Amazon will know but when you write your review or read someone else's, you won't.
Same problem as counterfeit goods and commingling though iirc there are more control in place on perishables so this aspect of the problem rears its head less often.
[†] they can't, we as customers don't have access to the information to know the route items took to get to us
There is no problem with the complaints. Consumers ordered something, paid for it and got a bad product. They have every right to complain and shouldn't be required to "take into account" operational failures of the company they did business with.
> The expired food might have come from a different seller initially, but you were sent it because of Amazon's supply line optimisations.
How is that the consumer's problem?
In a situation like this, it seems like the best approach is to put pressure on Similac and others to remove their offerings from Amazon.
I think they mean that commingling necessarily eliminates the viability of merchant malfeasance analysis in reading reviews, not that the complainers did anything wrong. Just that you can't trust the products from even the most trustworthy shop because someone _else_ might be trying to cheat the marketplace. The review system applies to products, but mostly it applies to individual product _specimens_. And if you don't know whether bad specimens came disproportionately from a particular merchant, then the real value of reviews has been diminished.
I don't understand these expressions.
"Big table" Google web database https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigtable
"Borg" is the 'kubernetes' inside of Google https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_(cluster_manager)
>Skip the spider.
Maybe an exhortation to not think of being a customer of Amazon like being a spider in a web. Spiders know where the next meal is by vibrations in the fabric of the web, which if we imagine the negative comments as vibrations caused the receipt of a skeevy item from a seller in the network as a naieve attempt to track a skeevy supplier, we're not going to get what we want due to the comingling problem.
Instead, you have to think of Amazon as a big frickin' table onto which everyone throws their stuff. Amazon is basically the de facto merchant in all cases where fulfillment by Amazon is used. Since they bin by item, and not item/source, you get an assimilation going on.
>Borg: Essentially, Amazon is this. They absorb all the uniqueness of all of their suppliers, and essentially dissolve/absolve any particular supplier of singular skeevyness since all the skeevy gets laundered through FBA. Even if you have mostly upstanding sellers, the smaller populations of skeevy sellers benefit, because their fulfillment when picked have a high probability of being good, while the upstanding vendors are guaranteed to eventually eat negative reputation from skeevy merch being used to fulfill their orders.
>Merchant malfeasance analysis is simple: It actually is. You just separate out each source's inventory and track fulfillment from that inventory. Easy-peezy from a data point of view, but incompatible with real world physical constraints. The physics of the matter would be way too infeasible to implement, since there would need to X^n physical buckets where X is the number of items, and n is the number of suppliers of that item. If you were to track every type of item in clearly separated sub inventories keyed by source. That just wouldn't be physically or fiscally possible, because now Amazon needs pickers not just for stuff, but for supplier's of stuff. Suddenly, Amazon is open to potential complaints on relative picker staffing between suppliers, even if you somehow managed to handwave away the physical space requirements.
>The other view is Bullshit. The other view being that the Amazon marketplace backed by FBA allows for any type of reputation based curation. While the marketing team pounds that drum, it won't work in a world with limited physical space, as explained above.
Did I get it right?
- the “spider” being metonymic for Amazon’s web, i.e. the big, apparently tangled, globe-covering supply chain that Amazon has built
- the “big table” to be the proverbial “grown-ups’ table” that Amazon is sitting at, in contrast to the suppliers at the kids’ table
- the rest is clear. You can’t blame the assimilated (suppliers); blame the assimilating Borg (Amazon) and so on
The previous poster clearly means that it is bad that negative reviews can't effectively convey information to consumers on Amazon. I'm sure they don't mean to defend Amazon or suggest that it is not culpable.
I already said I think Amazon is bad and should feel bad.
Not only am I not calling for "external fine grained merchant analysis", I can't find anyone who is, and I don't know what that means.
This argument is so weird that I'm beginning to wonder if you're a bot or farming rep or something, which would actually be pretty funny, and also impressive since you have 35k karma.
Co-mingling? Sellers should be furious, and customer should boycott. Why isn't this just called fraud?
I can't trust Amazon to deliver what I ordered, period. Lesson learned.
I wonder, at what point would it be economical to pay the additional costs to not comingle product?
Would adding "For customer assurance, we do not comingle our product with other products sold on Amazon" yield additional purchases? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if nobody looks at your posting because it's 3-20% more exoensive than the knockoffs.
My hypothetical batteries might be more expensive but depending on your needs, they might be a better value.
No direct additional cost.
But then you need to apply seller-specific FBA barcodes to all your units (or pay Amazon to apply them for $0.20 per unit).
Also, if you are producing counterfeit items, presumably your costs are lower, so you're actually _better_ equipped to absorb the "no comingle" surcharge than the legitimate seller.
Talk about perverse incentives and enabling.
You can't "move fast and break things" if those things are basic food and safety regs.
Wouldn't that make them responsible for the expiry dates? And a whole lot of other things to boot?
Further, if I were an FBA seller, I would probably avoid shipping in expired goods in case they are checked. There's also the issue of goods passing expiry if they are warehoused too long.
I suspect many of the expired food sellers are actually FBM, just like the used book sellers. Avoids a lot of potential headaches associated with FBA.
Why do you think the booksellers don't use FBA? We see plenty of FBA sellers listing used books as new.
As a battle scarred developer, I'm primed to think about issues like some algorithm decided LIFA was faster than FIFO, and it's worth my time to investigate whether my coworker didn't differentiate between perishable and non-perishable because they were so pleased with their shortest route algorithm that they couldn't be bothered by trivialities like reality and biology. They'll probably even blame it on their boss instead of on avoiding confrontation.
Why should they take comingling into account? Why should I, as a customer, care? I don't want to know the details of your implementation. I don't care. I ordered some stuff. I gave you money: ship me the stuff I ordered.
Don't ship me some other similar stuff that isn't what I ordered, and don't ship me what I did order but in bad shape. Ship me what I ordered and paid for, and ship it in good condition.
All you've told me with your statement is that the implementation sucks, and now you're trying to blame me for it.
No, I'm sorry: Amazon commingling sucks.
I know I sound grumpy, and will readily admit this is a first world problem, but I've just gone through nearly three weeks of arsing around to get an item returned substantially because of what appears to be a comingling issue. Who has the time for this? Comingling sucks. It needs to stop.
 Although I obviously can't be entirely sure it isn't the third party sellers fault.
If they can, they can penalize that seller, not the other seller (who won the sale).
I'm assuming Amazon has a unique id for every individual item in their warehouses. I'm not sure this is the case, but it seems likely given how their warehouses are organized and the location of stuff is very mixed up and only known to computers. (It would also be sufficient if they have unique ids for lots. If one seller sends 10 identical perishable items and Amazon groups those on a shelf together, they can still trace it back to the right seller.)
Correct, they can't trace it, so they can't penalize.
> I'm assuming Amazon has a unique id for every individual item in their warehouses.
They don't. If they did, there would be some kind of unique bar code on every item you received from Amazon.
The actual advantage of commingling comes from the fact that amazon doesn't have to distribute every sellers items across the US. They can just send you one from the closest warehouse.
The rule would be that you can put two products together if they are either the same seller (in which case you don't need to distinguish) or a different product (in which case you can distinguish visually).
Amazon already mixes different products in the same slot in order to optimize space anyway.
For example, a common thing to do on conveyors is to have reusable open-top plastic bins called "totes". (Think of going through airport security where you stick your luggage items into a plastic tray or tub that sits on the conveyor as it goes through the x-ray machine.) The totes can have barcodes on them, which can be used to track whatever is inside the tote.
Amazon could use a system like that to individually track items as they're being moved on and off shelves. And while on the shelves, it could track items by position (a database saying this particular item is on that position of that shelf). By combining these two things, they could track the position of individual items without sticking barcodes on them.
I don't know whether Amazon actually does this. I'm just saying it's not impossible.
This article has comments from Amazon US spokesman who confirms it is the same over there: https://outline.com/4R7fp6
They don't need to label each product, they just need to know which location it came from and store different sellers products in different locations, which they do.
See also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21244240, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20549623, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13952939, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12062856
This comes up often.
That is fine for complaints raised directly through the specific complaint channel(s).
It doesn't help with complaints recorded as (or as part of) reviews, which might not have a corresponding official complaint. If I see mention of expiry dates and similar issues in reviews I don't have any assurance that this refers to the supply of product I'd be getting items from if I ordered.
People will often not bother with an official complaint unless it is an expensive item that they want a refund on, they instead go the "less paperwork" route of leaving a negative review, binning the item, and ordering from elsewhere.
For example, on the product review page, right now they have a blank called "Write your review". Instead, they could require you to indicate what kind of feedback you're offering, giving choices like "review the product itself" and "review the performance of Joe Schmoe, the seller for order #1234 on date 456" and with no default selected. Or just give you two blanks labeled "product review" and "seller review".
You also raise another issue which is that there's baggage associated with raising an official complaint. People don't necessarily want to deal with it, or they don't want to cause trouble and feel like filing a complaint is the nuclear option. I'm sure Amazon's attitude is that if something is wrong it should be made right, but that's not what every customer realistically wants.
"This terrible thing has happened in an area you're responsible for and you failed to catch/address it. Is this because you didn't have the required resources, because you're incompetent, or because you're corrupt? If it was resources, what do you need and why didn't you have it?"
Amazon took my cash, amazon should be responsible. The fact that they can't keep track of the goods they sell (also seems to be a problem with counterfeits) is their problem, even if they do their best to blame their suppliers.
They can keep track. The do keep track.
So it isn't a problem for them unless it causes enough issues for us (the buyers) that we start going elsewhere and affecting the bottom line. We don't have access to that information, so we can't track the matter. Perhaps even the vendors can't either (I've never sold via Amazon so don't know at all).
[though others are saying the commingling does not affect products with expiry dates so we may be a little off topic for this sub-thread, unless that only applies to expiry dates and not best before dates which have difference legal standing - the discussion has got to the point where speculation is getting wilder and an injection of some cited facts may be needed to rein it in]
If I get salmonella from lettuce at a grocery store, I still get to hold the grocery store accountable, even if the farmer was to blame.
“Item not as described / book clearly used / food item out of date, but probably came from a commingled bin so possibly not the result of the seller I purchased from. Full marks, five stars, perfect ten.”?
There are multiple sellers for the same product and they could definitely have bad/old inventory - and they will win the buy box with the lowest price - but it’s still not commingled.
In my experience Amazon ships:
Food that is expired or fake
Drugs that are expired or fake
Batteries that are expired or fake
I've even received fake diapers! Very well done fakes too: we only noticed because of a very small logo that are included in the real ones.
I use Amazon only for high ticket items that are unlikely to harm me, and then only because of their easy return policy (Epson, I'm looking at you)
1) because your local store doesn't have it (stores run out of things like the specific shampoo or deoderant or detergent all the time, e.g. probably 2/3 of the time they have regular Tide but not Tide Unscented)
2) because depending on the item, it can be 30-50% cheaper on Amazon (drugstore prices in Manhattan are highway robbery), or
3) because you need another $5 or $10 item to meet the free shipping threshold, so might as well stock up on Q-tips because you'll need them eventually.
Also, expired/fake items are extremely rare, despite the media attention. In about a decade of ordering many, many hundreds of items on Amazon, I once received a counterfeit camera battery (which was quickly refunded) and once received a jar of nuts that was close to, but not at, its expiration. (I also try to order items sold by Amazon directly, and I've never personally been hit by a comingling issue.)
So... that's why.
I've never had a defective or counterfeit order in more than 100+ orders on Amazon of electronics, household items, or foodstuffs. And yes, I've checked.
How do you avoid counterfeits, etc on Amazon?
Simple: never buy from a seller that isn't Amazon.com. They don't commingle their own inventory with third party sellers. Commingling is merely a "feature" they offer to other sellers.
They maintain their inventory separately for product liability law reasons. In a nutshell, if they don't under most US product liability laws, Amazon is strictly liable for all damages related to the use (including potentially misuse) of a defective product they sold.
Presumably with the following logic:
* I went to Big Box Computer Store and they tried to charge me $$$ for a gold-plated Monster USB cable when I could get a perfectly good one for much less online.
* Therefore, there's precedent for me finding things online for a fraction of the price at big box retailers.
* Amazon has a pack of 8 Duracell-brand AA batteries for half the price of the nearest supermarket.
Are you sure they're not counterfeit?
I’m looking at a box of batteries I received last week. They expire in 2020.
Sometimes, it's comparing a one hour drive to the nearest town vs. waiting one day for free shipping.
Or just this.
I've personally never had any issues with Amazon in terms of quality, but would never buy anything from them I put in my body - I usually stick to electronics of value < £100.
Old habits die hard, but I'm now at the breaking point.
I was initially going to buy it on the way home, but I was so annoyed by how much it cost in store that I refused to buy it, even though the difference wasn't significant.
Why wouldn't these issues affect any business with a sizable logistics chain? There are no guarantees of authenticity of goods at your local brick and mortar stores either.
Amazon flips this on it's head by having a super-loose affiliation with people selling on it's platform. Turns out, when you break chains of responsibility, people act irresponsibly. This tale is as old as time.
If Amazon wants to fix this problem they should just get out of the independent seller game and let it go back to eBay. Amazon is tarnishing its brand image for low-margin shenanigans and it's just not worth it.
When I worked with a big box store long ago, some manufacturers even audited our inventory when they bought end-caps, etc. Stuff like ink cartridges would be checked by vendor reps.
In other words, Amazon knows about the sellers who ship expired goods yet lets them continue to operate. It has the data and it still fails to take one of the easiest steps to address the problem, removing bad actors from the marketplace (which would also make many other sellers clean up their acts).
I've had a similar issue with buying books advertised as "new" and they are clearly used ... including one book that had a "USED" sticker on it. I complained about the seller, and nothing happened. As of the last time I checked this seller was still in business on Amazon, with 22% negative ratings in the last 30 days.
The message to third-party sellers is clear:
Win the buy box however you can. We won’t police your listings. We won’t punish you if you lie about the condition of the goods. Even if many of Amazon’s customers are complaining about you, you can still stay in business on Amazon.
I have anecdata contrary to this. We used to buy gluten free bread from Amazon because of my son’s gluten allergy. It was a pain to buy locally so we would buy 4 loaves at a time from Amazon. We started getting expired loaves from some seller. It happened multiple times, to about 50% of the orders. This bread has a long shelf life so these loaves were months old.
We got reimbursed multiple times through the automated return system but it continued. Finally my wife called to complain. They apologized, gave us some credit, and said they look into it. The next time we got expired bread again. She called again and they promised they’d remove the seller. Indeed they did something this time. The bread was unavailable for about a month and when it came back we never had another expired loaf delivered.
I think Amazon does listen. What they don’t seem to do is listen to people who complain in reviews. Reach out to Amazon directly if you want to complain about a real issue with a seller.
I’d rather pay more and support a reputable manufacturer or vendor directly.
Target/Home Depot/Lowes also helps, I know what I buy from them doesn't come from a random reseller, and I don't have to filter through reseller garbage on their website either. They also have pickup in store options, as well as showing me where the items are in the store if I need to go find them. Also, I don't recall waiting in line more than a couple minutes.
I just happen to use those stores as an example, I'm sure many others offer the same benefits. Point is, I don't want to worry about counterfeit, commingled, and all that nonsense. I also know sometimes Amazon hides the option to only show items shipped and sold by Amazon.com, and based on their attempts to deceive me, I assume they intentionally break search to make it not as easy to find things.
The last shipment was just left somewhere in the building that I sublet in. Luckily the guy who runs that office was nice enough to complete the delivery. And before that they had apparently just lost an entire shipment of 24 orders. They were all marked as delivered, but nobody had any way to change that in the system so they wanted me to call customer service.
They were great about 10 years ago when I first signed up for Prime. I don't trust them anymore and will advise all of my friends not to trust Amazon for anything.
If Amazon sells something tainted with lead, we get a bunch of corporate apologia about co-mingling and nothing changes.
Most people probably complain zero times. Posting negative reviews of a product is a poor way to give feedback about a bad seller.
It’s possible that what you’re describing happened, but I’m not investing the time and energy to try to “trap them” like this. I also don’t think it’s terribly likely. I believe it was also FBA so they don’t have control over what item gets sent to which customer.
Sometimes it’s a bit of a failure on both sides (e.g. BigCo also fails to notify about the abuse on the other account). Sometimes it’s just bullshit on the part of the complainer (e.g. Endless public protestations of innocence from someone who was actually sharing child pornography). I’m too jaded to trust the intentions of corporations, but I’m also too jaded to blindly trust the claims of those who assert they’ve been screwed over, especially when my gut says the story doesn’t make sense.
I’m slightly ashamed to admit I was actually at BN at the time where they were selling it for $30. But I did spend $100 during that trip, on books that were comparably priced to Amazon.
I assume Cursed Child is an outlier because I’d guess a huge number of people are buying it expecting it to be something it’s not, and then likely returning or offloading the book in disappointment.
Obviously no one made money on the transaction so I assume it was a buggy algorithm, but I’m not complaining!
In my experience Amazon reliably push expired product back to the seller, at least using the dates that were declared by the seller. This does not stop a seller from claiming what they like, I suppose.
Five out of _?
We should care about the proportion, and should consider some time decay (maybe the issues were a decade ago).
The acceptable number of customers to send expired food is zero percent.
It's not a complex or unusual requirement to make sure your goods are in-date - any properly designed warehouse management system will take care of this. This is absolutely table stakes if you're going to deliver food.
Unopened baby formula has a shelf life of 6 months+ when properly stored, so they've got a gigantic margin of error here. It'd be pretty poor customer service to ship baby formula that only had 2 months of its 6 month shelf life remaining. There's really no excuse for shipping expired baby formula.
With multiple supplier deliveries that result in combined stock with multiple expiration dates, how do you ensure expired food isn't delivered?
Because I assume a warehouse doesn't keep a separate shelf spot for each separate delivery of a unique expiration date?
And also, the expiration dates are printed on products in places that can be hard to find and hard to read. (Every time I buy bacon or greens I spent sixty seconds trying to find where the hell the date is on the plastic.)
It's also generally not cost-effective on low-margin food items to print out and scan a unique label for each item that would allow the expiration date to be machine-readable.
So I've always just assumed new deliveries try to be put in a warehouse bin behind/under existing items, and workers try to check visually for expired items, but that neither of those will ever be perfect.
So what's the properly designed warehouse management system that solves for this?
Actually, that's pretty much what we do.
If the goods arrive from the supplier as a whole pallet of a single product, every item on the pallet will have the same expiry date, and you track each pallet separately.
If the goods arrive on a pallet with a variety of products on it, you split it up by product then do exactly the same thing.
The warehouse management system knows where each pallet is, and what its expiry date is. If a pallet has expired, workers picking items are sent to to non-expired pallets instead, and someone working on 'purge' is sent to remove the expired goods for donation/recycling/discarding as appropriate.
You need a system like this if you want any chance of selling things like bread, because gaining or losing one or two days of product life makes the difference between a customer who'll shop again and one who won't.
They can, of course, print any expiry date on it they like. But they're also pretty motivated not to poison their customers, which is widely seen as bad business practice :)
In our case we do carry out random spot checks on inbound goods, but that's mainly checking for things like bruising on fresh fruit and vegetables.
The defence that "this isn't technologically possible" isn't at all a defence. The _most_ charitable interpretation would be that this is Amazon stress-testing how well they can handle co-mingling of various product lines... but that's still not great if they don't pull the experiment immediately after realizing they can't.
Maybe the customer saw a good deal, or had a visit from a rich relative who wanted to do something nice to help them out, and knowing the product lasts 6+ months, ordered a 3 month supply.
If the stuff that turns up has a shorter life than they expect, they're going to be disappointed which is bad for your reputation, and they may get a refund causing you to make a loss on the order.
The same applies to a loaf of bread or a pack of batteries or almost anything else with an expiry date.
Of course if you were explicitly listing the product as discounted due to short shelf life, and your website was clear enough users couldn't overlook that by accident, it's fine - but AFAIK Amazon doesn't have different listings for different shelf lives of the same product.
> And note that it doesn't turn toxic after it's expiration date
Sure, but there's a market rate for expired goods, and it's way lower than the market rate for non-expired goods. If you're selling expired goods to customers who thought they were getting non-expired goods, you're ripping them off and it's fair for them to want a refund.
For the example I cited earlier of a 22% negative rating in the previous 30 days, that represented dozens of negative reviews.
Yeah, I wonder if companies are so big complaints are just noise to them that isn't even really looked at. I feel like I'm just a number that doesn't matter to any of these companies. Then also feel like a lot of the reps at companies are powerless, given limited training, tools and relies a lot on scripts.
Some of these companies are huge, and some things are free like say Gmail. So I feel with all these internet companies, support is a challenge it seems for both the company and the customer sadly. Even the local cable company has a help link but it's just a knowledge base, they hide their phone number on another page now. I do like the approach of letting people try to solve issues on their own, but being able to talk to someone would be nice.
About 2 years ago, I found a app on the iPhone App Store that would popup the in-app purchase by itself randomly, so when you go to exit the app using the home button Touch ID would then buy it for you using your fingerprint. I did get a refund though, less than $4 purchase but pretty scary that's possible. On newer iPhones with FaceID and the side button maybe it's less likely to happen since you pull down to go home instead of pushing a physical button.
I figured the app would of been removed, but just checked it and seen a review from this year with the same problem...
Then some big companies, everything is different departments walled off from each other, which unsure if they really communicate with each other. Just seems like support is pretty poor in general in tech, but other industries too like calling up your health insurance company due to a billing mistake. The other thing that super annoys me too, is when you get transfered from agent to agent it's like you have to start over again with companies. Not sure why they can't transfer a note and your account info already pulled up to the next agent. Have to repeat yourself over and over, was helping a relative set up a new phone and the transfer didn't seemed to go through, and got transferred like 6 times same and same. Gave up, and decided to just buy a new phone, transfer worked and then return the other phone. You just get the runaround, and feel powerless.
Someone I follow who does the full time RV life was having trouble with his insurance company after changing his domicile to South Dakota, and after playing the phone game he just got sick of them and switched companies. Both companies had full time policies, but seemed like someone didn't know what they were doing. So due to poor customer support, they lost a loyal customer they had since he was a teenager driving, making payments on time, good record, etc. I guess some things are easier to switch though, just deciding to shop somewhere else or pay your money to another company and get a new proof of insurance card. While say switching phone or computer operating systems might be more difficult, especially if you like or rely on apps not available on the other platform.
So something I think about, and would worry me about having my own startup, as I feel like support is key from the training, processes to the people. As the people they interact with is representing the company. Wouldn't surprise me if you get big enough, there's consultants too but it's a fear of getting this area wrong. Ideally things should work in the first place though. Plus I think doing things in house, who knows your products might be better than outsourcing. One call could be for company A, next call could be company B, etc so they are just jumping around and might not even be familiar with products.
1) Review all negative ratings prior to a purchase
2) Refuse to buy anything that's less then 4/5 stars.
Let's say the snack bars come in a package of 10 and the expiration date is 2 days from now. Do you want to be forced choose between eat 5 bars a day or throwing some of them out?
If the alternative is to buy them from some other source that will give you a package that doesn't expire for 2 months (for the same price, all other things being equal, etc.), then that is indeed a more attractive offer.
With the exception of infant formula, the dates on food products are not expiration dates. They are sell-by, use-by, or best-by dates.
Sell-by dates tell when the store should remove the product. If you buy the item by then, and consume it at a normal rate, it should be fine.
Use-by and best-by dates are when the item is at peak quality or flavor. It doesn't go bad right after those dates--it just isn't as good.
For items like snack bars, it is probably a sell-by date. Use-by and best-by dates are more appropriate for items that spoil fairly rapidly, or that are reasonably freshly made. A 10 pack of snack bars with a sell-by date 2 days in the future should be no problem.
Infant formula has separate labeling rules. It does give the date after which you should not use it.
Thus, even if you're receive it 2 days from that date, you should still have enough time to eat them at your leisure and still be fine.
There are still some things I have to go through great lengths to buy other places (Furnace filters for a reasonable price, mouse bait station poison etc) but I think it's worth it. I don't give Amazon a dollar if I can help it.
For everything else, there is Walmart NextDay service.
Everything else, even living in the First World large Global City (Toronto), I find it easier to just go out to stores to do quick check and buy with piece of mind.
I'm pretty much done with Amazon. They're betting against people actually getting frustrated and leaving, but I haven't ordered in a few months and I will get rid of my prime membership.
If Amazon insisted on shipping an identical product out of a west coast fulfillment center to an east coast customer for which they had a fulfillment center 20 miles away holding the same SKU, they would not be able to offer the kind of service that they do.
“Comingling” is the fundamental basis for them to leverage their scale to provide unmatched service. It’s essential to their business model precisely because how enormously valuable it is to Amazon and to its customers, and the way it gets better with scale, despite the concomitant lesser inconveniences.
Fundamentally, Amazon still knows exactly which seller provided each buyer with each item, despite there being only a single shared product page. So they already have all the data, and of course they are using it internally to track per-seller review scores, refund rates, etc.
We’re shifting more and more spend away from Amazon due to this, and counterfeits due to commingling.
Yes, I've gotten a few bad items from Amazon. I've also gotten bad items from brick and mortar stores as well. (I recently had a bunch of items go bad from Trader Joe's long before their sell-by date.)
At this point, if I'm looking for a popular brand-name product, and it doesn't have some impossible-to-fake functionality (like booting iOS), I assume by default that there are fakes commingled into Amazon's inventory.
Otherwise, I can't complain at all. Sometimes, the stuff is crap, but you kind of expect that when you are buying cheap generic stuff - if you really want to see cheap junk, go to an Ocean State Job Lot or Dollar General.
I'm not saying they are perfect or even a good company overall. Just that scenarios like this generally fall below the noise floor and yet still get lots of press.
Scare stories: One friend found a live snail in her supermarket salad. Another friend found a cutting blade in a tin of cat food. I've personally purchased in-date bread from a shop and it was covered in mold spores between the slices. In a shop in Spain their milk had sunlight directly on it (and it was very hot), resulting in lumpy milk.
But the vendors will state this.
It’ll then take me another 4-5 years to go through the bottle of 500 :)
But that's NOT what we're talking about here. That's a different discussion.
It seems like an exaggeration, the listing states that the product got a 4.5/5 rating.(https://www.amazon.com/Teavana-Beach-Bellini-2-lbs/dp/B07B3Q...)
Same here. It happens. It’s harmless.
If it’s a big deal to you, go to the store and pick things out yourself.
A physical store that does not have a reasonable process to ensure that expired goods are not available for sale is not qualified to operate safely, if it does it repeatedly, then it should be shut down - it's like a restaurant with rats running around.
Also the majority of expirations other than “Use by” are non binding
* "Use By" dates are legally binding and are placed on products that are dangerous when expired, for example raw meat.
* "Best Before" date goes on Tomatoes and other goods where you only need to indicate that product is fresh.
I don't blame the companies for wanting to ship the items that are about to expire, but please apply some common sense. If the amount is more than an average family could reasonable consume within a week, then may mix the items in with other with later expiration date.
It’s just being wasteful.
It's my hard earned money...whether Amazon is selling me expired food that is a safety concern or just a quality concern issue (which FYI is not accurate for all foods), I don't want to be sold shit quality expired food. I certainly don't care to be told I'm being wasteful for not accepting and eating the shit quality expired food. They can separate and sell that for discount if they want, not mix it in with non-expired food at the same price...that's false advertising, fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Also, it's fine when you shop in a store and decide to buy expired food because you know you'll eat them soon. But what if you want to stockpile 1 year of baby formula and amazon delivers already expired formula ? Same for pet food, &c.
(I get that this is a small distinction, but they likely aren't doing all that much work to extend the shelf life, they don't need to)
If some manufacturer put something unsafe into a food product, I would blame the manufacturer. Seems pretty cut and dry. On the other hand, if Walmart was stocking expired food I would blame Walmart because they should be responsible tracking inventory and maintaining a safe environment. Seems pretty cut and dry.
Why does Amazon seem different to me? More importantly, should they be seen as different?
This would be an equivalent analogy. Does THAT seem different than going into Walmart and buying from inside Walmart?
I canceled my prime membership about 18 months ago and do my online shopping mostly through ebay or occasionally direct from the manufacture or approved reseller if it is an obscure item or something that is likely to be counterfeit (flash storage, batteries, etc). It has come out significantly cheaper (although there is no more 2 day shipping, so value that at what you will) and generally been a much more pleasant experience.
So even if you order from known good retailers, or Amazon themselves if party B puts bad products into the warehouse you can end up with bad or fake products.
I operate a supply chain company who works for Amazon 3rd party sellers.
The option existing for you makes absolutely no difference to how much I trust the system if information about (or even the existence of) the option is not something I know.
You can reduce risk further by buying Amazon essentials or Amazon's own brands, such as Whole Foods brands.
Amazon shareholders should be asking management why they think the cost savings of commingling are worth the loss of brand value and trust. Higher income people don’t care about spending more money if it saves them time, so why waste that good will?
I don't buy from small sketchy local stores either.
Bought a microwave from Walmart that came in a severely damaged carton, although there were no dents or scratches. But the microwave died a few months later. Never again.
Besides, Walmart was a huge factor in killing the downtowns of many small and medium sized towns and cities.
tldr; Anything perishable is supposed to have several expiration date labels on it in large format, and nothing can be sent into Amazon that expires within 90 days. Amazon says they will dispose of anything received with less than 90 days remaining before it expires.
There are a number of things that could be going wrong here. I operate a supply chain company which works with 3rd party sellers, so I'll focus on what I'm exposed to.
One issue could be Amazon's labeling requirements. They actually require a separate label in MM-DD-YYYY format to be affixed to each product. This sounds good on paper, but in reality it means the seller or sometimes a 3rd party warehouse can put whatever they want on the label. Generally, sellers are honest about this, but mistakes do happen and Amazon doesn't necessarily verify what these labels say.
Beyond that, commingling can compound the issue. Say you have 5 businesses selling the same product, and one of them is fudging their expiration dates. It becomes fairly difficult to track down which seller is fudging the dates. This is one reason I recommend all my customers not commingle their inventory (it's an option the seller can choose).
Supply chains can also have wildly varying temperatures. Many sellers choose to work with climate controlled warehouses, but don't consider the trucks used to move their inventory aren't climate controlled. It's highly possible a product meant to be stored at 70F will sit in a 110F truck for 3 days before being checked in at Amazon.