Friday, March 11, 2016

Re: delivery

A couple of weeks back, I whined a bit elsewhere about changes to Amazon's delivery service.

As I discovered as a result of my experience, Amazon is vertically integrating by starting its own delivery service. In theory, it's cheaper to run your own delivery service in some areas than to keep shelling out to UPS, FedEx and the USPS.

After the second time my package was left in the mud behind a very small bush, with water seeping through the cardboard packaging, my (second) contact with customer service assured me they would put the packages where they have always been placed: on the sidewalk in front of the door.

I happened to be home yesterday when the doorbell rang. UPS, especially, is infamous for a ring-and-drop on deliveries, but the bell rang a second time, so I went to answer the door.

Just in time - I caught a delivery person from Amazon turning away from the door. A short conversation revealed the fact that if the door had not been answered, the delivery person would not leave the package, but take it back to attempt redelivery later.

She said she is most likely going to be my regular delivery person; I rather firmly reiterated my wish to have the packages left on the sidewalk in front of the door.

If Amazon receives a high number of complaints - legitimate or otherwise - about missing packages, I can understand their reluctance to leave things in plain sight. On the other hand, when a customer has paid for Prime delivery, it is counterproductive to insist that someone be home to accept delivery, unless it is a high value package ($25 of contact lens solution does not qualify as "high value").

A certain amount of growing pains are to be expected as Amazon expands this service. Still, I'm not enamored of their spreading the pain, so to speak. We'll see what happens with the next package, ordered just before the doorbell rang yesterday. I checked the tracking information; they now offer a chance to specify where to leave the package. "Front porch" was the closest I could get.

Ordering via Amazon is a convenience I've loved, in spite of the slightly higher prices. So much easier to click a few times than to run to various stores several times a month. I am perfectly willing to pay for convenience with my money, but this paying for it with my time and trouble (wet deliveries, having to arrange for redelivery, general hassle) may well be the end of things.

Amazon, get your act together.

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