one came via UPS." The building manager noted that FedEx has started outsourcing delivery to UPS. He continued:
What's odd is that we get shipments via UPS and FedEx all the time. Usually, it's the same drivers ... We know some of them by name.
He concluded that perhaps Amazon (and UPS and FedEx) were starting to use a variety of subcontractors who don't understand how to deliver packages at large buildings (e.g., you can't just leave them in a random corner of the lobby).

Yesterday, we got a follow-up on the story. The building manager ordered a package from Amazon to see what would happen. The building manager was on his way to lunch when he spotted a van marked "package delivery" and an un-uniformed courier. The courier was leaving the building sans package, so the building manager knew the package was incorrectly delivered (he obviously hadn't signed for it)!. He tried to explain to the courier building package policies but
He was very polite, but did not speak much English, so I'm not sure just how much he took away from our little chat.
The building manager -- tired of dealing with lost and mis-delivered packages -- is on a mission to get someone from Amazon to care:
Calling them on the phone was unsatisfactory. Everyone in any position of authority is thoroughly insulated from public accountability.
Perhaps. But that's why blogs exist. Seriously, Amazon, do something about this.

photo: acordova

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