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Amazon Prime delivery delays are now as long as a month (vox.com)
308 points by juokaz on March 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 329 comments

I've gotten all of my prime orders in 3 or 4 days recently instead of 2. They've all been health or personal product related orders. This is perfectly acceptable given the circumstances.

In my opinion, Amazon is doing an incredible job of adapting to a radical increase in demand. I don't know what their volume spike is, but it must be huge and the only effect is slow shipping in some non-essential items.

They've really built an incredible infrastructure. (I don't work for them, I don't own any of their stock.)

Same here. I've had a few delays longer than that - but those were for some canned goods via Amazon Pantry. Two weeks of delays and estimates.

No biggie, I still remember when Amazon was just a bookstore, and everyone got groceries and supplies at their nearest retail outlet(s).

I'd be fascinated to be in some of the operations/SRE rooms at AWS. There should be some interesting content from engineering blogs this year.

That changed last night. My wife is such a frequent user of Amazon Prime that I wonder sometimes if I should register as an Amazon Fulfillment Center. But last night, after our hair dryer failed, Amazon Prime would only guarantee delivery by April 21.

The good news is Wal-Mart's model relies on their existing stores, not fulfillment centers. Wal-mart's delivery times are still fairly short.

Thank gawd you didn't have to wait for something as absolutely essential as a hair dryer.

doesn't Wal Mart still use drop shippers for some of the online inventory?

Those products are clearly called out on its website.

I'm also impressed with how much cheaper Walmart is than Amazon for a large number of the things I just ordered.

We need an aggregator that compares prices between Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. for the same or similar SKUs. It'd be even better if you could build your cart with it and then it put together the relevant orders with each service. (This maybe already exists, I just haven't searched for it.)

You can do this to some extent with UPCItemDB and BrickSeek.

3rd party retailers, but same difference I guess. Personally I look for things that offer ship-to-store since this is using Walmart's own logistics network.

Are they refunding the price of the degraded service?

I went to order a booster seat for a new childcare provider tonight and it says April 21 and everything up until now had been 2–3 days so, no, they’re not doing a great job here.

FYI, obrajesse has this to say about the April 21st delivery date in response to my comment:

> Multiple items I’ve ordered this weekend with April 21 or later delivery dates got their dates moved up by 3+ weeks after order.

I can tell you that, as a seller, we’ve been seeing 2-3 additional days for delivery vs. normal. There’s not really a reason I can think of that delivery dates would suddenly get delayed by an additional 3-4 weeks. Delivery times should degrade gradually as demand ramps up. My personal hunch is that Amazon is setting expectations super low (or there’s a big!).

There is definitely some expectation setting going on. I ordered an item Saturday that it said would arrive Thursday. I received notification last night it would arrive today (Monday).

I am, however, of the mind that some China reliant items might be sometime (from any supplier, not just Amazon). It now seems impossible to find a bread maker for instance in the UK and there is no company seemingly expecting any stock anytime soon.

Happily, you don't need a bread maker to make bread! There are lots of recipes online that just require hand kneading, an oven, and a pan.

(I know this doesn't address your larger point, but maybe it helps you make bread without a bread maker, so I feel like it's worth mentioning anyway.)

Here in the US, bread machines often end up on the shelves on second hand stores like Goodwill and Savers. Certainly, it involves going to a store to purchase one (and relies on said store being open), but it is an option.

My wife ordered a monitor since she is now wfh indefinitely and only has a small macbook- It originally said April 21st but showed up on our door about 2-3 days later like our other shipments do. Its possible that they may have reclassified a monitor to the "essential" category but my feeling was that they are bluffing a bit- or maybe just trying to under promise, but in reality things are arriving in typical timeframes.

Keep in mind though that this resilience is at the expense of thousands of workers who have to forego their own social distancing and risk their own healths so that we can get our next prime delivery in 3-4 days.

Amazon isn't run by robots. There are real humans who are going through hell to support this increase in demand.

It's also worth pointing out under (the old) normal conditions Amazon warehouse workers already had to put their health and wellbeing at risk every shift. I'm not familiar with health benefits for the average Amazon distribution center worker but I hope they get something more than BezosBux to spend at whatever urgent care operator happens to be a sister company.

Amazon has always exploited its labor force; that's why they are in the position to dial things up as needed to meet demand surges.

Amazon provides perfectly good blue collar jobs.

That woke academics see physical labor as hell says a lot about them, and about the disconnect between these entirely separate communities.

I'd like to balance all of this concern for the worker with a broader perspective.

Consider that business isn't charity.

If Amazon made a promise to deliver in 2 days, and I'm paying for that benefit, doesn't that mean I have the right to demand that benefit or be compensated? Does a pandemic mean that Amazon has the right to profit at my expense?

Isn't it a bit self-centered to say "Well, I can afford to toss money away on Prime membership without reaping the benefits, therefore anyone can"? What about those who rely on Prime membership and use it heavily but aren't rich enough to waste money on a service that isn't provided?

Now if normal delivery endangers the health and lives of deliverymen, then would it not make sense to ask for compensation from Amazon?

Only if your refund doesn't go to you but directly in the pockets of the workers, then yes.

Why would I pay Amazon's workers for not delivering on managements promise? The entrepreneur should pay. Management should pay the workers to work, and only take money from customers for services delivered as promised. If Prime prices go up after current contracts expire, that's fine. Jeff Bezos doesn't need my charity.

HN bubble in full effect right here. Congrats on your privileged life right now friend.

Amazon's treatment of its physical laborers resembles a high tech version of early 20th century factory labor. It is frankly surprising they have not had some kind of modern equivalent of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

It's the height of demagoguery to support your argument with evidence that you freely admit doesn't exist. Do you have any evidence that Amazon is anywhere near as dangerous as a crowded locked room with no fire safety machinery?

Yeah, I do. But you seem to be more interested in preemptive accusations and frankly I don't have time for that kind of a "discussion". I don't expect to convince you, and I don't care to. Cheers!

Wow - it’s like a rage quit!

Lol I assure you, there was no rage. Just protecting my time. :)

Racing around a hot warehouse for miles a day while a handheld device counts down the seconds before you risk losing your job while you try to hold it in because you can't afford a bathroom break does not sound like a good blue collar job to me.

It's dehumanizing.

People consider coal mining to be a good blue collar job, and I bet it's 100x worse.

Coal mine owners also abuse their employees for profit, but this is about Amazon.

If the worst thing you can say about a job is that you might lose it, maybe it's a good job -- probably the best job. They aren't trapped in a farm in a company town getting ripped off by the company store where they can't leave for 3months. They aren't visa hostages. It seems your criticism of Amazon should be leveled at every single other employer offering worse.

Sounds like a good idea. This time the discussion is about Amazon.

Welcome to blue collar life.

"This is normal" is a long way from "this is okay." Don't mistake frustration at the status quo for ignorance about the status quo.

Sounds like you actually do "see physical labor as hell" as I semi jokingly suggested.

Or is it maybe all employment work?

[I'm only 1/4 sarcastic and 3/4 actually curious.]

Excuse me but did you just call me an academic?

Amazon's health benefits are actually quite good for entry level positions. Those benefits are a big reason Amazon's warehouse workers put up with the low wages and exploitation, at least in the US.

And that’s the disgusting part of our system.

We can’t switch jobs or start a business because our health and well being is tied up with an employer. It’s possible that switching jobs means switching doctors or foregoing care.

And I’d say that the worst part about employers subsidizing healthcare is that they gladly do it because it’s essentially untaxed salary.

If my employer wasn’t allowed to subsidize healthcare, they’d have to pay me more and that extra pay would be subject to payroll tax.

So the whole system incentivizes employers to lobby for this terrible system of employer-based private for-profit health insurance. Big companies love it because it’s a way in which they can trap employees and snuff out competition from smaller businesses.

I'm not sure how glad. Health insurance is a cost center, your employer probably has no competitive advantage in getting it, and employees seem to undervalue it (everyone who starts COBRA is shocked how expensive the coverage always was).

Theoretically a company like Amazon should be able to provide masks, goggles and health monitoring to its workers to minimize the possibility of a COVID19 outbreak among them. It’s in Amazon’s business interests to do so (or risk business disruption due to outbreak among their workforce).

It’s also better for society that the congregations of people shift from many geographically scattered and difficult-to-monitor locations to a few single operations like Amazon warehouses that can be very closely monitored and screened for COVID19. Amazon’s warehouses can be more cheaply monitored and supplied with PPE than all of society can.

This should probably be part of SOP for responding to outbreaks like this.

Amazon is trying to source masks for its employees, but is having trouble sourcing them[1].

[1]: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/22/21189881/apple-donating-m...

I'm surprised they can't get them made on whatever lines make AmazonBasics products. (Do they not yet sell AmazonBasics HEPA filters?)

Pretty sure those are made in China. That would put a wrench in those plans.

They could theoretically.

They could also theoretically provide adequate bathroom breaks for their workers.

Previous history hints at what we will see.

Amazon jobs require a strong bladder and God bladder management. They retain people with strong bladders and good bladder management. If they couldn't fill the roles with strong bladder employees, they'd have to relax that requirement.

Now they're going to have strong bladder management + strong touch your face management. :)

On a more serious note, I wonder if there are scenarios where asymptomatic carriers can contaminate packages sent to many geographically diverse locations?

Hospitals can't even get enough masks and other PPE, I'm not so sure that Amazon would be able to source a reliable supply even if they wanted to.

And imagine the outcry about those evil capitalists if Amazon did manage to source PPE while hospitals cannot.

> Theoretically a company like Amazon should be able to provide masks, goggles and health monitoring to its workers

Theoretically yeah, but practically Amazon is driven by people with short-term profits in mind, so you don't see this happening. In the ideal world, capitalists realizes that if their customers / workforce goes out of jobs because of sickness, they won't earn as much. But seems that's too much future thinking, so business are trying to extract as much value they can before they'll be forced to shut down.

Amazon is actually defined by long-term thinking, which was heavily criticized for over a decade while their stock remained flat. It's hard to imagine now, but people didn't really believe in the company until about 2009.

Jeff Bezos' letter to shareholders, 1997:

It's All About the Long Term

Because of our emphasis on the long term, we may make decisions and weigh tradeoffs differently than some companies... We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.


This seems pretty standard when you ask executives at any company. Of course no executive is gonna go straight out and say they don't care about the long-term, only about short-term profitability.

> Hey Joe, does your company emphasis on the long term or short-term profitability?

> Joe: What a good question! We at ACME AB of course favor long-term sustainability rather than short-term profitability

> How about letting your warehouse workers go to the bathroom whenever they want?

> Joe: well, our long-term plan depends on short-term profitability so of course people can't go to the bathroom whenever they want, they should have a allocated slot for that.

Point being: look at the actions of a company rather than the words of the owners/workers, and you'll get a much more real picture.

How about you start by taking a look at Amazon's 25 year history of long term growth at the expense of negative short term profit?

You mean like eschewing short term pandering to the market and massively reinvesting in the company? Like they've done for years. So, yes, Amazon thinks long term.

While Amazon clearly does not have their workers best interest in mind, this is not a short-term profit driven company. On the contrary, Amazon is focused on growing and solidifying its long-term position at the expense of short-term profits.

The company doesn't do anything by itself. It's all driven by people, and people who work in a company changes. Effectively any company participating in the for-profit culture of capitalism favors short-term shareholder benefits over long-term societal ones, because that's simply how the system works and prefers.

Someone took ECON 102. Got a C.

Hint: Not all, or even most, companies "participating for-profit culture of capitalism" are publicly traded and answerable to shareholders.

I'm willing to sacrifice the well-being of other people for my own benefits. Otherwise I'd be in a moral dilemma just going shopping in a supermarket.

I struggle with this, I feel like unless I go off the grid and become self sufficient I can't say I'm 100% positive I'm not exploiting someone.

If you see any and all exchanges of money for goods & services to be exploitation, then you need to get your head checked.

No no, but the what if someone down the supply chain is being exploited and as the end user I’m responsible

The Good Place made a point of this! They (kind of arbitrarily ) placed the last date it was possible to exist without exploiting other people’s misfortune in some way back in the 1600s.

My sister watches that show and...


I caught the episode where they detail how every act you perform in modern life has so many negative consequences and repercussions that everyone on Earth has, for centuries, wound up going to Hell.

It haunts me because it's true.

(Not the going-to-hell bit, the part about how things are so interconnected and so fucked up that you can't wipe your ass without damaging the environment, and that's even before you get to the luxury phones made by de facto slave labor.)

"There's got to be a better way!"

It's the way of the world. Instead of trying to change the world, you could try adjusting your moral framework to be more in line with the world. Also, trying to change the world without first changing yourself is futile. And if you changed your way to put the benefits of others over yourself it would just amount to suicide, leaving the world as it is.

What moral framework can countenance the destruction of the Monarch butterfly?

Only because exploiting animals wasn't considered to count.

Well, you'd then be reducing the demand on market conditions reducing jobs, if that's worse than someone working making less than you... You'd also be living in a relative state of luxury using far more land than the average person can reasonably acquire and live on.

The problem is that nothing is fair or perfect, and any system that tried becomes far more unfair and restrictive in practice.

Notice how fairness is only something people try to accomplish if it benefits them. As soon as they themselves have an unfair advantage, they won't give up their benefits to achieve fairness.

Two wrongs don't make a right. If we can't completely eliminate suffering of others 100%, we can at the very least try and minimize it.

What have you done personally to try to minimize the suffering of others?

And you don't find sacrificing the well-being of others to be a moral dilemma?

It's a sacrifice, yes, but I can buy chocolate without being anguished that it got the blood of children from third-world countries on it. Doesn't everyone silently accept these things by living in modern society?

I mean, sure, some people love to pretend that they really care, but none of them sacrifice their own benefits, instead choosing, like me, to sacrifice the benefits of other people.

There's no dilemma once I've chosen a position. The dilemma is having to choose if you want to sacrifice your benefits, by for example not buying a smartphone, or the benefits of other people, by supporting the exploitation of other people through your purchasing power.

Ursula K LeGuin's short story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" is an interesting meditation on this.


Yes, generally we do just silently accept these things. You're typing this on a PC or phone built using slave labor using minerals extracted by warlords to fund campaigns of oppression (despite some companies paying lip service to these issues it really still affects all electronic devices). When you are finished with them, they will be sent to Africa and burned in open landfills by hand to extract valuable minerals. Our oil market is based on dictators extracting their nation's wealth and using it to fund terror, in some cases literally on us.

Nobody in the modern world walks away from Omelas.

> Yes, generally we do just silently accept these things. You're typing this on a PC or phone built using slave labor using minerals extracted by warlords to fund campaigns of oppression (despite some companies paying lip service to these issues it really still affects all electronic devices). When you are finished with them, they will be sent to Africa and burned in open landfills by hand to extract valuable minerals. Our oil market is based on dictators extracting their nation's wealth and using it to fund terror, in some cases literally on us.

Let's grant this point. It's arguable, but I generally support it.

Another route is to use the very tools that are produced by these processes to subvert and upend those processes. For example, your comment is one such method of getting started by raising awareness and possibly redirecting behavior.

The same thing could be writ large: a tool like Twitter, for example, enables mass demonstration and a certain sort of transparency that was harder to establish prior to its creation.

We sometimes hear and say that X is not inherently moral or immoral, just how it's used. While I think that's probably not true, in many cases, the seeds of redemption can bloom from the soils of corruption. If we are inextricably enmeshed in a corrupt society and world, it seems then that the moral choice is how to subvert that corruption with its own fruit.

Most people aren't even aware of the hardships people in underdeveloped/developing countries have to go through in order to sustain our "modern society". It's out of sight out of mind. If everyone was more acutely aware of the suffering, then there may be more of a backlash. In short, people are too busy living their lives to know and consequently empathize with what's happening on the other side of the planet. But that's not the same thing as blind acceptance.

I grew up in America, and decided to go to Southwest Asia for a while. Seeing small children work is gut wrenching and something I had never seen or thought about till I saw it on my own personally. And it has certainly made me wary and selective about hiring any sort of service, even at the expense of my own convenience.

Bottom line is empathy.

To sibling bobthechef, whom the site will not let me reply to directly:

Your question assumes a frame of atomized individual decision making, and forgoes the possibility of changing our political economy so that children don’t have to work.

This is easily doable from a production standpoint (i.e., we could all still have enough if children did not have to work, perhaps Bezos would have to give up a little).

That we don’t do this is an entirely political decision.

How about this: what would the lives of these children be like without that work? From your Western perspective, you judge this to be awful and evil, but what if the work they're doing is actually allowing them to make their families more than they could otherwise? What if it's the best option that currently exists? What if it contributes to increasing living standards in their country over time?[0] You can't look at a third world country through the lens of Western standards of living. A dollar a day is worth a great deal in some parts of the world.

The question isn't "why are some people poor", it's "why are some people rich". Human beings are born poor. We receive or make (or steal) whatever we have.

[0] Obviously, I am discounting political corruption that might keep wages artificially low.

You're being downvoted, but you're right. We've all had blood on our hands for a long time. It's funny how it means more to people when it's right in front of their eyes.

You say "none of them sacrifice their own benefits", but I do know people who make sacrifices to choose others' well-being, such as researching the products they buy, forgoing certain foods, products, and services.

So I'd say not everyone is "pretending to really care".

As long as they own a smartphone, I'd categorize it as pretending. It's like a slave owner who goes vegan. It's clear that they do not give up their own benefits, but merely pretend to, by making choices that do not really infringe on their core benefits.

Morally motivated veganism is the obvious example.

"No ethical consumption under capitalism" is no excuse for moral cowardice. Sure, I live in a society, too. But I refuse to make these sorts of excuses for it. That's quite literally the least I can do. But it's not quite the same as doing nothing.

"A difference which makes no difference is no difference at all." --William James

Not so much as a footnote in this century's answer to They Thought They Were Free.

Capitalism isn't the root of this problem and I'm not being a coward, I just made my choice. Fundamentally, I do not have a problem with sacrificing other people for my benefits and I do not pretend otherwise.

If the pretense is important for you, that's fine. You can keep pretending that you haven't made the same choice as me, if it makes you happy. But your actions speak louder than your words.

With limited resources there's always going to be a struggle to gain more benefits than other people. Few people willing kill themselves to benefit others, but lots of people willingly kill other people to benefit themselves. That's just human nature and the root of the problem. If you'd forfeit your own life in a kill or be killed situation your position would at least be consistent, albeit really stupid. But no one really is like that, everyone just loves to pretend that they are good people, which I don't even take issue with. I'm just openly admitting to my human nature.

> I do not pretend otherwise.

Post with your real name then. I dare you.

If you ask me in person, I will tell you the same. I won't give up what illusion I have left of online anonymity, however. Anything else you wanted to add to the conversation?

People's moral framework can be different. Is is surprising that not everyone find this a moral dilemma ?

I think you'd have to be psychopathic and lacking the ability to empathize to not consider this to be a moral dilemma.

Empathy is exactly the wrong emotion to have here. Empathy doesn't work at scale, just makes you pity people that are like you more than people unlike you. Regardless of objective relative hardship.

Do soldiers have to be psychopaths to kill their enemy in a war? It's only a moral dilemma until you've made your choice. Fundamentally, the world is still kill or be killed. It's just hidden behind many layers of abstractions.

Maybe but still not everyone is the same, is it surprising that not everyone has the same level of empathy or even same definition of empathy ?

There are a lot of humans there- but also a lot of robots too.

(I know a bunch of people at Amazon Robotics. Without the robots many more people would need to be contacting each other)

Is a warehouse a crowded environment?

It's also probably true that this is a top comment due to people who work for them or own stock.

Amazon Seller of non-essentials here. Fulfillment out of Amazon’s warehouses has been slow the last week or so (on the order of 2-3 days delayed vs. normal). Sellers started noticing last night / this morning that Prime items which are fulfilled by Amazon are showing delivery date of April 21st. We don’t know if that is a real date yet, or if Amazon is just setting expectations super low. Based on the fact that a wide variety of items are all showing that as the Prime delivery date and that shipping has not been that delayed up til now, I think there’s reason to think that things will actually be delivered faster than that. Plus, I know at least one seller of non-essential products who is not seeing that delivery date for their products.

So who knows. The April 21st delivery date is crushing our sales, though.

Multiple items I’ve ordered this weekend with April 21 or later delivery dates got their dates moved up by 3+ weeks after order.

I wonder if they're giving an artificially long date in an attempt to discourage certain orders so as to relieve the current crush.

I can only imagine how such behavior would go at a normal tech company:

"Hey boss, we're getting a ton of orders in. Think we should discourage people from ordering junk so we can prioritize the important stuff?"

"Hell no, keep the orders coming in as fast as possible."

So props to Amazon for doing something in the best interest of their customers and their reputation.

> So props to Amazon for doing something in the best interest of their customers and their reputation

Let's not jump into any conclusions here. For all we know, Amazon is doing just what you wrote in quotes above, but the logistics networks are so overwhelmed that they can't fulfill orders fast enough.

I'm not saying Amazon is good or bad here, just that we can't decide that unless we _actually_ know their reasoning.

My guess is that they're giving themselves a ~4 week buffer so they're free to prioritize orders both by necessity and efficiency.

That hellaciously unlawful and immoral company (at least in England) UBER does this with their "surge" pricing.

Want more cabs than we have?

2x, 4x, 7x the normal price for the ride is a win-win. Driver gets more money. Company gets more cut. More drivers come out to earn the extortionate fees. Fewer customers take a cab at that time, lowering the demand.

It's great until you figure the drivers are gaming the system by not going to work until there is a surge price in effect.

People will always take the opportunity to profit at others' expense. A moral company would attempt to curtail this.

Are Amazon moral?

"drivers are gaming the system by not going to work until there is a surge price in effect"

So, immediately after you explain the way that surge pricing works in terms of supply and demand, you claim that one of the parties is being immoral by not supplying the product under a certain price? How is that "profiting at other people's expense"? You literally just explained how it's a win-win. Do you feel like the drivers are morally obligated to supply their time at a certain low price?

That sounds plausible. I worked for a manufacturer and one Christmas season (our biggest time of year) we were behind and the order date was growing. So, management started increasing prices to slow down the rush of incoming orders. I can't remember if it actually worked but I do know that by the end of it we were selling our products for much, much more than seemed reasonable. It was a little embarrassing actually.

Similarly, I had an April 7-16 order from Friday and it got moved up to March 27 last night.

That’s good to know, thanks for the anecdata.

I can confirm this as well.

Also a seller, this went into effect as early as 4:30am mst on Sunday. I know, because I was awake and saw it.

Amazon nerfed new FBA inbound shipments from sellers thru April 5. This new ~April 20th expected ship date is just about exactly the time it would take inbound shipments starting on April 5th, to distribute thru FCs and become active for sale.

Amazon is attempting to level the playing field for the sellers that got iced out during the inbound lockout.

Maybe. My partner and I (actually mostly my partner) did some more analysis. We scrape the search results of the keywords that matter to us 24x per day so we can keep track of how we're performing. Most of our products are in the top 5 for their primary keyword. What we've noticed in the last few days is that, when our products are shown, they are still top ranked, but our products are only being shown around 10% of the time (vs. basically 100% of the time normally). Upon digging in further, my partner realized that most of the product being shown for our keywords are A) not normally top ranked, and, B) all fulfilled by merchant (as opposed to fulfilled by Amazon). This would suggest that they really are capacity constrained and doing whatever they can to avoid shipping non-essentials.

Also, good luck out there. Our sales have been devastated. Hope you're doing better than us.

Several non-essential items (shampoo, conditioner, cat litter, etc) I ordered last week were rescheduled from 2-4 day delivery times to April 20th. I canceled and reordered them without Fulfilled by Amazon. The tracking says they'll be delivered today by USPS and UPS.

They announced to not send in non-essential items on the 20th. Do NOT ship those in right now.

My sibling comment is correct: I am referring to outbound shipments. Also, don’t worry, there is literally no way to send in non-essential products. You have to create an inbound shipment on Amazon’s seller portal before you send it in. You can’t do that for non-essential goods right now.

Yes, but the comment you're responding to isn't talking about shipping orders in, they're talking about orders (to end customers) of inventory they already have in the Amazon warehouse.

If you are looking for a 'non-essential', and the item is being sold by "Amazon.com" (as opposed to an Amazon seller like u/toasterlovin), may I suggest ordering from another store? Companies like Guitar Center; Bed, Bath, and Beyond; and the like are still fulfilling online orders, even if the stores themselves are closed. Also, individuals are still selling wares through platforms like eBay and Etsy.

Please consider purchasing things from other stores, where available. Even if you have to pay for the shipping cost.

This is the correct advice. Other major distributors in the US have been massively scaling up to receive all non-essential goods that normally would be distributed through Amazon, carrying them through their own logistics infrastructure. These goods are then being delivered through the retail channels that these distributors currently support, which may not be where you are traditionally used to buying these products online.

Source: I share a social distancing space with someone that currently is doing exactly this distribution shift for their global supply chain, moving all of Amazon's capacity to an alternate major distributor they use.

Also BestBuy is doing delivery. Just ordered something last night and got it today. Lets keep as many retail options available to ensure there is no retail single point of failure.

Or order direct from the manufacturer. We’d love that!

In general I don’t mind ordering direct philosophically, but here are the practical things that you (as a generalized direct seller) can do to make that more attractive:

1. Make it not cost more to me. I don’t care what your costs are, but I do care what mine are. If I find my way to your shop and have my wallet open, that’s the time to be cost-competitive, not to tack on a $7.95 shipping and processing fee (unless your product price is $8 less).

2. Give reasonable assurance that customer care, if needed, will be about as accommodating as A2Z.

3. Give reasonable payment options. Some people want PayPal. Others hate them. Personally, in part because of #2, I often use them.

> Make it not cost more to me.

Seriously. I just ordered an item from Amazon because white the manufacturer's price was $6 less, they wanted $45 for shipping, while Amazon's was free.

I have to wait nine days, but it isn't that urgent, and I'll wait nine days to save $39 (the item itself is only $119, so $39 is quite a lot extra).

$45 for shipping!?

Probably international. I see this kind of gap regularly when comparing buying from Amazon v.s. directly from the supplier. Internet stores are surprisingly bad (for whatever reason) at pricing international shipping competitively.

Internet stores are surprisingly bad (for whatever reason) at pricing international shipping competitively.

Small businesses are stuck with what the big shippers charge for international shipping (and shipping in general). You basically don't qualify for negotiated rates with the shippers until you are spending five figures minimum per month for shipping, and you don't qualify for good shipping rates until you're spending six figures minimum per month. We ship enough with FedEx to have a dedicated rep, and even then are international discounts are minimal (although our domestic discounts are sizable).

What's sometimes a bummer, though, ordering internationally that there's often only the option of a shipping company.

I wouldn't mind using the Post Office option and waiting a couple of weeks. But paying 40-60$ just for shipping is often the deal killer.

IMO it’s FedEx and UPS that are bad at it. I looked at shipping a few pound box from Chicago to Germany on the cheapest intl shipping option FedEx offered a few years ago (on a corporate account no less) and it was $200+ IIRC. Unless you’re doing millions per year with them, they seem to not want your business.

(Comparison is that I can ship a mountain bike across the US for $50, no big deal.)

Yup. This was on monoproce for their cheapest option. Which probably would have only come a day sooner anyway.

If you ever need bulk speaker wire, we’ve gotcha covered on all three points!

I genuinely appreciate that you’re avoiding mentioning your company name in your news.yc contributions.

In this case, I am in the market for copper speaker wire but can’t find your company name in a quick read of your comment history or a google of toasterlovin.

Would you mind sharing it? ;)

Our brand name is Next. You can find us on Amazon or at shop-next.com. I think you’d be pretty happy installing our wire in your home, office, bar, etc.

You realizing shipping price is a completely artificial construct?

Amazon doesn’t magically have power to ship things for free.

You’ve been paying more for items on Amazon because of “free shipping”.

I care about total landed price.

The seller can split it up however they want, but I’m going to look at the final total, especially when I’m comparison shopping buying “this one thing from vendor A” vs “that same thing from vendor Z”.

Then why make a bunch of noise about shipping price when you meant landed price?

Amazon has enchanted the world with their “prime” badge. Enchantments rarely end in the enchantee’s best interest.

> Amazon has enchanted the world with their “prime” badge.

I’d say it was more the 24 hour delivery, immense selection and outstanding no fuss returns policy. That has enchanted people.

None of us are happy Amazon has such a monopoly but it was won fair and square.

Amazon is actively using their data collection on sales to determine where to get into the market, putting other sellers and manufacturers out of business. This isn't what I'd call "fair". I don't believe this is illegal but it certainly seems it should be.

It's totally fair. If you can't differentiate against a retailer's house brand, you don't really deserve to be in business (I say this as a business owner that competes against Amazon's house brand).

I said “make it not cost more to me”. Seems clear enough, but my apologies if it was not.

It was plenty clear.

Amazon has insanely cheap shipping rates. I sell on Amazon and we use Amazon for fulfillment. The rates they charge us for shipping are so incredibly good. We would need to do insane volumes to achieve their rates, but they would still be more expensive because their rates include customer service and returns. It's nuts.

A nice perk for doing this is having higher confidence that the product you're getting isn't a fake knock off.

> Please consider purchasing things from other stores, where available. Even if you have to pay for the shipping cost.

You haven't given a reason for doing so.

I think he's saying he doesn't want it to become the only store. Lots of other stores are hurting.

That's because they ain't competitive. I'm only using other stores for stuff I can't find on amazon, because I'm trusting amazon to have my back if something goes wrong.

And another big online store like Target just won’t help in the case of an issue? I don’t believe that at all.

My credit card is enough assurance that a seller won’t defraud me.

I actually have found a number of products where Amazon is not price competitive with some other US stores like Target, especially considering everyone’s blind assumption that it makes sense to pay $12.99 a month to be in the Amazon club without even doing the math on how much that increases the price of each item you buy.

I always have people ask me “don’t you have Prime?” as if it’s assumed that the deal is a no-brainer. It’s totally not. You don’t need Prime to buy stuff on Amazon and people are just conditioned.

I don't have Prime, what I meant was that things with amazon are frictionless if stuff goes wrong. Also, I'm from Europe.

Personally, I'll only use Amazon as a last resort for something I can't find elsewhere (and don't feel I can do without, which is of course usually a valid option).

Amazon warehouses carry many essential items, so by taking your non-essential demand some where else you allow more logistics resources to focus on delivering essentials asap.

While it is great Amazon is available it would seem better to spend a little more money and spread it around. Think of the "shop local" movement. Until there is a benefit other than free shipping (i.e. safer deliveries and working conditions) we all need to help the economy any way we can. I don't want to live in a post-pandemic world where Amazon has more market power with fewer businesses to compete with.

The frustrating thing about this is that you don’t even have to “spend a little more” every time. I make a lot of purchases from bigger stores like Target and Home Depot, and smaller local book, speciality food, home and garden stores etc., and back when I used to compare frequently, Amazon rarely had a better price. Eventually I just stopped checking.

Because you want your item faster than 4 weeks from now?

And because it supports a small business, which is more likely to be struggling financially.

The small(er) business probably pays a fair rate of tax, funding the services society is even more dependent upon than usual.

> You haven't given a reason for doing so.

You didn't see that HN thread about Amazon Prime shipments being delayed by as long as a month? :)

I needed another monitor for my wife's work from home setup and ended up purchasing from Best Buy last week. Amazon had everything at least a week out, but I ordered Wednesday and got it Friday via Best Buy. I didn't get the exact model I would have ordered normally (from Philips), but I got a nice 4k Samsung screen.

For electronics, B&H photo is good, too! (Also I'm in NYC and they're a local company with local distribution centers)

A few years back Amazon.com got hit with a pretty massive DDoS attack. Because of their reliance upon AWS and the massive resources available through their cloud, they simply out-scaled the attack.

Now Amazon is getting he with a new kind of DDoS that requires them to scale--this time from legit customers wanting their orders delivered in a reasonable amount of time. Pretty crazy to watch all the supply chain disruption happening at the moment.

A month is a reasonable amount of time for non-essentials during a global crisis.

That very much depends on what one can consider an essential item. Here in Germany, grocery and drug stores as well as pharmacies are still open. So I can go shopping for the immediate essential items. But all other stores are closed, so online shopping is the only way to these products. That starts with shoes and any kind of clothing. Which is pretty essential in my eyes too.

Also, there are a lot of things which might not be considered "essential" but quite important. Working in home office, I might need cables, a headset, a power supply. Also, if you consider that people are restricted to their homes for weeks to come, even entertainment/toys can quickly be considered essential.

So Amazon probably does its best to use its available resources in storage and delivery, the categorization of items as essential might not be as clear-cut as it might sound.

And of course, toilet paper is out of stock on Amazon as at the local stores :p

Also, if you consider that people are restricted to their homes for weeks to come, even entertainment/toys can quickly be considered essential.

I don't think you understand what "essential" means. Things to avoid being dead are essential. You can get those things quickly. Things to avoid being bored are not essential. Just be bored until the global pandemic is over.

Shoes and clothes are essential if you happen to need new ones during a prolonged pandemic (eg you find that your toddler has outgrown his existing shoes). When you turn off the shopping spigot long enough, things just crop up that you have never thought to be essential before.

Having to wait 4 weeks for Amazon to send you a pair of shoes would be tremendously inconvenient, but all it requires is some forward thinking. Buy them before the child needs them so they arrive in time. If you can do that it's obvious they're not really an essential that Amazon need to be pausing shipments of bandages and disinfectant for.

Obviously this raises questions about paying for shoes, but that's a social welfare and government support for poor people issue, and discussions of that nature usually don't fair well on HN.

It is really hard to think ahead with a toddler, when are their feet going to grow, when do their shoes become too small. Are we going up one or two sizes?

Anyways, Target and Walmart still being open is a life saver for everything that isn’t food.

Is your toddler going to be seriously sick or hurt for not having shoes? If not then it'd say not as essential as other things.

I don’t think you have a toddler, right? They don’t know it’s the apocalypse.

"Just be bored" doesn't quite cut it. Domestic violence was already a thing before the pandemic. Now imagine being constrained to home with a larger family. And even if it doesn't end up in violence, stress levels are raising largely during confinement. Fortunately I am able to work from home office, but I have to say the psycological effects are quite noticeable. And to fight the pandemic, we do depend on the cooperation and discipline of the population.

I am not saying that Amazon should do things differently, but that things, which on the surface seem to be non-essential can be far more important than it looks.

Essential is defined by what can arguably save lives and not create more load on the health system of the country. For example: Pet food is currently deemed essential because you can't have pets dying on their owners and creating a health hazard. Another example that makes sense: Selling heaters and spare parts. I'm not convinced toys prevent domestic violence. You can always make toys with a bit of imagination though.

idk about the domestic violence angle, but bored people are more likely to go out and expose themselves/others to the virus. seems like anything that keeps people inside voluntarily should have at least a low spot on the priority list.

> hings to avoid being dead are essential.

Things to protect physical and mental health even short of imminent risk of death are essentkial.

> That starts with shoes and any kind of clothing.

Unless you are a designated critical worker who has to go out, you should be staying at home anyway and if you are doing that, why would clothes shopping be essential?

There's a LOT of designated workers who have to go out, though.

>why would clothes shopping be essential?

I'm fairly certain you'll freeze to death without them. Broken & torn clothes are bad at keeping you warm.

We're talking about whether or not Amazon should ship things like clothes on a 2 day or a 4 week schedule during a global pandemic. I think a 4 week schedule is fine because Amazon need to concentrate on shipping essentials, and clothes that people buy from Amazon aren't essentials. If you're suggesting that Amazon should prioritise clothes in case the buyer has literally no other wearable clothes then you're going to need to justify that argument.

Anyone can make spurious points about extremely unlikely edge cases, but suggesting Amazon should plan their logistics around them is not a helpful contribution.

Not everyone can afford multiple sets of clothing for themselves. A lot of people live in poverty, day to day with what they've got. Denying access to all clothing will undoubtedly cause distress

Does Germany not have department stores?

Sure, but all but groceries/drug stores are closed.

Real is the only bigger one I late last week was still able to buy from a decent selection of non-food stuff here in Berlin. Kind of funny, since this particular business model doesn't seem to have run that well in Germany pre-epidemic, with them just recently announcing to close down stores.

It might also be the nail in the coffin for crowded physical stores.

Amazon has also stopped shipping non-essential items in Italy and France.

Their criteria for choosing essential items are kind of hard to grasp for me, and in classic Amazon style they don't tell you that there is something that is not available / you cannot buy, stuff has just disappeared from the shop. This makes it unnecessarily annoying to find out if you can buy something from them or not.

Most of what you can get is still delivered quickly though - they have added one or two days to the expected delivery times in the last weeks, but from then they usually deliver one day sooner than forecasted.

Yep noticed this today. Too depressed to work on my personal programming projects. Taking up a cheap musical instrument (yamaha recorder anyone? lol) sounded like a good way to pass time. Amazon says my prime order will be ready on April 21st :/

> Too depressed to work on my personal programming projects

I'm gonna randomly hijack this comment to talk about this growing depression I fear will hit a lot of people.

It's been very frustrating at work, approaching end of quarter with all the usual internal quarterly milestones, and no one in leadership acknowledges this intense mental stress that everyone is under. Everyone is still expecting that good ol' 20% improvement we promised three months ago, despite the entire engineering team counting down their remaining rolls of toilet paper, and watching the dumpster fire every day from the White House briefings, and the stock market imploding. Meanwhile we know that at the tail end of this, many of the local business we rely on and have supported over the years, may be out of business.

But at work, the same meetings are on calendar. The same constant drumbeat, where we pretend the only thing that's changed is our status is "WFH". Large meetings clearly don't work over videoconference and without a whiteboard. At my place we even have a two-day "offsite" where the whole team will literally spend the day sitting in one position at their desk, facing the camera.

I fear many workers in tech will crack from trying to carry on as if nothing was wrong.

That said, I do acknowledge the privileged position of this first-world problem.

In some cases management is afraid and thinks that they need to appear to be positive and unwavering. I would advise to play along and not to feel like you need to actually be productive at this time

To the extent possible, I would even recommend being open with them about how counterproductive you feel this is.

This is my opinion too, and I see the value. Having at least one part of your life that seems "steady" helps when the rest is upended. It can come across callous if that is not communicated though.

As we would sometimes say in the military, “Yes sir, yes sir three bags full!”

> I'm gonna randomly hijack this comment

I'm glad you did. Well said.

Recorders can be transcendent instruments in the right composer's hands: https://youtu.be/G6hQvvhqfJo

Yes, quite right! https://youtu.be/hpjV962DLWs

There's this Sam Feld/Heartfeldt soundcloud playlist that I've been listening to for years and that song has been on there several. Never knew it was a recorder!

And performer. Also those aren't soprano recorders so they're less squeaky.

Recorders are underrated (although, the ukulele is IMO the most underrated instrument, probably because they’re easy.)

I have a slightly more expensive Yamaha soprano recorder that I absolutely love. My living room is all hardwood and I keep most furniture and anything soft out of it just so I can enjoy the sound.

Ukuleles have a bad reputation because many of them are collecting dust in someone's studio apartment. It's the quintessential "I want to learn an instrument but not really" purchase.

I've played recorder (soprano) in a baroque ensemble - the instrument is beautiful in the right context. For playing alone, I enjoy my wood tenor recorder.

>the ukulele is IMO the most underrated instrument, probably because they’re easy

Not for someone like me with no musical background :)

Unless you like confusing fingerings, and/or super limited range I'd avoid the recorder. A tin whistle is a _much_ easier to learn to play instrument, that exchanges chromatic playing (the ability to play in multiple keys), for a much more accessible second octave of range. Go for a brass or nickle round tube one (Generation, Feadog, or Waltons are decent brands).

While we're proposing alternatives to the recorder, I'd add the harmonica as an accessible instrument. It depends on the kind of music one wants to play, but the harmonica is easy enough to start playing for a child, and the range of expressivity has room for expertise to develop (chromatic harmonicas are difficult but can produce sweet and exotic scales..).

Sounds like you’re a prime candidate for an online vocal training course

any suggestions?

Nope, in fact I’d be interested in a vocal course myself because I’ve broken a guitar string and have no spares.

As a rather poor kid, it was months before I got access to the musical instrument I wanted to learn. In the meantime, I drove some appropriate nails into a piece of wood and practiced my fingerings. Worked pretty well.

I feel that I should recommend the melodica than the recorder, you can play it like the piano rather than learning the very delicate fingering required for the recorder.

ebay, craigslist, ... ?

People need essentials, the reason things are so delayed is people like you trying to order a recorder when people need toilet paper and groceries

If that were the case, and amazon was sufficiently interested, they'd do the trivial/intelligent thing and simply prioritize essentials for shipping over other things. For example, by disabling 1-2 day shipping for anything not considered an essential.

Rather than blaming people for using amazon for precisely its intended usecase, ,despite individuals having next to zero information on what was actually up with amazon's backend causing the slowdown (are there simply no essentials left to deliver, and the backlog is due to other issues..? I dunno, I'm not amazon, and probably you aren't either.)

Hell, it might already be the case.. which would mean you're attacking people for buying normal goods for no particular reason.

> If that were the case, and amazon was sufficiently interested, they'd do the trivial/intelligent thing and simply prioritize essentials for shipping over other things

This is exactly what Amazon is doing, as mentioned in the linked article. Hence why the gp's musical instrument is taking a month to arrive.

You're right, missed the non-essential sentence

So the answer is then.. attacking for no particular reason

Well that can't be true since Amazon seems to not have any toilet paper in stock. And they seem to have turned off fresh groceries, at least in my area.

Since it hasn't been mentioned let's just put it on the table here that Amazon Prime, a service with a fairly steep annual fee, supposedly came with a promise of two-day shipping, in exchange for that fee.

Now if there was some fine print I didn't read, shame on me, but has Amazon explicitly addressed this?

I do understand that the physical items themselves are in short supply and cannot be instantly produced by any kind of magic. (Although as an aside, and it's really not my main point, but I do think Amazon has the buying power to incentivize many suppliers to move mountains).

Just like the physical items, the money to pay the fee for Prime memberships can also correspondingly go into short supply as well, and individual members may have good reasons to stop paying if they aren't getting what they paid for.

Certainly facts on the ground have changed the deal. Maybe we Prime members will just be in the front of the line for frequently hoarded items... sigh. Will be interesting to see how Prime fares through this.

I think any given service on this earth is expected to have some degree of delay during a once a century global pandemic. People out there can't even buy basic life necessities in stores. It may be a little unfair, but it's not really the time to think a $120/year membership means someone should be put at the front of the line to order whatever they want and constantly push others trying to get their necessities to the back of the line. It's better to hope everybody is getting their hand sanitizer and toilet paper at an equally expedient time, instead of hoping Prime members and Prime members alone can order a new package daily and have it arrive in a timely fashion.

Yellowstone could potentially blow during our lifetime as well. I doubt most companies have that factored into their contracts, and I wouldn't hold it against them if they didn't.

Business don't need to survive Black swan events. If they fail that's fine. If they can't fail without irreparable harm, there's a bigger problem. We don't have anything resembling a free market when there are irreplaceable businesses.

* 2020 - SARS-CoV-2

* 2009 - H1N1, 500k dead

* 1968 - H3N2, 1mm dead

* 1958 - H2N2, 1.5-2mm dead

* 1918 - H1N1, 50mm dead

* 1890 - H3N8/H2N2 (?), 1mm dead

* 1580-1880 - Influenza pandemics reported every ten to thirty years

Let's hope and pray to our lesser gods that it's not as bad as the 1918 pandemic.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11576290/ https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources

Absolutely, we agree and I thought I had covered the impossibility of the logistics in my comment. However what I was wondering about is whether Amazon will keep collecting the fee. Just as a reminder, they are pretty wealthy as a corporation, and the fee is collected in exchange for something that they understandably cannot provide.

The fine print has always been that it's 2 days from Amazon's ship date and not from your order date.


Even so, they regularly fail on even delivering two days after shipping, and even more often on one-day.

If the item you're ordering is out of stock or unavailable to ship immediately, the shipping method time starts when the item ships. For example, it will take two business days after an item ships to reach you with Two-Day Shipping.


Amazon could easily make the case that even though the item you ordered was "in stock," it was still unavailable to ship immediately due to warehouse backlog or other operational reasons.

I'm old enough to remember 3-6 weeks for shipping. Getting it in a couple days still seems like magic.

I am curious about this too. Even before covid outbreak I occasinally had packages that took more than 2 days to be delivered. With the current situation, of course I understand it is going to take longer to deliver packages. So I do not make a fuss about these things nor did I for three instead of two day deliveries in the past. However I still think Amazon is responsible for not honoring their part of Prime membership contract. I am not in any way demanding priviledged service during these times because I paid an annual membership fee. Still I expect Amazon to partially refund membership fees to Prime members.

This is clear as day to me. For whatever reason they fail to provide the service they take my money for. People tend to think of you as an entitled person when you say this. It is not like I am mad at them for delivering my Nintendo game in three days instead of two. No. It is just that they asked for extra money for delivering that game to me in two days. I gave them what they asked for. In the end, they did not perform the action that they asked the money for. So they have to give that money back.

I get the generally sympathetetic comments about businesses struggling in these hard times. I believe you guys that want to help businesses and our economy get through hard times are good people. Just forgive me for not feeling sad for a company that is making huge profits anyway but still trying to keep one or two dollars here and there that they did not really earn.

>>Since it hasn't been mentioned let's just put it on the table here that Amazon Prime, a service with a fairly steep annual fee, supposedly came with a promise of two-day shipping, in exchange for that fee.

You really got them. You should request a refund and call it a day if you can't wait for non-essentials. The entire world is either on lock-down or it will be and someone is trying to get cute. No company can scale that quickly, given the amount they move and risks employees take (one virus case and the entire warehouse shuts down).

CoronaVirus will hit US like a ton of bricks in 7-14 days, then page 44 of Amazon Terms & Conditions will seem like a joke.

Amazon is pretty liberal about giving credits if you complain about Prime service. Not sure if that policy is still in place at this time.

The support agents are given freedom to extend your Prime membership a few times (up to 6 maybe?) by 1 month. After that they can just tell you you're free to cancel your subscription so it's hard to really abuse.

That support button to talk to a person over the phone was really hard to find at some point though. Didn't need it in years but when I did I think I had to dig for an hour or two until I found it.

> That support button to talk to a person over the phone was really hard to find at some point though.

I keep it bookmarked for that reason.


The last time a package was delayed, I couldn't even find the button to complain. I looked for a few minutes and then just canceled Prime instead.

There was about a 50% success rate and since their other services are garbage, too, I don't see why paying a yearly fee is worth it. The Amazon Prime Video apps have a 100-300ms audio delay on all my platforms (Android, TV, Chromecast). Unacceptable.

Well it's probably in their interest to make the pathway to complaining difficult. Their return and refund policies are very generous, in my experience. With little to no effort I was able to get full refund on three separate missing/stolen packages no questions asked, in the past 6 months.

All I did to find this: - web-search the term "Amazon chat support" - apply intuition

The article mentioned this in the last couple of paragraphs.

> From time to time, Amazon may choose in its sole discretion to add or remove Prime membership benefits.

Honestly, I think they should quarantine packages after every handling 24 hours. When picked up it stays in pickup truck 1 day to let virus inactivate. Then one guy does the initial sorting and no one handles it for 24 hours. It would make deliveries much much slower, but put the delivery personnel at much less risk.

An interesting idea, though doubtful it would get implemented due to the huge backlog of personal items already late. Not a bad idea as a consumer - if you can swing it, just let the packages sit a day before opening them.

Hopefully folks doing deliveries are smart about not touching their face, and are able to wipe down their cars afterward...steering wheel, radio knobs, touchscreens, phone, door handles...

So as a Prime subscriber, I'm curious if they will be offering prorated refunds for this time when most things are not under 2 day shipping policies. Spoiler alert, they won't.

Probably not but these are extreme times, so everyone should just chill out and deal with getting their latest Switch game in a week vs. two days.

These are extreme times, so Amazon the mega-corp that it is should probably not nickel and dime customers of money that can be used towards more immediate needs.

I'd rather Amazon have their engineers prioritize streamlining end to end movement of essential goods through their system vs. dedicating a team to refund the handful of whiny HN commenters their $4.56 in prorated Prime fees for the year.

Presenting a false choice here. You can do both without dedicating the entire company's resources. Mythical man month?

I've read of people routinely asking Amazon for compensation when their packages arrive in over 2 days. Some ordered regularly enough the $5 credit they hand out like candy more than paid for the entire membership.

Couriers simply lie and say they attempted delivery (which they didn’t) but you weren’t available. Then the next day they just leave it at your door. So does that count as missing the 2 day deadline?

They used to give out a month of Prime to extend your subscription, but two-ish years ago they switched to offering $5 Amazon purchase credit (after a short few weeks of trying to offer nothing).

Half a month is still a good thing to get, and purchase credit is easier to spend than having infinite months of Prime.

1918 flu pandemic the best we had was a sears catalouge.

As a seller we see lots of refunds go to customers for this (we see the refund, but Amazon covers it since they’re doing the fulfillment).

There are plenty of other online retailers. The guitar cable example triggered me, because even in the best of times you can get better gear from a smaller business with the same two day shipping. I'm sure there are tons of other examples.

Yes, if anything, this might benefit small online retailers. It is also worth noting, that many local stores which have to close during the crisis have turned into online retailers of some sort. You can call them and they will deliver to your house to keep their business afloat. So even if they don't even have a proper web site, it might be worth while to pick up your phone and give them an old-fashioned call.

I ordered a DC power cord for an Asthma nebulizer and the expected arrival date is 30-days away.

Seeing that, I rummaged through my garage and found a 12v inverter and tested that with the nebulizer on its AC plug. It worked. I've got a solution but only because I have the inverter.

In Utah we had an earthquake on top of the Pandemic. That threatened power and water for a time.

There's a chance they will not prioritize many items correctly.

I am most surprised by how they are scaling shipments in my area. I have only seen Amazon branded vans in my area over the last few months, but my last two orders were delivered by:

1) A plain white van with Laser Ship magnetic signs visible on the inside.

2) A sedan driven by a lady with her kid in the passenger seat.

it’s always been that way. just not visible due to high level of background noise.

I ordered a nonessential item (a set of heat shields for a gas grill) from Amazon Prime today and they offered a $3 digital coupon for the slower delivery option. Normally it's $1. I guess they're trying to encourage slower delivery; makes sense.

And exactly which essentials are being delivered instead?

They are prioritizing the hand sanitizer that is always out of stock? How about Clorox wipes? Fine, how about making your own...oh...isopropyl is sold out too.

What exactly is being shipping now?

From the article:

> it said it would only accept new stock in its warehouses through early April if it was in one of six essential products categories, such as health and household goods or medical supplies

> The company said most of the products it was still accepting from third-party sellers and wholesale vendors fall into one of six categories: baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies

Amazon doesn't have an infinitely large fulfillment network. Instead of being snarky, maybe we can acknowledge that Amazon is facing unprecedented disruptions in their normal demand patterns and supply chains, and they are making very reasonable efforts to handle them in the best way possible. Just like every other business that has been impacted by this pandemic.

I wonder if this is why I saw Displayport to HDMI adapters this morning in the "Health and Household" category on Amazon over the past couple of days, or if those have always been there and been mislabeled.

Interesting. I hadn't noticed that, although last week I did order a USB-C to DisplayPort adapter that is slated to arrive this week and is on the low end of "essential" for my new work-from-home life.

Amazon only stopped inbound shipment of non-essential products. Outbound shipments are turned on for all products.

More random stuff out + less random stuff in = more shelf space for essentials.

Possibly. There is lots of category abuse going on right now. I’m primarily aware of masks, hand sanitizer, etc. being listed under other categories (Amazon put a moratorium on new listings for the sold out product categories; this would be a way to avoid that). But it would not surprise me at all if some seller is listing non-essential products in essential categories so that they’re able to send in replenishment shipments.

I guess food, detergent, toiletries, batteries, basic clothes, other cleaning supplies, small tools like screwdrivers and such.

Of course the essentials people want are the ones that wipe bacteria or protect you from it, as well as the FOMO items like toilet paper, but hardly their fault since they don’t control the production of those things. The best they can do is prioritize their supply chain to get those goods into warehouses.

I ordered a replacement toothbrush and a dutch oven to bake my own bread. Not really essentials but I feel like they are serving the purpose of health and isolation.

Once you get your Dutch oven, I highly recommend this recipe: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/no-knead-crusty-whit...

I’ve made it twice since the CA quarantine began and have been keeping dough in the fridge so my family can have fresh bread every day.

You can even start with the dutch oven cold, which makes it much easier! https://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2017/07/05/baking-in-a-...

Been struggling to find any AP flour in the suburbs of Portland unfortunately.

I just got a Dutch oven for the same reason, too! I get the feeling that the world supply of domestic bakers will increase dramatically in the coming months. A lot of grocery stores nearby us are out of sandwich bread, but full of flour. Wonder how long that will last!

I’ve been able to buy flour but no active yeasts!

Have you tried home brewing supply shops? I've found that winemaking yeast works for baking.

That just means you get to skip straight to using a levain! :)

I still have a breadmachine left over from when they were a fad. I need to find the manual for it :-)

Yeast, which you won't have if you haven't been making bread, doesn't even show up on Amazon at the moment (and normally it's Just There. Even got one via Amazon Fresh before the apocalypse started scaling). Also, bread flour is best but not absolutely needed. Lastly, if the bread the machine makes just doesn't tickle your fancy, they still are a great way to make pizza dough.

You can usually find the manual online very easily, just search the model number.

My wife ordered a cat tree yesterday. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday.

IMO, Amazon shouldn't have sold it to her.

If the cat tree was already sitting in an Amazon warehouse, selling it and freeing up that space for more essential goods was probably the best thing they could possibly do.

This is especially true for smaller commonly purchased items as they get mixed in bins to make them faster to pick. Each bin could containn one DVD, one paperback etc. No practical way to sell those on.

Maybe she shouldn’t have bought it? When two parties consent to a transaction, the responsibility for that transaction occurring rests equally on both parties, as either one could have vetoed it.

I don’t know why you’re being downvoted.

Should Amazon have an intern filtering through every listing to decide what makes it essential or not, then block non-essential?

A comment above made it clear, they went by category, which is a very reasonable approach. It treats pet supplies as important (which makes sense, my dog's food comes from Amazon for example).

It’s not unreasonable that people also show some discretion when Amazon has made it very public that they’re dealing with an unprecedented situation.

I needed a new phone case and a few random odds and ends recently but hit save for later because I’m not going to die if I wait a few weeks to order these things.

Unless it’s on the website in the cart, I don’t expect Joe Random consumer to be paying attention to the likely impact on Amazon distribution from the pandemic. If they want to curtail it, put it on the site in the checkout flow. Anything less, and my take is they’d rather take the order.

That they’re offering $3 for “no rush” now and just pushing sone items out to a promise date 30 days away tells me they want the order if you want to give it to them.

> If they want to curtail it, put it on the site in the checkout flow.

> That they’re offering $3 for “no rush”

So you mean they put it in the checkout flow?

Yes. They put an incentive to order a particular way in the flow, not an incentive to not order. Tells me they want the order.

What kind of useless semantics juggling is this?

The original comment was someone saying they don’t get why a cat toy gets 2 day shipping.

The point is Amazon is making it abundantly clear they’re struggling with demand and at some point you should also take a second and ask if you need that cat toy by Tuesday.

They did the reasonable thing and prioritized internally AND they’re literally paying you to wait longer for things, what more are they supposed to do?

Honestly this kind of logic is what the hoarders have been using...

“There was no sign that said don’t buy the 10 cases of toilet paper and the register asked me for payment after I scanned it all, so they wanted to me to order it!”

... well now there’s a sign. It won’t be surprising if eventually Amazon has to do the same, they’ve already stopped accepting new Pantry orders

I’m on Amazon’s side here. I think they’re doing what’s best for Amazon in the long-run. Maybe we’re violently agreeing that increasing the bounty on no-rush delivery is helping customers make a decision that causes delays to flow to the customers most willing to take them and priority delivery to those most desirous of it.

If they shipped it to you, they had capacity to do so. I think right now their bottlenecks are 1) getting sold out products back into their warehouses, and 2) just dealing with the overall increase in ordering volume.

We've done shelf-stable groceries in bulk through Amazon before. We don't have a large enough bulk shopping list to justify Sam's club or BJ's, but an occasional order to Amazon is fine. Rice, noodles, things like that.

I ordered two 24V transformers that were delivered in a two days. The initial delivery estimate was 4-5 days, but in retrospect that was conservative.

I got a vacuum and chapstick in two days. Maybe all things health and cleaning are prioritized? I have no idea.

The DAR have sent a cannon for the courthouse square https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g8LHlJSBkg0

I got a package with some food and coffee yesterday. I imagine that kind of thing is the bulk of it; a quick glance shows they're out of stock of a very high number of staples.

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