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'Amazon, Thank My Driver': It Works (and Isn't a Facebook Scam)

TheStreet logo TheStreet 12/8/2022 Daniel Kline

The retailer finds a good use for Alexa that's so nice it felt like it couldn't actually be real.

You almost never see the person who delivers your Amazon (AMZN) - Get Free Report order.

You may see the truck out the window or glimpse the person dropping off your order as they race to make their next delivery.

All year these are very difficult and thankless jobs, requiring long hours. And once the holidays get close, the workload becomes even harder as more stops get added and more packages go to pretty much every stop.

So many things can go wrong. Put a package in the wrong place and customers get mad. Leave a box or envelope where it gets soaked by rain or snow jand that's somehow the driver's fault, too.

Now, in a small holiday-season gesture, Amazon has come up with a new way for customers to thank their drivers in a meaningful way.

STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images © Provided by TheStreet STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon Creates a Way to Say Thanks

Amazon has an idea that if you saw it on Facebook, you'd think it was one of those not-real ideas that people love to share. 

What's the idea that might feel like a scam? If you tell your Alexa device, "Amazon, thank my driver," the driver who delivered your most-recent package would get not just a thank you but also $5.

It's not a scam. Amazon has actually launched a limited-time effort to put a little extra cash into its drivers' hands this holiday season. Amazon's vice president of last-mile delivery, Beryl Tomay, wrote a blog post about the new offer.

We’ve heard many examples through social media, emails, phone calls, and when talking with friends and family. You can even read some of them for yourself. Now, we’ll provide customers with the opportunity to say thanks each and every day—with the help of Alexa. We developed an Alexa feature that allows customers to directly thank their drivers for making their deliveries. This new feature is available to U.S. customers with an Alexa-enabled device (Echo, Echo Show) or the Alexa or Amazon Shopping mobile apps, making it easy to thank drivers in the U.S. anywhere.

The $5 tip will go to each of the first million drivers whom Amazon customers thank. That requires only a $5 million investment from the online retail giant, but it's a smart goodwill move given the amount (and in some cases the critical ferocity) of social-media and mainstream-media comment this promotion will prompt.

Amazon will also give the five drivers who receive the most thank-yous $10,000 and make an additional $10,000 donation to the charities of their choice.

Amazon Faces Labor Woes

Amazon has launched the "thank my driver" campaign at a time when its labor practices are under fire. 

Workers at some of its warehouses have attempted to unionize, and questions about why its drivers are contractors who work for third parties, not directly for Amazon, have been raised.

The company has fought off unions in some places but has also lost some battles.

"After workers in Staten Island, N.Y., voted to join the Amazon Labor Union this spring, the company appealed the result. A federal labor official presided over weeks of hearings on the case and is now recommending that Amazon's objections be rejected in their entirety and that the union should be certified," NPR reported.

Amazon has also begun laying off as many as 10,000 white-collar workers.

“As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change," Amazon's global head of media relations said in an emailed statement to TheStreet

"As we’ve gone through this, given the current macroeconomic environment (as well as several years of rapid hiring), some teams are making adjustments, which in some cases means certain roles are no longer necessary.

"We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we are working to support any employees who may be affected.”

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