I considered writing this as a humor piece, but I like the idea too much. 🙂

I was reading about Amazon opening another college center (their seventh) at Pennsylvania University. Here’s one article on it:

CNET article Ben Fox Rubin

These aren’t college bookstores…they don’t have books. 🙂 They are pick-up centers (and media centers…you can hang out and use Wi-Fi, try out Amazon hardware, that sort of thing).

The articles generally talk about Amazon getting closer to their customers…so I was thinking, why not give me a pick-up center at my house?

Right now, we don’t have Amazon items delivered to our house, due to a history of mail theft in our area (it has happened to us personally). We have them delivered to where my Significant Other works…which is a bit awkward sometimes. It can mean we get it a day later (it has to go through central receiving), and it’s obviously not good on the weekends.

We considered buying a locking mailbox, but they are pretty expensive.

What if Amazon sold you a mailbox just for their own deliveries? They could make it inexpensive, since they don’t have to profit on the box. If you were in a Prime Now city, you could get a delivery in an hour. It would be better for them, because they don’t have to gamble on you actually being there.

The other thing they could do very effectively is put something like a “dashback” button inside it for the delivery person. It would be like their

Dash buttons (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

where you just push a button to order something. Instead, the delivery person would push the button…and it would automatically e-mail/text you to tell your package had been delivered.

They could sell it in different sizes…maybe even a Block size where neighbors might go in on it for big deliveries (although that would complicate the dashback idea).

You could secure it by locking it down, or installing it in a wall (Amazon can help connect you to handypeople who could help you with that).

At some point in the future, this could also be accessible to drones (flying or ground delivery). They would have some way to unlock the Amazon@home box…although it has to be something that people couldn’t steal from it easily. 🙂

Well, this is all just an off the cuff idea…but I like it. 🙂

What do you think? Do you think this would work? What would you pay for it? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Oh, two quick follow-ups to recent stories: Amazon has confirmed for me that you do not need to certify a disability to buy their

Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle – Includes Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi and Special Offers, Kindle Audio Adapter, and $19.99 Account Credit (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and their new Amazon Video Direct, which I wrote about here

Round up #140: Megapacks in KU, B&N’s future?

is a non-exclusive license, which is great! You can monetize your videos through YouTube or your personal website, and still offer them through Amazon!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)  This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

7 Responses to “Amazon@home”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    If you live in high crime area, I expect the bad guys might just attack/destroy the Amazon mailbox to see if there’s anything worth stealing. 😀

    A while back there were some stories about Amazon putting delivery lockers in selected Staples stores — I wonder whatever happened to that?

    UPS has a facility to send you an email when a delivery has been made. Same facility gives you the ability to change an upcoming delivery date or location.

    There was news today that Amazon is entering into selling “private label” goods — possibly within the next month. Items include staples, non-perishable foodstuffs, housewares, diapers, etc.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I wouldn’t describe it as high crime…it’s reasonable to think that these mail thefts were by non-professional criminals (some people suspected local students). Boxes from more than one theft were found in a nearby park, along with fast food debris. People like that, who might be doing it for fun, would be likely to pass by a difficult option for an easy one (an unlocked mailbox). No question that pros might target them…but that activity might be more obvious, and there are people with cameras here. We had a YouTube video posted here (the police told the neighbor it was okay to do that) showing someone brazenly walking up to a stoop after a delivery truck had been there to steal a box. They may have been following the truck…again, they’d probably skip a more secure box. Nothing is perfect (Amazon would need to be clear about that in the warranty), but I think it would help.

  2. Allie D. Says:

    Well wait a second… don’t you already get a text as soon as a package has been delivered? I usually get a text message saying when an order is “out for delivery” – i.e., the morning to expect the order – and then an automatic text as soon as something is dropped off – in my case on my front stoop. It’s not a button by my door or anything- is that what you mean by a dashback button?

    It’s nowhere near the safety of a lockbox, but it can be somewhat helpful to know exactly when something has been delivered.

    As to payment for a lockbox setup… I would’ve considered it in at least one of my apartments, where the front door opened right onto a busy city sidewalk. A package would’ve been scooped up in about 30 seconds. (We had a slot in the door for the mail.) I’m not sure how much I would’ve paid, though. I did the same as many others – used office mailing address, though I was never totally comfortable with that setup.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      Not reliably, no. It depends on who is delivering it. It can also come hours after the actual delivery, which makes sense to me. A company like UPS can have a connected label scanner in the truck, and can do it right away. Other companies may only do the scan periodically (when they can pull over and engage their clunkier system, or even when they get back to the office.

      Prime Now deliveries may happen by bicycle, and having an onboard scanner and transmitter is more complicated…the same thing goes for air and ground drones. Having a self-powered button you could just push allows for a lot more flexibility in delivery options.

      • Allie D. Says:

        Bufo – I’ve made assumptions based on my own Amazon service. Well, I had no reason to think otherwise. I get Amazon shipments from several carriers – from FedEx, UPS, sometimes the mailman, if it is in a yellow bubble-wrap envelope. (The first time I got a text regarding post office delivery, some years back, I laughed a bit at the message: “Your order has been delivered and is now waiting for you in your mailbox.”). Very occasionally, I get deliveries from a third-party carrier called Lasership. All 4 sources send me messages pretty much instantaneously upon delivery, sent from the same 6 digit text number. They at least purport to be from Amazon, as opposed to the carrier.

        When I order from other companies, sometimes a similar service is provided, sometimes not – but I’ve come to expect it as a given from Amazon.

        I suppose the service depends on location…? I can’t figure out a decent explanation for this variation.

  3. Man in the Middle Says:

    I’m guessing you’ll get most of the benefit by just placing a large box near your entry marked for packages. A thief would have to walk up and open it even to see if anything is inside, and if you have a Ring (motion-sensing video) doorbell watching the box anyone who tries that will be videoed, and you immediately notified. The other benefit of even a simple box is protection from rain and snow.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Unfortunately, with the set up you describe, our packages would probably still get stolen. The person who was recorded taking the package wasn’t stopped from doing it.

      I also am not so interested in catching someone after a crime is committed, as I am in preventing the crime in the first place. That’s always my preference. That’s one of the arguments in favor of DRM (Digital Rights Management). It can prevent someone from inadvertently infringing…better than the rightsholder going after them afterwards for a remedy. It doesn’t stop the committed, intentional infringer, of course.

      Rain and snow isn’t an issue…we don’t get the latter, and we have a porch with a roof. 🙂

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