The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 08 December, 2021

Do Amazon Drivers Know What You Ordered

Paul Gonzalez
• Monday, 04 January, 2021
• 8 min read

While most deliveries make it to customers without issue, we are ready to support you in the event of an emergency involving Amazon Logistics and Amazon Flex delivery drivers. Report the incident to Amazon by calling 844-311-0406 to receive 24/7 immediate assistance.

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If no one is at the address when delivery is attempted, we will leave the package in a secure location. If no secure location is available, or the delivery requires someone to be present, Amazon will send an e-mail to the e-mail address on file.

For scheduled and signature deliveries, our drivers will place a call to the phone number you provided for your order, but will not attempt to deliver the package outside the time frame of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. unless they are able to reach you. You can visit Find a Missing Package That Shows As Delivered for more information.

If you checked these places, and you still can't locate your package, please contact us, and we'll be happy to look into it for you. Depending on the quality of Amazon ’s version, that knockoff could be good for consumers and bad for the merchant.

In addition to giving up some 40% of their revenues, third-parties cede to Amazon strategic assets that could endanger their survival. For example, Amazon ships the third party products in its own envelopes or boxes, highlights rival vendors on its site, and extracts extra fees for early reviews and dedicated account managers, noted the Times.

The company told the Times its current policy is intended to prevent “practices that harm customer trust.” According to the Journal, around 2010 Pirate’s owner Dale Thomas said that his company sold over $3.5 million worth of its Ravelli-brand camera tripods on Amazon.

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He ordered one of the Amazon tripods and found that it employed Pirate Trading’s design, had the same components, and used the same manufacturer, according to the Journal. Amazon set its price for the tripod clone below what Thomas paid his manufacturer to make Pirate’s version.

He decided to exit the business when he calculated that it would be less profitable for Pirate to pay its manufacturer to make its tripod than to buy Amazon ’s clone, repackage and resell it, according to the Journal. Amazon cited authenticity issues as the reason it stopped selling the Pirate Trading tripods that competed with Amazonas’s clones.

A case in point is Kylie Jenner who has turned her existing social media audiences into a “billion-dollar e-commerce businesses seemingly overnight.” Consumers are eager to pay for such brands as long as they confer the magic feeling of being linked to a celebrity. As the Times noted, in the recent past, a merchant operating on Shopify could pocket a $50 profit on a sweater it sold to consumers for $80.

Facebook also wiped out the profits for brands that could keep their customer acquisition costs under control. As the Times wrote, when such brands boosted their Facebook spending from $500 to $5,000, they lost money because the audience they were targeting remained about the same size.

What Amazon did to All birds makes it clear that it is not keen on allowing its most successful third-party merchants to survive. Amazon delights in using merchants as an R&D outlet that helps identify successful products that it can clone and sell at huge discounts.

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(Note: I’m donating my earnings to Geekier’s Geeks Give Back campaign to support the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship) To become a Flex driver for Amazon .com deliveries, you need to meet some basic requirements; a smartphone and a 4-door vehicle for starters.

Amazon also runs a background check and asks you to watch a series of instructional videos that are always accessible on the app. Once activated on Flex, you find work by checking on available “blocks” that Amazon offers, which frequently change and vary on time, pay, and pickup location.

For my first attempt, I chose a $60 three-hour shift from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on a Sunday evening, starting from the pickup center in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. After driving into the warehouse and parking, I found an Amazon rep who had a QR code I scanned with the app that checked me in.

The evening shift seemed to consist partly of packages that couldn’t be delivered by other drivers during the day. When I was ready to leave, the app automatically directed me to the first stop, as decided by Amazon ’s algorithms.

It seemed a little unreasonable for Amazon to expect a Flex driver to deliver this box, particularly to this specific home, without any help from a trolley or cart. Amazon asked a few survey questions at the end of the shift as a way for me to provide feedback.

The attendant told me that 15 packages per hour was the average workload, so I prepared myself for a full 3-hour shift. I had watched some how-to Amazon Flex videos on YouTube uploaded by other couriers and learned that some people strategically organized packages in their vehicle depending on address and drop-off order, to speed up the delivery process.

After scanning each package with my smartphone, I wasn’t quite sure how to position each box in my car to optimize for efficiency. I wish Amazon made this process more systemic, because I ended up spending a lot of time searching for the right package during my drive.

I also wondered if people thought I was a porch pirate, given my attire and how I was walking around carrying Amazon boxes. I forgot to scan one package at the outset, so I had to bring it back to the Amazon Flex pickup facility when my shift was over.

Amazon Flex, like other gig economy services such as Uber or Postmates, provides people with an easy way to make some cash. After subtracting costs of gas; parking/tolls; smartphone data usage; and wear and tear of your car, the pay seems to be a little more than minimum wage.

But being able to pick from plenty of shifts and make a quick buck is pretty nice, especially if you ’re trying to pay a bill or supplement your primary income. Fast-forward to today, though, and the company is not only selling more products on its site, but also guaranteeing speedy delivery to customers, in particular its valuable Prime members.

As it continues to make more first- and third-party products available on its site, many of which are eligible for 2-day shipping, Amazon is looking at new ways to manage and deliver the inventory. The tech giant still relies on USPS and UPS, but it also now uses its own trailer trucks and jumbo jets to deliver packages.

“Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibility and control over the last mile to shoppers’ doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandise in the outside sellers’ own facilities,” Bloomberg reported in October. Amazon ’s rising shipping costs and related initiatives to manage delivery logistics also demonstrate the larger shift toward online shopping.

Amazon Flex isn’t the right fit if you ’re looking for full-time work, but if you have some free time and don’t mind driving your own car for the job and using your own smartphone, it’s worth a look.

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