The Future is Now: Amazon Lockers

I didn’t think I could love Amazon more than I did when they offered free Amazon Prime accounts to everyone with an .edu email address a few years ago. Having a Prime account allowed me free two-day shipping, effectively making buying textbooks online cheaper than scouting them out in the stores, and making the whole process fast enough to merit skipping the long lines altogether.

But they’ve outdone themselves again. Introducing Amazon Lockers…

1272460_Amazoncoop1Amazon Lockers sprang up about a year ago in Seattle (Amazon’s home base), New York City, and Washington, D.C., effectively ending many a package delivery woe.

I never had package delivery woes before living in a city, but you see, UPS — which Amazon tends to rely on quite often — will not deliver packages without a signature. Yet they, of course, only come by our building during our work hours. And since we are not rich enough to have a doorman, they never get a signature. On the fourth attempt, they leave you a note telling you to go to UPS.com and make further arrangements to obtain the item you already paid for.

What this note does not tell you, but UPS.com will, is that it costs an additional $5 to either pick up your package at a UPS Customer Services Center — which, naturally, is at least 40 blocks downtown of your apartment and on the opposite side of Manhattan — or to send it to another address, such as your office.

One way to avoid this is to send Amazon packages directly to your office, but I know people who have still managed to lose packages this way, as they can get lost in large buildings’ mail rooms, and I remain a little wary of turning someone else’s full-time job into a quest for my personal belongings when that is in no way in their job description.

Sometimes USPS and FedEx will leave packages in the (unlocked) entrance to our building, where the letter boxes are, and one of the neighbors will be lovely enough to move the package into the locked entry area, where the packages are safe from theft and muddy shoes. But it is impossible to predict if (1) the delivery person will risk leaving the package in an unlocked area, and (2) other people will be nice and move it in. We’ve had at least one package never turn up when it was posted as “delivered” in online shipping tracking.

Amazon Lockers solves these problems. When placing an order, simply locate the nearest Amazon Locker to your apartment/office/gym/whatever. These can be found in drug stores, groceries, and in my case, a 24/7 7/11 two blocks away. Each Amazon Locker set has a unique name (mine is “Argu,” haha), as well as a listed address for the business in which it resides. When your package is delivered to the locker, you automatically receive an email and/or text message with a special code.

Amazon2

Then, like a character out of a James Bond film, you discretely enter said-7/11/Duane Reade/D’Agnostino’s and enter the code into the Amazon Locker touchscreen. Bam! One of the compartments magically opens, revealing your package, safe and sound, just waiting for you. True, you do have to carry your package home, but it sure beats not knowing when or if it will ever end up in your hands.

Bravo, Amazon. You’re the bee’s knees.

P.S. The one con of this system is you can only use Amazon Lockers for purchases made from Amazon.com, not from an outside seller who retails through Amazon.com. So yeah, this basically eliminates all used books from going to the Lockers. You win some, you lose some.

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