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Amazon Hub (amazon.com)
431 points by danial on July 27, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 332 comments

Oh wow, I guess the company at my old Apt complex got bought out. Those racks are the exact same.

Still, those were terrible ideas. FedEx, USPS, and UPS all just dropped the boxes off on our door. The others made us use those machines. It wasn't too bad to go down and get the packages. Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back up to get it to get the unlock codes off of your email. Then you had to be certain that your email would not send the code email into spam, so that sucked.

But if you were out of town or on vacation or just stressed from work or had a spam email mis-identification then it was a spawn worse than Satan. The system started to charge you, like 5$/day or something, for non-picked-up packages after like day 3. Guess who got a nasty surcharge after spending a month away for work and no email to tell me that things would get surcharged? Yeah, 150$ for some random thing my sister sent me unannounced was not a lot of fun.

And no, the apt complex signed onto this AFTER we moved in and with no notice on the lease or an update to us. I did get the complex to pay that crazy fee after storming in one morning and yelling a lot. Idiots.

As long as there is no charge for packages that don't get picked up and no 'max time' it can sit in a robo-bin, these things work great. If there is any charge at all, in any way whatsoever, avoid them like the plague, they are horrible.

It serves a real beneficial purpose for those of us who have missed packages while at work and had to drive 20min in terrible traffic to the nearest FedEx/UPS/etc retail outlet - at 6pm when everyone else got off work with the same idea. Then wait 20min in line for the pleasure of dealing with an annoyed retail lady who is short with you.

I'd much prefer having a machine on my property as a backup if I'm not home!

Your inconvenience of forgetting your wallet seems minor by comparison when you can just go upstairs, imagine forgetting it after driving and waiting in line... that really is the only alternative isn't it besides the old school "dumb" parcel boxes?

Your inconvenience of not knowing it was there and getting charged was the fault of your landlord, who rightfully paid the fee for you. It wasn't the fault of the box design per-se - but obviously something to be aware of.*

Your inconvenience of spam filtering is probably less likely with an amazon based email system.

I'm happy to see these becoming a widespread thing and being pushed to residential property owners. It even seems superior to the typical package boxes in most new apartment buildings or suburbs as it comes with email/mobile notifications (typical package tracking is far too often less than accurate)!

The only thing better than a machine here is a human concierge who signs for them and calls you if you don't pick it up with your mail. They're paid to be nice to you and are rarely busy.

* Maybe Amazon should make sure to tell new owners to thoroughly notify every tenant before using it - with signs saying it will be installed in x weeks and letters left on your door.

I'm living in Greece right now and I've been shopping online a bit more the past couple of months. I've been shopping online since 2006 and I guess at some point I forgot to notice how shit of an experience it is.

So in the past couple of months, I have RMA'd two items, returned one due to bad fulfillment, returned one more because I didn't like what I bought (and that got lost). Of all the items I ordered, one got lost or stolen, two more I had to pick up at the local PO which cost me a total of ~20USD in taxi fares (and several hours wasted waiting in line), one I had to pick up in the central depot which cost me 50USD in taxi fares just for that day (and again, several hours wasted).

Only one of those packages had free delivery because they all have to hop between the US, China, Denmark, Germany and who knows where else. (The only one I got free delivery on was a CODE keyboard, which costs $250 in Europe, vs. $130 in USA). So I'm actually paying for this ostensibly terrible service.

So I'm looking at the hub and I just think "Wow, that solves a lot of problems outside the US".

And it's US only.

Of course it is.

> And it's US only.

There are already competitors operating here in Canada doing this stuff fortunately. I believe Amazon acquired one of them which turned into this [nm, see edit]. That should hopefully pressure Amazon to expand and this will offer tons of free advertising for those smaller companies competing.

Edit: turns out it was Buffer Box and they were acquired by Google and (of course) shut down https://www.wikiwand.com/en/BufferBox

InPost is another one with boxes all over Europe. They recently shut down in my city though :/ (Toronto). But otherwise it looks pretty like they have extensive deployment: https://inpost24.com/

Germany has DHL Packstation: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Packstation

Also two startups: https://wefunder.com/swapbox and http://www.ucella.com/

The Packstation of DHL is great. What also DP/DHL did, is to make every little shop a micro-postoffice. Probably gave them some incentives, but it works great if you are not at home, you can be sure your package is at the store max 5 mins from you

Australia has Parcel Lockers run by the post office for free - they are pretty good https://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/parcel-collection-delive...

But only for packages which are delivered through AusPost. Which if you buy stuff internationally, it mostly isn't.

Also, not in a ton of locations.

It's the same situation here in Lithuania - various companies have these lockers but it's hit or miss who an international package will be delivered by. Even from Amazon I've had packages delivered by DHL, UPS and regular mail.

The post office will give you a forwarding address (for regular mail) that will end up in the locker of your choosing, but you then have to pay €x/package, and the lockers are usually at post offices, so it's not really worth it.

IDK, the vast majority of my international purchases have been delivered by AusPost - it's actually domestic PC parts shops and eBay sellers that I have the most problems with as a lot of them choose to use companies like Fastway and don't make it clear on their websites who they ship with.

I dont think so, I've had everything delivered there and never had an issue. My only exception is if its something where they say no po box - then I havent tried.

I've had four Amazon packages delivered to Parcel Lockers in the last two months.

InPost is essentially useless in the UK, mind... there's essentially no retailers that support it, you can't have arbitrary packages from retailers posted to one, and I've literally never seen someone using my local InPost box to send packages. I'm assuming they're burning through investment money badly. To show how little people care about it: it doesn't even have an English-language wikipedia page.

If they could somehow have the postal service and couriers able to post things to InPost boxes, it'd be far more useful - but I suspect there's some really complicated contractual stuff that prevents that.

In the UK, PassMyParcel is good.

Your parcel get just delivered to your local NewsAgent, which in the UK generally has extensive opening times. Supported directly by Amazon and a bunch of retailer, but delivery companies use the same system (DPD, EPS).

Canada Post provides this service. My building has a parcel rack and they just put a numbered key in your mailbox when you have a parcel. No need for codes or phones.

For those who may not know, Canada's national postal service is the largest parcel carrier in Canada.

The public post office in Cyprus [0] has 3 of those machines (1 for each big city).

SMSes get sent to you as notification, and you have 3-4 days to pick it up. After that (and a second notification), it gets sent to your local post office and a delivery note is sent to your house.

No charges yet for the service, though they have been toying with the idea ever since it launched a few years ago. No charges for packages not getting delivered either.

[0] http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/dps/dps.nsf/page25_en/page25_en?Op...

For the longest time, Buffer box had one location: inside the Google Waterloo office.

> It's only US

I think that in densely built European cities robo delivery is a much more promising technology. The first trials are already ongoing here [0]. Putting in the hubs may not make sense if the target audience doesn't want delivery vans in a few years time.

[0] https://www.starship.xyz

I literally just came back from grabbing a package at an Amazon locker in Italy (this exact concept, except it's been around for a couple of months now). It was convenient and beats the really unreliable parcel services here.

Amazon have a similar service, but installed in public spaces, called Amazon Locker. They have it at least here in Spain [0].

[0]: https://www.amazon.es/locker

In Singapore the national postal service provides this service when you can ask the parcels to be delivered to automated box and you can collect later don't know if it works with fedex or other postal service who have their own delivery guys

>It serves a real beneficial purpose for those of us who have missed packages while at work and had to drive 20min in terrible traffic to the nearest FedEx/UPS/etc retail outlet

There is a low-tech solution for this already..you have normal package lockers near the mailroom which have keys. Your package is put in a locker, and the corresponding key is put into your mailbox.

Seems way easier and the only way this is better is if the touchscreen system works for signature required packages, allowing them to be dropped off without you

I addressed the "dumb" boxes in my original comment. But another point is that these hubs can be "appended" to buildings without these parcel rooms/infrastructure that are offered by those larger apartment buildings.

There are plenty of other properties that could utilize this too such as multi-tenant office buildings and plenty of other non-apartment building use cases.

It also productizes these boxes so they can buy one of these instead of setting of a mail center and doing the subsequent maintenance (ie: cutting keys, replacing lost ones, etc). And it notifies the people by email/mobile which makes it a nice value add-on for property owners to sell with the property.

Why can't a 'dumb' hub be appended as well? I have them at my new apt complex now, not the 'smart' ones, and they seem to work alright. It's right next to the mailboxes for the complex. Again, it's only USPS that uses the 'dumb' hub, all the other companies just drop things off at the door. It's not a big deal, at least for the area I live in.

> There is a low-tech solution for this already..you have normal package lockers near the mailroom which have keys. Your package is put in a locker, and the corresponding key is put into your mailbox.

How would that work with multiple delivery services? A FedEx or UPS worker, for instance, cannot legally put a package locker key into a USPS mailbox (and usually, in apartment mailbox banks, cannot even physically do so even if they are willing to ignore the law).

The USPS already partners with all the big carriers for Amazon deliveries, so they could solve the problem.

Alternatively: put in boxes not owned by the usps, and use combination locks. The "special delivery instructions" box on every order form on earth already supports this.

The main problems with outdoor lock boxes are moisture and heat. The main problem with indoor ones is that you need a mail room, and they tend to be shared.

I don't see how this new product helps in most circumstances. I guess it could be useful in high crime urban settings, but mail lock boxes are already common there.

At my complex of 65 units, there are a total of 12 package lockers all smaller than 12"x12".

OnTrac has taken over most Amazon deliveries at this apartment. They don't know the door code to get in (ups/FedEx/usps do). So, they leave packages by the exterior door. Usually the wrong one.

"Fool-proof" never takes into account the ingenuity of fools. ;)

Japan is low-tech. The lockers are near the mailboxes.

Mailman puts the package in the mailbox which has a keypad and low-tech 1980's calculator style 1 line display.

He put package in locker. It generates and displays a pin-code, he write it down on a slip of paper with the locker number and puts it in your mailbox.

Works very well.

(I think he has to swipe a card to allow him to lock the thing in the first place. To stop random people using it).

Swipe a card? At least in my building there's no need. It's hard to imagine random people messing with it.

The low-tech thing has its downsides: the other day the delivery guy wrote down the wrong code so I had to wait for the building manager to open it.

That said, I agree that it works very well. And I think it's a somewhat recent innovation. Apart from my current apartment none of the places I've lived here (10+ years) had lockers.

I have lockers next to the mailbox and I'm in the US. They just put a key to the locker in your box and then you go unlock the locker and the key is 'caught' and won't re-close. Yeah, it's not a perfect system, but it doesn't go out when the power goes down and it isn't going to get taken over by Bratslavian hackers to try to sell my neighbors Viagra via Twitter and even the most tech-illiterate/disabled people can use it fine.

Back when I lived in Seattle, I had Amazon packages delivered to an Amazon Locker precisely because issues like this. Even when I am at home, it is difficult for the delivery person to ring up at the doorbell.

In Australia, Amazon outsourced the lockers to "ParcelPoint", which I believe is a Toll company. The issue is they haven't updated their locker addresses here for years, and I found out the hard way that at least two addresses near me had stopped accepting Amazon packages.

why not use auspost parcel lockers?

Can you guarantee that Amazon's delivery partner, iParcel, won't use a courier which is silently blocked by AusPost?

(I have been using the AusPost ones and I'm having more luck than I used to).

Seriously - if AusPost don't want to accept a delivery they won't even let you know, it's just returned to sender.

I've never had that happen and have had lots of deliveries from both ebay sellers and amazon. Everything has always been delivered

Personally, I just get all my packages delivered to work. I guess that's not an option for everyone.

My large megacorp has an explicit policy forbidding employees from using work addresses for personal parcels - allegedly, they're concerned that shipments from overseas could lead to customs import paperwork being sent to them and being accidentally paid by the company, and, well, something something something security.

In my company, it's because half of those packages end up delivered to the warehouse behind the office building, and apparently the warehouse workers didn't like the additional workload.

something something something costs

I just ship my packages to the office instead. Always someone available to sign and no traffic issues.

Yeah, if you have to go pick up stuff, this kinda thing could help. I've never had to do that though, are you US based? My issue was that many other companies just left it on our doorstop, but DHL and a few others I'm forgetting insisted on using the machines when we were there. It was weird.

Again, I think they are nice enough most of the time, but the 'edge' cases make them a no-go for me.

why not have the packages delivered to work ? or for large white goods fridge wfh on that day

Stop making excuses. I wonder how such a terrible comment made its way to the top.

> Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back up to get it to get the unlock codes off of your email. Then you had to be certain that your email would not send the code email into spam, so that sucked.

Those are just one time things. You will forget first or second time but third time your brain will ring a bell "get your phone". Adding that email into trusted contacts is also a one time thing.

My building also has this setup but from different company. First three days are free. There is a website to manager locker settings. You can specify your away days then your packages will be dropped at leasing office.

This idea was also pitched at SharkTank and got funding.

> Stop making excuses. I wonder how such a terrible comment made its way to the top.

Yeah, what a weird argument. Oh no, I have to grab my phone and can't just saunter downstairs in my unmentionables and nothing else.

So, yeah, I was just complaining about some of the issues that this thing has as compared to just dropping packages off at the door like a lot of other companies did already and continued to do after these lockers were installed. It's more steps (literally) than before and doesn't make a lot of sense. Like, to me, it felt like yet another unnecessary middle-man just waiting for you to screw up so they could take your money.

I moved out of my previous apartment partially because they switched to something like this... in our case they actually put the locker outside the building/locks - far more annoying than when the building let services leave the package in front of our apartment doors. I'm pretty sure these cost money too.

One of these systems tipped you over into moving out of an apartment?

I didn't say that, I said it contributed.

Delivery lockers are a minor inconvenience, but it certainly was not a positive change... paper cuts add up.

Ah, I missed the "partially".

I guess my brain works differently than your's does; I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached.

I have no idea what a trusted contact is in email.

Also, our rentors never told us about this nonsense, they just appeared. So, trying to think up, de-novo, that these would have some website attached to them was too far-fetched for me, let alone many of my former neighbors.

You know SharkTank is highly staged and this is an Amazon thingy now, right?: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilycanal/2016/10/21/about-72-...

Really don't appreciate trash like 'how such a terrible comment made its way to the top'. I actually think this comment reads like a paid account. This kind of attitude is more fitting for 4chan or reddit on a bad day. the 'terrible comment made its way to the top' because people identified with it. Obviously.


Seriously. Trivial tiny things.

True, I get that. But other companies were already, and continued to, just drop packages off at the door. Like I said in another reply, it felt like another unnecessary middleman waiting for me to screw up and then gank me. They succeeded, and now I really dislike these things, especially when (for me at least) the 'normal' method was better.

> Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back

I can hardly remember the last time I went somewhere without my phone.

Even just to go to your mailbox? I routinely walk in the door from work, change into some more comfortable clothes (which may or may not have pockets), and then grab keys to go get my mail. I'd say I don't have my phone most of the time I do that.

I installed the PagerDuty app on my phone which uses a body proximity sensor to automatically alert me any time I walk away from the phone even for a minute. /s

/s means sarcasm, right?

I do the same, I leave my phone on the table or whatever when I go get my mail.

But if my mailbox requires me to have my phone, I'd bring it along. I don't see the problem.

I forget my phone all the time, heck, I forget my keys to my car all the time. My issue was that other companies already left things at the door, yet more steps (literally) were unnecessary and seemed like a middleman forced themselves into my life to make it less good.

How old are you?

Both myself and everyone I know have their phones on them 24/7, and next to their bed when they sleep.

Jesus man, I'm in my early 20's and even I don't make sure to put my phone in my pocket just to go pick up the mail. What could possibly be so important that it couldn't wait a whole 120 seconds?

Nothing - but the same habit also compels me to carry my wallet & keys everywhere I go as well. It costs me nothing to carry it, and there are times where I've returned to my apartment after stepping out for a minute to find myself locked out.

How do you get locked out if you carry your keys with you everywhere you go?

An always locked door?

But he has keys with him, so he's by definition not locked out. Maybe I'm reading into it too much.

My door locks automatically when its closed - so when if I were to forget my keys, I would get locked out (which has happened, which is why I always carry my keys).

Look, I'm not advocating illegal lock-picking here, not at all. But you may want to take a look here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/19/how-to-pick-a-lock-...

I make it a habit to never leave without my phone so that I don't forget it anywhere. Even when I get up from my desk to get water 10 feet away.

I do that with my wallet and keys. I rarely take my phone out of the house though, and even leave it switched off for days or weeks at a time. I'm not sure what I'm missing out on by not having it available 24/7.

It's a very liberating feeling once you have 'trained' your friends and family that you are not dead nor hate them if a text goes unanswered for a few hours.

That is orthogonal to having a smart phone on you 24/7. I trained my friends and family not to expect instant replies (or me always picking up phone calls), but I use the phone also to read stuff, search for stuff, and note down stuff, so I do want it on me all the time.

I'm usually in the same place, and using my Linux desktop. I guess that's why I've always found it hard to get interested in phones: annoying devices with too-small screens, slow data entry and usually a locked-down OS with no updates.

I usually set mine on a table or whatever when I'm home, but if I need it to get my mail, I'd take it and it's not a big deal.

You think that is healthy?

Not OP, but... yes, I think it is - at least if you use your phone for anything else than just reading trivia and socializing with people.

Imagine the horror of the long walk to get it

My issue was that other companies provided better service for the same price throughout this time. Why make it harder when it worked well already? To me, it felt like yet another middleman trying to grab cash from me when I messed up in their tiny little empire that I never signed up for and did not agree to. So yeah, I would rate it a 1/5 stars.

But what if I get bored during those 3 minutes? Or god forbid, introspect!?



What if your elevator malfunctions? What if you forget your keys and are locked out?

Yeah, that happens a lot to me. They installed those like scanner card-fob thingys at the last apt. and I lost that all the time too. Fortunately, it is just a magnetic sensor, so any neodymium magnet unlocked all the stuff. Granted, it was a full plate glass door for the front of the building too.

For me, yes. I've been the on-call dev for several years. Last month I dared to go hiking out of cell range only to get hit with downtime (due to hosting provider failover failure). I learned my lesson :(.

I just keep my mailbox keys on the same keyring as my house keys, so I check the mailbox before I go inside...

>and then grab keys

How come you don't forget the keys then? This phone thing is such a non-issue. You could even memorize the code when you get the mail and won't need the phone at all after that.

I forget my keys all the time. Also, the code was like 10 digits and letters or something. If I forget my keys all the time, I'd forget the code thingy too, no question.

What if you miss a youtube notification?

I've been reading a bunch of complaints about notifications recently and I'm so confused, do people not know you can turn off notifications?

Like it takes two seconds in the app or you can block all notifications from that app by long pressing the notification.

Really not that hard to get rid of the spam.

What the hell, I used Android exclusively for nearly a decade and have just now seen the long press for the first time..

Wait, you can do that?!

I bring it with me to work and hiking, but usually leave it charging or in my work-pants when I get home and am with family for the rest of the day. On weekends, I think I check it maybe twice. Like, the phone is something I use to call people I want to call/txt. It's not something that others use to reach me. Yeah, it sounds like a jerk thing, but my life is pretty 'face-to-face' and not digital to begin with. As far as I know, people who want to talk to me don't have an issue with it.

So beware about addiction. Sometimes I make sure to not bring my phone to have more focus, e.g., gym, talk to people, etc.

I am sure OP is not addicted to his/her phone. There are lot of us who keep the phone in their pockets just fine when talking to people or keep it in the bag when going to the gym.

Consumers would prefer to get packages delivered to their doorsteps but the coordination of package delivery and consumer availability isn't always feasible. This is the solution to that problem and nothing more. And one of many available options (others being scheduled delivery, dropping off at the neighbours, leaving it at the doorstep, reattempting the delivery, pick up from the local depot, etc).

Since this is a multi-access digital mailbox this can handle more complex workflows a typical mailbox cannot. For example the code can be changed remotely so your access can be revoked (for cancelled orders maybe) or the delivery person re-open the box to pick up a package you dropped off in there for return.

This also opens up potential for further innovations here like RFID or bar-code scanners inside the hubs to mitigate wrong deliveries.

> Yeah, 150$ for some random thing my sister sent me unannounced was not a lot of fun.

That's unfortunate and maybe they ought to allow you to monitor and avoid charges using your app. However, whenever you have a shared and limited resources, charging for overages is not only inevitable but necessary. Otherwise someone who has a holiday home in London can order packages all year around and block the hub until his next visit.

Where Amazon seems to be going with this is improving the state of last mile mail logistics. The logistics are also sensible. Typically it will take a van at least an hour to cover a dozen drops at 5 minutes per drop. This is a real cost -- a cost that the consumer eventually bears. With a sharper focus on the hub model, a delivery van now needs to make a single drop for dozens of packages. These cost savings can be passed on to the consumer.

If a damn Roomba is now mapping my floor plan and what I have in my house and then selling that data to god-knows-who, why in the hell would I trust an app on my phone?

My issue was that many of the other companies were doing the 'normal' thing even through the time I was at the place that had the robo-lockers. Like, why make me take the extra steps (literally) to endure yet another middle-man that is just trying to gank me when I screw up? It made no sense and I didn't sign up for it at all, nor did they tell me about any apps or web-sites, just some random email stuff that got sorted into spam a lot.

Also, I don't really think ol' Jeff is gonna pass those savings on to us. Why would he? Dude is now crazy rich, and he did not get that way by passing savings on to customers. He got that way by providing a competing service for maybe 1 penny less than the other guy even though he could have done it for a dollar less. And yes, that is a heck of a debate to get mucked into, but suffice to say, Jeff is not trying to do us favors, he's trying to stay filthy rich.

It's the same locker Amazon already has in many supermarkets. I use those a lot; much more convenient than worrying about a package being left on my door, or dropped blindly inside my patio ruining a plant.

What you mean is that this isn't opt-in? All your packets potentially go there without you explicitly asking for it?

Yeah, I think DHL and some others just auto-dropped them in there without us wanting them to do so. It wasn't our choice. UPS and others continued to drop stuff off at our door during this time frame.

My complex has one of those Luxer One systems, not the lockered ones, just a package room with a Luxer One branded iPad that controlled the lock and a camera in the room. Same dumb charges, except packages literally sit in a room. I don't mind the service, but every time I get that heavily branded email that says "No need to rush home. Your package will be ready when you are!" I squirm a little - it's really over-branded like they don't want you to forget who they are

weird! The lockered one at our complex is really slick. A room with an ipad and camera is bizarre.

> Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back up to get it

Wow, the very definition of 1st world problems right there :D

My issue was that this new 'service' I did not sign up for was worse than before and than what many other companies were providing. To me, it was yet another unnecessary middle-man trying to gouge me for no reason. It was more steps (literally) for worse service. Why would I want that?

Same deal at my current apartment. This fills up super quick then they just leave packages the packages on the ground outside.

Haha! All that engineering and design and all those meetings for nothing.

>you forgot your phone

Who forgets their phone these days? And even then, you can memorize the 4 digit code.

We have these things and they work great.

I think it was a 10 digit number and letter code which I could never remember and would have to then write down. Granted, this is not Amazon, it was some other company.

And yeah, I forget my phone all the time. To me, the phone is something I use, not something that I need or that others need me to have. On the weekends, I maybe check it twice if I'm not hiking or something, it just sits there charging otherwise.

I have one of these in my building and it sucks. USPS never uses it, because they have actual mailboxes. Fedex and UPS use it half the time. They sometimes just leave your package lying out in the open. The apartment staff will move any unattended packages into a locked room, which defeats the purpose of the system. Sometimes you get unannounced packages and there's a fee after 2 days of storage. But the worst part is that you are forced to pay $20 to sign up for this service.

Those honestly sound like small issues that can be worked out, especially with tighter integration with Amazon. The solution doesn't necessarily have to be "let me leave packages in there forever". If there's good customer communication and support in the Amazon app, it could be a real nice solution to a major problem with urban deliveries.

Amazon has an app? I'm not urban, so maybe it works better for urban people than for people like me. My issue was that other companies continued to provide a better service for the same price with less hassle. To me, it felt like an unnecessary middleman that was just trying to gank me when I messed up even a little bit.

You have a very difficult life.

My issue what that other companies continued to provide better service for the same price at that time with less hassle. To me, this felt like yet another middleman inserting themselves into the process and just trying to extort money from me when I didn't follow their rules. Plus, I never signed up for this, they just appeared and I was given no notice that 'my stuff' was going to be held hostage, no instructions, no links to websites or apps or whatever. So yeah, I was a bit cranky, my bad.

This is where it is really useful to know a neighbor or a concierge in the building. Then you can just forward them the package code and they can get it for you if your out.

I agree, but at the time, our neighbors weren't bad per se, but we really didn't know them. Lesson learned.

It just seems like what we have to do in this new world :p. Hey, at least we now have an excuse to know our neighbors, or at least be nice to the concierge if your building has one.

Seems to me more like deploying Amazon Locker to me.

> Oh wait, then you forgot your phone

Just get the Amazon implant to authentify yourself (coming soon)... or just scream something next to the hub and the echo located in your bedroom will give you access using your voice's unique signature.

Haha, good one! I could actually see them doing something that crazy.

> The system started to charge you, like 5$/day or something, for non-picked-up packages after like day 3. Guess who got a nasty surcharge after spending a month away for work and no email to tell me that things would get surcharged? Yeah, 150$ for some random thing my sister sent me unannounced was not a lot of fun.

Why is nobody talking about the most important point? THIS is the most important point. $5 a day is a LOT of money and I am outraged. Is everyone here financially independent or something? I have agonized over buying a used desktop/laptop computer for months and that purchase is well under $200.

None of the rest of the story matters. What matters at the end of the day is the money. Are you guys paying attention to where your money is going?

If I was in charge, changing the terms of rental like this would be a criminal offense and the management would be in prison for years.

Would you please not rant like this here? You have a good point that $5 a day is a lot for many people, but venting bile is not a good way to make your points on Hacker News. You emit more pollution this way than information, and if we're to have a functioning community, not polluting the local ecosystem is each member's first responsibility.

Thank you for your moderation. I got carried away. I will try not let let that happen again.

It's such a pleasure when someone replies to moderation with moderation. Thank you!

Why is this thing electronic at all? Why isn't it just a purely mechanical system where when you get a package, they drop the key to the big package-sized lockbox in your little letter-sized mailbox?

This is what the USPS, Canada Post, and some other postal services do in community mailboxes. The only problem is when someone forgets to pickup a package as the box is rendered unusable until they do, which can be a challenge with only a few package boxes for every 5-10 mailboxes.

Most US apartment mailboxes are locked with a key, so the USPS is the only one who can leave a package key for you.

UPS and FedEx cannot legally open your mailbox, either, even if it doesn't have a lock.

As is so often the case, this is already a solved problem in Japan. When a package arrives, I'm alerted to its presence when I RFID my key to open the lobby door. Then I RFID my key again on the package locker and the locker with my stuff pops open.

The issue with lockers filling up too quickly or packages sitting in them too long is handled by the shipping company, which has sufficiently good customer service to contact me about re-delivering items that aren't reaching me. Also, my neighbors would be mortified if their deliveries ever inconvenienced someone else in the building, so it's somewhat self-policing in that sense.

The amount of over-engineering that goes into overcoming the shortcomings of customer service and lack of basic etiquette in America is amusing and sad. Amazon seems to be an emerging leader in finding solutions for social breakdowns that could be easily solved if people cared more about doing a good job or about extending basic courtesies to their fellow citizens.

And even if you don't live in some fancy apartment building with RFID locks you can just get a box that you chain to your front door and the delivery services will respect that and put your packages in there, use your seal for a signature, and then lock it after they're done https://direct.sanwa.co.jp/ItemPage/300-DLBOX001

Haha, that's a cute little lock. I suppose that could work in resident-entry-only buildings, but America can be pretty bad-ass:


It also works in a country where crime is basically negligible. It's amazing how many conveniences emerge from people behaving themselves.

Yeah you can get away with a lot less physical security in Japan.

Around where I live bikes are just locked with ring locks that go through the spokes of the back wheel (in other countries that would get your bike lifted into the back of a truck in days).

This also makes retail a lot nicer since you don't get those crazy un-openable blister packs you see in the west. Most packaging is just held together with a single piece of tape for easy opening. Amazon's "frustration-free packaging" is actually more difficult to open than most of the retail electronics packaging you have here.

That photograph describes everything that's wrong with the US from a foreigner's perspective.

And yet where I live I get packages left at my door for days, noone is touching them, there are no bullet proof vending machines and people generally are well behaved and courteous.

This just to remind you that the US is huge, consists of 50 states and in most cases the states are very different from each others.

I'm not even an american and I'm offended about the generalization.

The trick is that Japan has managed to have this security broadly across their whole society - from sleepy villages to inner cities to depopulating poverty-stricken towns that lost their industry.

Sure but the entire "society" of Japan is smaller than just California

I'm confused by this comment. Japan has 127 million people. California has 40 million.

And yet California certainly doesn't have its shit together...

Or in stores, the Windows customer experience: https://twitter.com/swiftonsecurity/status/55707120341262745...

What's the "seal" you speak of?

In Japan people use these little wooden stamps with their names engraved instead of a signature. Throw 印鑑 into image search and you can see examples.

> The issue with lockers filling up too quickly or packages sitting in them too long is handled by the shipping company, which has sufficiently good customer service

This is the crux of the issue. US companies don't want to have good customer service. They want to charge you for every single piece of customer service above the absolute minimum.

We have similar locker systems in the US, e.g. Luxer One and Parcel Pending.

In my experience, it is way more common in Japan to have one of these than it is in the US, though.

This morning, an Amazon deliveryman walked a few steps toward my house, threw a package about fifteen feet to the door (denting the case inside), and then walked back to his van. I still can't find a specific way to complain about the delivery. Forgive me if I'm not excited about Amazon building their own private mailboxes, but I don't think they have any real understanding of their own shortcomings.

Amazon tries to make it hard to find this, so it's top of my bookmarks file:


If it's so hard to find I can't imagine they'd care what you have to say. Besides, it's not my packages I see thrown 10 feet across someone's yard. It's my neighbors that I don't know and wouldn't recognize if I saw them. For all I know it's not even Amazon handling the deliveries since they come in an unmarked white van.

Then it's not your concern if you don't feel you should tell your neighbors. I was replying to someone who said they saw something happen with their own package and I can assure you from extensive experience that Amazon goes out of their way to try to make it right with the customer (even if they don't address the root problem, they still do something to make it right to a complaining customer).

Call Amazon customer support (ask Google for the 800 number) and ask them to deprioritize Amazon Fulfillment. That weights it to the bottom of their selection algorithm, so it's only chosen if no other shipper can fulfill - which mostly relegates them to same-day fulfillment, and not always then.

Worked for me after a string of delivery errors; I haven't had a problem since.

It might look like private mailboxes, though they are extensions of Amazon Locker. Those racks looks like the ones I used back when I lived in Seattle, with a different paint and without the Amazon logos.

From what I understand, the Amazon delivery man is a contractor. They get pressured by Amazon's dispatchers into cranking out deliveries. I wonder if you could report this as goods that are damaged -- they likely have metrics that will count against that specific delivery contractor.

I've had an Amazon deliveryman upbraid me for the fact that he had trouble finding my apartment. I've had a different one (or maybe the same one; how would I know?) deliver my stuff to the wrong address.

Obviously, I contacted them to complain about that second one; I'm pretty sure they're aware that it's a problem. Knowing you have a problem doesn't mean you can quickly fix it.

This isn't Amazon, it's just delivery drivers in general.

Some carriers are better about this than others though. USPS/UPS/Fedex/DHL aren't perfect, but generally do an acceptable job. When I was living in Seattle it got to the point I would dread the OnTrac deliveries Amazon sent out because of all the issues I had with their drivers.

More so delivery companies the time drivers are given essentially require that behavior.

That, and the very common in my part of the world case, in which you learn that package wasn't delivered because no one was in the apartment, even though you (or your spouse) spent the entire day in the apartment...

Yea, even the best managers can't help stop a disgruntled delivery driver having a bad day.

If the item arrived damaged I would report that and return it through Amazon's normal return process.

Since when does Amazon have their own delivery people? Sure you are not talking about a USPS/UPS worker here.


They've had this for a while and they're even building their own cargo airline.

Reading reviews of it on Glassdoor makes it sound horrid. Part time contractors who have to work in "blocks" and who seem to have it mostly automated/appified with little human guidance. No wonder in the end they don't care.

The biggest problem with this is that packages are bursty -- your mail room is always bursting around Christmas time.

I saw one apartment complex this year that had a twist on the package robot concept -- there's an iPad at the door of the mail room, and you type in the code from your package, the iPad takes your photo and then unlocks the mail room door using a solenoid.

The UPS guy? Scans the barcodes on the packages, then wheels them in and drops them off on cheap metal shelves inside -- no need to pay an employee to manage the mail room 24/7. More residents/packages? Just buy a few more shelves. Resident wants to pick up a package as soon as Amazon buzzes them? No problem. Resident wants to pick up at 2am? Great.

The only problem is you have to trust your neighbors to not steal your packages.

About the easiest system to defeat ever. Guess or obtain any working code, cover the iPad camera with your finger, and clean out the entire mailroom. You need to live in a very secure building with trustworthy neighbors for this to be viable.

Then again, we have no signature required, and regularly have packages sitting on our front porch for a day or so and haven't had anything go missing.

What is it with HN commenters living in these crime-ridden dens where everyone steals everyone's packages? Maybe it's a cultural thing but I've lived in apartment buildings in Germany with neighbors from all walks of life and unless a package has literally "$$$ EXPENSIVE GOODS THAT ARE EASY TO SELL $$$" written all over it, I wouldn't for a second worry about a neighbor stealing it.

Maybe your standards for "very secure" and "trustworthy" are extremely low.

I've lived in two large apartment buildings in New York.

The first one, if a package was dropped off in the lobby, the driver might as well deliver it directly into the garbage. I usually got things shipped to work, even if they were large and a hassle to get home.

The second one, our current one, all of the neighbors completely trust each other, and it's never been an issue. I ship most things home, now.

The difference is partially neighborhood (low-rent Brooklyn vs. Upper West Side), partially building size (200 units vs. 20), and partially who lives there (renters and month-to-monthers, vs. mostly condo owners.)

Yeah, I had something delivered the day after I went on vacation and it just sat in the entrance for a few weeks, then I took it upstairs when I got home. This is in Brooklyn FWIW.

I live in Manhattan and packages regularly get stolen from the hallway, behind the locked entrance doorway. Either we have thieves, or residents naively hold the door for thieves. Or bike deliverymen are thieves.

Another problem with these mail rooms might be privacy: every once in a while someone can see how many things you buy at a time and from what retailers you buy from.

USPS/FedEx/UPS dropping off your stuff at your porch has the exact same problem though.

Better than my apartment. Packages just get thrown on the floor in the lobby and it's a free for all

I had something like this at an apartment I lived in, it was called 'package concierge.'

It was mostly nice, but where I lived there were issues with execution of the idea. At peak times (holidays) the package robot would get full, because people wouldn't pick up their stuff in a timely manner.

The package robot also had to be loaded by an employee of the building... until then the package hung out in the mail room like normal, but you could only get your package from the package robot... so if the package showed up and no one was around to load the robot, or was slacking off on loading the robot, it actually took longer to get your stuff.

When it worked, however, it was good to be able to pick up your package when you got home from work at midnight without having to talk to anyone or sign anything. Also getting notified via email that you had something waiting was nice.

Been using InPost Paczkomaty for ages. https://twoj.inpost.pl/pl/przesylki/paczkomaty

established 2006, helped bring down the cost of deliveries at the same time improved convenience of online shopping when DHL,etc. always wanted to come to your flat when you were at work

Paczkomaty is one of the best revolutions in the post delivery industry. So convenient.

I still prefer regular post, Poczta Polska.

They try to deliver to home, but if there is noone there, they leave a note, and I have 14 days to receive items on nearest post office (same walk distance as Paczkomat, open 8am-8pm + Saturday). Plenty of time for me (or roommate!) to get all packages that arrived to house. Just one person in household can go every 2 weeks and collect dozen packages and letters.

In Paczkomat, item is returned to sender after 48 hours. With such short time and need for SMS code, no chance that roommate will collect packages for me.

The only advantage of Paczkomat is that you can use it at night.

I don't think it works that way. After 48 hours, a package is transferred to the nearest InPost POP, where you can retrieve it within 3 days.

Finnish Posti also started installing those in 2011, now they have ~500 of them (~1 per 11000 pop).

They've also recently started installing similar machines to apartment buildings (somewhat similar to OP Amazon things I guess).

These are pretty great. One of the big surprises of moving to Finland was that the postal service will __never__ deliver a parcel to your door.

Cards, very small packets, and letters all get delivered Monday-Friday, but parcels? They leave a card and you have to take it to your local post-office to collect your item.

I'd visited Finland a lot prior to moving, but of course this is the kind of thing you don't realize until you've relocated "for real". In the past I used to do a lot of online ordering, but since moving I've cut down a lot just because collection of things is a real pain. (Of course it helps that there is no Amazon.fi, instead the choices seem to be Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.de.)

Yeah, regular parcels are not delivered to door, and most people don't want to pay the extra for door delivery. And nowadays many just redirect their parcels to a parcel box on their commute / supermarket via the Posti app/site.

Amazon.co.uk and amazon.de that you mentioned (and some other foreign sites), though, always seem to use to-door services even in Finland. The most common one has been DHL Weltpaket Premium which Posti tries to deliver once by 14:00 (sig.req), after that it goes to post office for pickup. Of course I'm never home at that time.

Amazon.fi redirects to amazon.de nowadays, BTW, which has free shipping to Finland for 39€+ orders.

It does happen at times, but it's very arbitrary if and when it happens.

I like SmartPosti parcel boxes as well, especially how I can select the delivery target that most suits my route and schedule. I usually use one that's close to my work in a mall so I can do some groceries while getting my packages.

Yeah I tend to order ESP8266 devices and random sensors, from AliExpress. Although the postage often takes 3-8 weeks its a little hit and miss whether the packets are delivered or have to be collected.

Mostly these days I tend to use verkkokauppa and similar "local" shops that can be collected from.

I absolutely love them. They solve the problem of coordinating delivery times by... just letting me choose the pickup point that's active 24/7, so I can visit it e.g. at 9 PM while coming home from work. I always use them if I can (so sad I can't with Aliexpress :().

I think those are a great idea, I hope they come to my country sometime.

I was about to mention these.

Was kind of hoping this is something individual home owners could install near the front door so packages aren't left on the steps.

If you fill out the form it asks what kind of property you have, and single family homes is an option, but then it says "your property does not meet our requirements at this time." I wonder if enough people select that though...

There's always the Amazon Locker option for that.


This seems more targeted at apartment/condo buildings that have been wrestling with the mountain of Prime packages that show up daily and are either stolen or managed by a building superintendent that doesn't want to deal with them anymore.

A few apartment buildings have their own, exclusive, Amazon Locker. Other apartments have general "large package" mail boxes, for parcels from any sender. This seems to be the next step to merge these ideas, giving landlords an Amazon-specific large package mailbox.

My buddy lived in a rather nice condo complex in Chicago, with about 100 units in it. This was literally the reason he sold his place. Any time anything was sent to him there was a 50% chance he would get it.

Doesn't the building superintendent still have to load this thing? The delivery driver/postal carrier isn't going to do it, right?

The UPS/Fedex/DHL guys that deliver to my complex all load the packages into the lockers themselves.

There are a couple of interesting alternatives available here in Germany:

1. lockboxes or cut-resistant package containers which are clamped to your apartment door and can be opened with a PIN, such as these https://www.paketbutler.com/ or these https://www.paksafe.de/

2. the DB train network is installing delivery boxes on train stations and subway stations, including refrigerated ones for food deliveries, allowing for pickup on your commute home

3. Smart cars (those tiny city hoppers most Americans seem to hate) can be outfitted with a small module that allows delivery services to access the trunk, turning them into mobile delivery boxes

You could easily just DIY a self-locking box, if it was just for your own home use.

This looks more like a competitor to someone like Package Concierge: http://packageconcierge.com/

I'm not sure if we just got a unit plagued with issues, but the Package Concierge my apartment complex had installed has has been offline more than it has been online. It's constantly awaiting servicing.

Why not just get a package box for your porch? I guess there isn't a guarantee they delivery person would use it.

Looks like Amazon picked up the buffer box [1] idea. Such a shame Google bought them and shut them down, it had such potential.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BufferBox

DHL has been operating Packstationen in Germany since 2001: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packstation

>There are 3,000 Packstation machines in Germany[1] and 90 percent of the people living in Germany were within ten minutes of a DHL Packstation.[2]

There are also Paketboxen, which are smaller installations for residential areas. The whole system works pretty well for me. The one big downside is, that it only works with DHL/Deutsche Post parcel. They are the dominant player here, but sometimes delivery by them is not available.

Yes! DHL is notoriously understaffed or incompetent in my Berlin neighbourhood. When i order packages to my apartment, often the guy will not even enter the building. He will drop off the package at some random neighbour 1 block away or the next Post office which as well is way too small and understaffed and i will recieve the notification card 2-3 days later (Email is fine though). Going to the post office, waiting in queue for 20-30 min is pretty normal. Since i am using Packstationen this problem has largely gone away and works perfectly for 95% of my deliveries.

Ah, another Berlin DHL sufferer. Either they don't even ring the bell, or drop it off at some neighbour that isn't there, or at a shop that closes at 4pm. Packstation has been a god's end, next to my supermarket anyway, 24/7 usable and having the doors plop open makes it feel like a Christmas calendar.

Can confirm, Packstations are awesome and I am still surprised that they haven't catched on the US and other parts of the world.

I thought BufferBox was a copy of Amazon Locker [1]?

  [1]: https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_366591722_2?_encoding=UTF8&node=6442600011

Seems like they were launched around similar times (both came out in 2011) so that a definite possibility. However from what I know about Waterloo's design projects (as this was a final year design project) this project was most likely started in 2010, so technically amazon's locker came out later. Although who knows who copies who when things get released so close to each other.

I would imagine that Amazon began working on their solution for some time before its release as well. Not that it matters to me who beat who but just to point out that they still likely started around the same time.

So ... I wonder how this is going to play into Amazon's drone delivery tech.

I did some digging in the /r/uwaterloo subreddit and it turns out that some customers were getting packages at no cost. Perhaps it wasn't financially viable.

I used it a bunch of times and having it on campus was pretty great. It was way safer than having the packages left randomly at the front of your residence. So as far as a "solved problem" is concerned, this definitely wasn't solved in any shape or form at Waterloo until BufferBox arrived.

Looks more like Amazon Locker to me.

In NL you can deliver your package to a drop off point near your house. Usually these are supermarkets or other kind of shops. I always pick my local supermarket which is anyway on my way home. It is open until 22.00 on working days so no issues there.

It is not like this Amazon box but it does also not have the other things to worry about (packages arriving on holidays and costs surcharged thereafter). The shops get a little extra earnings and they handle sending back etc. When not picked up. The service is free of charge for customers.

I guess Amazon box would be a tad more convenient to go to as they are at your doorstep (every single house is their intention, didn't get the site really?) but to be honest, you are visiting your supermarkets anyway. At least in NL where they are close. US might be a bit different here due to distance? Though you can do other shops as well, and usually there is one within say 1-2km.

> but to be honest, you are visiting your supermarkets anyway

Worth noting that Amazon has Amazon Fresh (groceries delivered directly to your door) and just bought Whole Foods Market in the US. So in the future, you might not be visiting a supermarket at all, or if you are, it might be owned by Amazon anyway.

My apartment uses LuxerOne (https://app.luxerone.com), and it is the best amenity IMO.

One problem of Amazon Hub v/s LuxerOne is that I don't think Amazon Hub will work with packages from other retailers.

I have one of these in my building. The result is that there is always a giant pile of packages surrounding the lockers. I talked to the delivery people about why, they said the the buttons are too hard to push, so they just leave the packages laying around and nobody really minds anyway, so it's not worth their time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Mine uses Parcel Pending, which seems to be the same thing.

Amusingly, LuxerOne, Parcel Pending and this Amazon thing all seem to be using the same device, so this is either very convergent evolution or there's just one Chinese whitebox manufacturer for these lockers and everyone just slaps their logo on them.

I was noticing that too, all of these package lockers look almost identical, with the same (easily identified) crappy touch screen and qr scanner. It would be interesting to see someone actually innovate in this field, but I'm curious what that would look like.

Luxer One uses an iPad for it's Touchscreen interface, and front facing camera for QR scanning.

> or there's just one Chinese whitebox manufacturer

Perhaps these guys:


Yeah, it the same ones that Postnord uses here in DK i think.


"Accepting deliveries from all carriers, Hub by Amazon can free you and your staff from daily package management."

I'd be possible to honestly say you accept deliveries from any carrier and still require the seller to be Amazon.

But anyway the video says "any retailer", so that's not the case.

But anyway the video says "any retailer", so that's not the case

The video says "any sender" so it could be a private party sending you something as well.

The video says receive packages from anyone, so sounds like it might be a direct competitor to luxerone.

> Luxer One solves 100% of apartment's package problems

Am I wrong or does their main headline have some serious singular/plural issues?

I feel like it should either drop the 's or say, "your apartment's package problems".

All apartments or all packages?

You're thinking of a private/residential Amazon Locker, which do exist (there's one in the student halls near me). I suspect that Amazon install them for free if there's enough people likely to use it. Amazon Hub is a different product.

Website seems to claim it accepts packages from "any sender, any retailer"

My apartment building has a secure room instead of a locker. 24 hour access is nice but like another user mentioned, often the packages just end up in random places in the secure room and you have to go on a hunt to find them.

Not a huge deal, I guess.

I get that the post office as a whole is useful, but on an organizational level it probably would make more sense for everyone to have to go to the post office to pick up their deliveries in this day and age.

Personal deliveries to your doorstep is a pretty luxurious service, if you think about it in abstract. Plus it seems inefficient for these delivery people to go to a bunch of people's houses and drop things off (when people are mostly not home) when we could all just change our daily commutes slightly when we need to.

There isn't a post office near me and I don't have a car. I come home at 9-10 PM every day and the post office closes before then. Do I now have to leave work to get my packages? Do I have to use Uber when I receive a large package? This is not a viable solution for a lot of people.

In this universe I would imagine 24 hour pickup windows being a thing.

Or even just more no-human-needed deposit lockers like Amazon hub.

I definitely understand how this works less well in the current reality. Though you can do local reorganization of this (for example you have deposit lockers for an entire neighborhood in a specific part that is easy to access for everyone, and now the mail delivery takes only 30 minutes or so instead of 6 hours).

Can you have your stuff delivered at your work place? I did this a couple of times.

FWIW, in Finland having to pickup your domestic packages at the post office or other pickup point has always been the standard, unless you pay extra for home delivery.

Regulations say 82%+ of Finnish population needs to be within 3 km (1.9 mi) and 97%+ within 10 km (6.2 mi) of a postal outlet.

This raises the question of is it actually inefficient? I'm not so sure that trade-off of delivery worker taking parcels from the PO to a bunch of addresses in _broadly_ the same area versus ad-hoc journeys to the PO by individuals is as clear as you make it.

Not to mention you'd get huge push back from retailers (more hassle -> less orders) and users (how do I collect large items / I don't commute / PO is closed / PO is not in a convenient place etc.).

I remember seeing a thing about how the primary cost for selling t-shirts online made in India (for example) was the last mile delivery.

At least in Japan, there's extreme turnover among these delivery people at the last mile that would go away.

I agree that it's not clear-cut, but to me it feels wasteful, at least in densely urban areas where 24 hour pickup windows at the PO/ "pickup-only" places are reasonable.

And for people at the margins (for example, people who have difficulty moving), you could imagine having the "direct to home" delivery service still existing, but no longer being the default. Not sure how you would know you have something though....

>we could all just change our daily commutes

Sounds inefficient.

I guess this is a bet on how often we actually get deliveries.

Personally, I get "useful" mail about once a week. I'm never home when deliveries happen (though I have a delivery box in my apartment entrance, I used to always have to pick it up later). So almost every package I would get delivered would _always_ go from the delivery center to my home, then back again.

We have a security gate and I installed a network-enabled lock for which I can remotely add temporary security codes that we then specify in the order from Amazon. This results in the UPS guy completely ignoring it and leaving the package outside the gate in plain view for package thieves. Delivery drivers are like cab drivers used to be before Uber/lyft. There's no accountability baked into the process. Someone please invent Lyft for deliveries.

We have that in Europe for years. It works great for me. There is no communication struggle with anyone nor planning involved and its cheaper. You'll get phone message and mail that there is package to take and from that moment you have 48 hours to pick it up. If you don't do it within time limit, package gets back into warehouse so you can go there or request home delivery for few euros.

Cheers from another happy "Paczkomat" customer. When i shop online (and i do it a lot) i try to choose sellers who provide "paczkomat" [0] as a mailing option. A bit cheaper, much more convenient and never have to wait or chase the delivery man. Such a good idea, and they aren't even at my doorstep, but further into the city. You can choose where you want your parcel delivered so it's not hard to pick one on your daily route.

It should be everywhere, but i guess in the states population density is too low in many places.

[0] https://blog.sote.pl/wp-content/uploads/Paczkomat-InPost.jpg

This just looks to be Amazon Locker[1] for apartment buildings. I've seen the lockers in hotels and around town for several years.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/b?node=6442600011

My apartment in Tokyo has a similar system, and the apartment before that. I'd guess that most modern buildings within the 23 wards have it too. Don't know about other cities. You use the same electronic key that you need to get into the building foyer.

All domestic delivery companies (Kuro Neko, Sagawa, etc) will drop into them without a second thought. FedEx are a bit more annoying that you have to call ahead and authorize them to use a bin, but that's ok.

I only have trouble with some things through Japan Post where a signature or ID is required, which is annoying but understandable when they are delivering something like a credit card.

My building has individual mailboxes in the lobby for each unit, and then a bunch of large boxes that packages can fit in.

The mail deliverers put a package in, lock it with the key in the door, then put that key in my mail box, so I know to go get the package out. It's brutally simple, and I was surprised I've not seen an implementation like this before.

"You can pick up any package" says the video while showing a whole sequence of packages of roughly the same dimensions.

Yes, any. Just like 2 + 2 equals 5 for large values of 2.

Coming soon, from the same company that brought you the ability to buy unlimited storage[1]!


Someone from /r/datahoarder didn't read the TOS

Looks like a Packstation:


They are nice, but it's a bit of a trade-off: 50% chance there is an empty opening in the station, 50% chance it's full and they dump the packet at some service center miles away where you stand in line for half an hour and get your package late.

Been using Packstation for 10 years or so. What an improvement in quality of life. Even more than receiving packages the part of sending packages has profited even more. And if a package does get rerouted to another station I just remind myself of how much I rather drive 5 additional minutes with my car, than to wait 30 min in line at the postoffice (which has to happen during working hours anyways). Yikes.

Well, that's what happens to me 6/10 times. I have six Packstations within five driving minutes around me, yet as soon as the one I've addressed my package to was full on delivery, DHL insists on returning it to a parcel hub in an industrial area way out in the wilderness. Which closes 18:00 on weekdays, and on 13:00 on Saturdays.

And don't get me started on their new "Wunschpaket" service for redirecting deliveries in transit...

This model doesn't work already.

I ordered some PC parts to an Amazon Locker and got my Amazon account suspended indefinitely. I can't log in to it. But they didn't block the other half of the order that didn't make any sense to get (a case).

They asked my ccard billings via fax (shrug). After struggling with my hotel's terrible computer and fax I managed to send it to them. No answer. I asked and only then they responded in a short email it was not legible. Terrible support.

Also the delivery of the case was delayed several days so I lost it but had to pay for it anyway.

They managed to make me never buy from Amazon again. My account was over 10 years old. Had problems with deliveries a year ago, too. (that was why this time I tried an Amazon Locker)

Maybe try mailing Jeff? It seems to have worked wonders in this case: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14718799

As a person who regularly commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan for work I'm never home to accept my Amazon deliveries. To make matters worse, the local UPS, FedEx and USPS offices always "lose" my package only to have either never show up or it is re-delivered weeks later with no notification.

Why don't they just leave it in vestibule or on my doorstep? Thieves. All delivery carriers just plain refuse to leave packages unattended.

This solution is basically an Amazon locker or PO Box that lives in my lobby? Sounds awesome. Amazon Hub might not make sense in rural areas but Amazon's biggest target lives in urban areas. I'm so ready for this.

Hopefully at some point in the future apartments/houses just come with privileged access entryways that you can manage, and delegate time-gated access to delivery services. That way the delivery person can just let themselves into your "airlock", put the package there, and leave without getting undue access to your private home and without it being a public space (like a porch) that requires a social contract to not be broken in order to remain secure.

Today's too early though, since IoT (eg. a connected doorlock) seems untrustworthy. What are some solutions that could be used to approximate it, I wonder?

They would have to walk to every unit although. With these lobby solutions they just have to walk to one lobby. More time efficient, so cheaper deliveries as a result.

Lesson learned: if you have some idea, buy a domain name, and have one static page to explain the idea, and use a form service to collect feedback :)

It's interesting to see that amazon doesn't mind using a 3rd party form service to collect information (https://amazon29.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8nWssUBen1xjL...) even though they have enough tech power to do that.

I wish my office's building was able to support one of these. Our neighborhood USPS will often swing by after the office doors lock. They will say things like "unable to deliver" but never deliver during office hours. When you buy from Amazon, you never know if UPS (never a problem) or USPS is going to be the deliverer. It makes Prime shipping nearly worthless for many of us.

But we don't own this building, and at least right now I can't imagine where one of these things might go.

Here's a video demonstrating this kind of system in Japan:


The cool thing is when you scan in with an IC card, the lobby door will notify you of the package. That same IC card also lets me unlock my door and open the delivery locker. There's also a panel in my room which lights up when a package is sitting in the locker for me.

They could OCR all the return addresses and figure out who's buying what and target ads accordingly. They could also x-ray all the packages for even more insight into consumer behavior. And if a package is coming from a competitor, offer the recipient the option to receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for refusing delivery and returning to sender. Or just paste Amazon ads all over every package in the Hub. Yes I work in marketing why do you ask.

Amazon is reinventing the whole daily retailing experience piece by piece.

There does not seem anyone on the market now can be a meaningful competitor at all. The close-loop virtuous cycle now extends to a degree that probably only Alibaba can rival (in China).

I don't think this is Bezos' original vision, but Amazon grows to a point such ideas just come out naturally.

The resistance seems futile now, all retailers should consider how to operate in the model created by Amazon.

I think that Walmart is a very strong competitor, and too easily dismissed by the tech crowd that wants to pretend they're unsophisticated because they aren't based on the west coast.

In many ways, Walmart is in a much stronger competitive position than Amazon, as they have "warehouses"/physical retail outlets within a reasonable driving distance of most Americans, and they're equipped to handle products that are not really feasible for someone like Amazon, who is still almost completely dependent on parcel carriers for access to the customer. Walmart does not have such external dependencies and Amazon is really only needed when the product is so obscure that Walmart wouldn't carry it.

Walmart has next-day grocery pickup, electronic receipts and payment via Walmart Pay, and several other high-tech features available. They've been acquiring e-commerce upstarts like Jet and Bonobos. A crew of Walmart delivery drivers that covered a 5 mile radius from each store is Amazon's nightmare.

I don't think it's wise to count Walmart out. The biggest challenge for them is internal, and whether forward-looking ecommerce advocates can win out against the visionless MBA types in resource competition.

Walmart has no centralized warehouses. Everything is custom-picked at third-party logistic facilities for all the suppliers and trucked directly to the stores.

So let's compare an order made with Amazon and one made at Walmart. The Amazon order is made with pickers standing at a station while robotic carts move stock around them. The Walmart order is made by a worker that walks the retail store gathering items off the shelves alongside customers.

I'm guessing Amazon still has an upper hand at this point.

I'm pretty sure the same was said about Wal-mart before Amazon came along.

The difference with Amazon is that they keep innovating which is something WalMart didn't keep doing. Amazon pours money back into the company. As long as they keep doing that, I don't mind that they lead. When they stop, someone else will step in.

The real difference with Amazon is that they have this captivating story that allows them to not make money. The whole enterprise is very fragile.

Yes, many winning companies have received such compliments before.

Old news. They have this already in China and they have something similar in Germany. In Fact, AFAIK they even had something like this in the former GDR.

Yes, in China it's common to have multiple of these "hubs" from different competitors. Some are refrigerated for grocery deliveries. It's all done by app on your smartphone. Get phone, the app has a QR code that you scan or some have an RFID card. And pop, the lockers with your stuff opens. It's awesome. So convenient to never have to go to the grocery store and still have fresh produce every day. Usually if you order by 9pm it will be delivered before 8am the next day.

I miss how much more convenient things are in China. North America has a long way to go to catch up.

It says from any carrier.

To receive from the usps, among other things, you must have an address, a approved mail receptacle and a safe and secure location.

The "space" in the mailbox is protected and is virtually owned by the usps.

I could not deliver to a box that is not postal approved. I suspect the missing piece of info is an agent would have to palce a parcel into a Hub locker. Like the ups store does today.

Who do they charge for this service? The retailer, the delivery company, the landlord, or the end consumer?

I'm hopeful this will improve deliverability - amazon sellers have noticed recently an increase in items returned because "shipping address undeliverable", and amazon forces us to eat the shipping cost - often on items delivered by Amazon themselves (amazon logistics).

Of course, they're pushing the costs down to crappy vendors and contract people or stuffing packages for USPS to deliver using a loophole where USPS loses $2/box.

The post office is hiring people at $11/hr and working them 60 hours a week until they flame out.

I've seen the op eds claiming a loophole, written by a large FedEx investor. I also read the response and I wasn't convinced that the USPS is losing money.

I suppose if you live in a block of flats, this would be useful.

I tend to use Amazon Lockers a lot anyway, there's one just outside my tube station (Transport for London let Amazon put one there, which I thought was smart)

I'm wondering how anti-theft these are. I (and my neighbors) just lost some mail because some thieves pried open the cluster mailbox. I imagine these would be a really attractive target.

I got a chance to try Amazon Lockers recently while on a trip in Seattle, I can't say anything but good things.

It is very convenient not having to worry about if there will be someone at the time they try to deliver your package or that they just drop it around so it could get lost (specially if it is something expensive)

At least with Amazon Lockers they give you 3 days to pick the package and return it after that, I assume they can do something similar with these, after 3 days packages are returned to the nearest carrier retail outlet.

Such terminals are already nothing new in China. I saw it in a resident estate a year ago and apparently according to what I've heard they're already a common part of people's daily lives. Amazon is just picking it up now.

I am kind of waiting for the day Amazon gets hit with an anti-trust or something.

Amazon is nice, but a bit tired of Amazon's attempt to collect everyone's data about everything.

> but a bit tired of Amazon's attempt to collect everyone's data about everything.

Amazon is the easiest to avoid unlike other online services.

Bezos just got a big target on his head today with the announcement he's now the worlds richest man. Give it a few months.

That's what made be like "It's just a matter of time now".

I really have no issue with Amazon overall. I am just tired of these blatant products to invade privacy (The Echo with the camera and this, and probably a few others I am forgetting)

Seems like UPS Access Point and whatever the equivalent FedEx program is called already mostly solve this for me.

If I'm not home, UPS leaves the package at a nearby participating business (which you can select from a list online if you wish). I picked a check cashing place that's already on my walk home. It's free and they'll hold packages for something like two weeks.

I guess YMMV if you're not in an urban center.

Isn't there a startup out there that will pick up your packages for you when you're out? Or will allow your neighbour to pick them up?

What's wrong with the "pick-up stations" option? I have a list of 9 different places (post office, gas station, optician, pizzeria, drug store, etc.) within 15-minute walking/transit distance which I can select to have my stuff delivered. Alternately I can enter a neighbor's name/address or select a safe place. Is this only an option in Europe?

AusPost has Parcel Lockers which are fantastic, except they won't accept courier deliveries, only "standard" packages (USPS, Royal Mail, Auspost itself). I get a push notification and an SMS. There's a QR code in the app which is used to open the door to the locker.

Strangely, I got two DHL packages recently so maybe they've changed the rules.

Where this will end up is that Amazon will figure out a way to put these at private residential homes [1] and the property owners will be able to earn extra cash. Won't work in all places or on all types of properties but I can definitely see it being possible in certain locations.

[1] After figuring out how to defeat any zoning issues.

We have had a similar product at my University for the past two years. I honestly couldn’t imagine college without it. I have little faith that my residential office could manage that many packages. Plus free next day pickup for most things on Amazon is amazing. Order by 10pm and its there at 8am the next day.

If these things supported refrigeration it would be pretty convenient for future deliveries from Whole Foods

Rakuten introduce same kind of service in 2014, Where you can set your password to unlock box.


Pretty much Australia Post's Parcel Lockers.


Which are actually quite handy!

Isn't this just Amazon Locker? There are ton of them here in Seattle, one right next door to me. Biggest issue is the thing is ALWAYS full so I can never actually get anything shipped to it.

Something like this for international shipments would be awesome.

Wildly unnecessary. Apartment complexes have mailbox systems where they leave a one-time key in your mailbox to a special package-sized box. No touchscreen or Amazon needed.

My apartments have those also, but it's USPS only.

A digital solution seems cheaper and faster than manually walking a physical key to your mailbox.

It's a part of the same mailbox unit that personal boxes are in. You don't walk it anywhere.

Lol, what? It's literally just some metal boxes and keys

well there's a convenient-store version of this in Korea...

which is a +1 for the convenient store (more ppl coming in -- more chance to sell stuff) and +1 for the buyer

Amazon needs to solve the cardboard box overload issue. Too many boxes to break down all the time, and sometimes overfilling the bin.

That and there often being 80% unused extra space inside the box. That's not going to fly when peoples Hubs start overfilling because they are housing mostly air and cardboard.

Every apartment I've ever lived at just has deliveries left at the leasing office. It seems like it works fine.

While at my last job, my apartment office's hours were also my work hours. Luckily I had Mondays off. It felt like some cruel joke, where ordering anything meant waiting almost a week before it was effectively delivered.

Oh, they mean a "mail box".

Is this just Amazon Locker rebranded?

But accepting packages from any sender, not just Amazon orders

Ah cool, thanks missed that. So it's an Amazon branded PO Box :)

Except a US PO Box wouldn't accept other carriers' packages.

That changed a few years ago when the USPS started offering "Street Addressing" for PO Boxes that could accept other couriers' deliveries. But it had some really strange rules around the addressing. You're supposed to use the street address of the post office and your box number, but you're not allowed to use "Box" or "Suite".

I'm afraid to try it, personally...


I'm pretty sure it is.

[off-topic] Anyone else really annoyed by the buggy scroll making the page jump up and down?

My solution is to tell them to leave it round the back, under the verandah

I think we already have it here in Germany, if I understand correctly. DHL is always experimenting with new ways to avoid ringing your doorbell.

How's it get your email?

Not new, and I tried to use it several times, and the boxes at the 7-11 near my house are never free.

What's next? Amazon Buses to get you to work?

So... a mailbox?

Introducing Amazon Chest™ -- A specialty smart container that allows letters and packages to be delivered right to the front of your home. Carriers simply place packages in the receptacle and an app on your phone notifies you that a package or letter has arrived.

Sounds pretty disruptive and innovative to me!!!

Eventually a mailbox with an ip address?

I would pay money to whoever could get rid of snail mail and make mail 100% electronic for me.

Unfortunately USPS are Luddites.


There are mail services that are pretty close to this in practice. Earth Class Mail is an example. Fairly expensive, but if you use them for your mailing address, they will receive the mail, scan the envelope, and provide you the option to have the mail physically forwarded, opened and digitally scanned, and/or junked.

Yes! We could call it electronic mail or e-mail for short.

Am I missing something about Outbox? Why wouldn't they just give the people using this service a P.O box corporate office to use as their 'address' when getting something delivered?

I'm sure they thought of that. Probably some way USPS can refuse to acknowledge it or something.

I've always wondered why private mailbox numbers even need to exist. The numbers could be virtual and all of the packages could be in one place to be retrieved by workers on demand. Perhaps there's some sort of clause USPS has to defeat an idea like that or an arbitrarily low limit for how many #s can be at a physical location etc.

Sending emails over POP

And then 2 hours later, mailbox botnets?

There aren't enough companies doing USEFUL hardware. To see such a handy tool from Amazon is a breath of fresh air. What are some useful hardware companies that you can think of?

I hate Amazon. These guys want to control every aspect of the chain.

Wow that looks like an example of over engineering if I have ever seen one. USPS has been using a simple key system for ages.

This allows oversubscription. With keys everyone needs their own box large enough to hold any parcel they might receive (recall that Amazon sells bass guitars and jumbo packs of toilet paper)

My old apartment had a system with keys. If you got a package they would lock it in the package mailbox and leave the key in your personal mailbox.

I think that is what above comment is referring to. It is nice having a notification, so don't believe its over engineering.

Again, that's only accessible to USPS and requires a locking box per resident (your mailbox).

Every apartment I have lived has a mailbox. Not only accessible to USPS, anyone can use it.

That is a commonly held falsehood. It is against the law for anything other than postage-paid US mail to be placed in a mailbox.


I rented a PO Box for years. They have big parcel lockers and the the key in your box, once you open the parcel box, you cannot remove the key.

Yes, except only USPS can deliver to the key boxes installed on my property currently.

I understand they can't use the same boxes. I just meant that Amazon's system with a built in computer terminal seems excessively complicated, expensive, and error prone.

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