Amazon Officially Prioritizing Delivery of Household Staples

Now that COVID-19—or “the coronavirus” for those who prefer the vestigial moniker—has locked up the world economy in countless ways, businesses are responding to the new supply and demand landscape as best as they can. This, of course, includes the goliath international corporation, Amazon, which says it will now be prioritizing the stocking and delivery of household staples, medical supplies, and other “high demand products” in order to meet overwhelming demand. The company says it is also working on ways to keep prices on those items from skyrocketing.

According to an Amazon press release, which comes via Ad Age, the company says that it will be looking to take a bevy of measures in order to support those who’ve been directly or indirectly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Chief among those measures will be a reprioritization of product deliveries. That will hopefully keep the flow of critical items moving from the company’s distribution centers to people’s homes. That includes from their iconic “fulfillment centers.”Below is an excerpt from Amazon’s release, which highlights the company’s new strategy:

“We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we want to make sure our customers can get the items they need, when they need them. As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online which has had an impact on how we serve our customers. So in the short term, we are making the decision to temporarily prioritize household staples, medical supplies and other high demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability of these essential products, and continue to bring on additional capacity to deliver customer orders.”

It’s unclear from the press release what Amazon considers to be household staples or high-demand items, or medical supplies for that matter, but those categories presumably include items like toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, non-perishable foods, diapers, paper towels, over-the-counter medicines, face masks, respirators, etc. In other words, all of the products that people have already cleared out of grocery stores and pharmacies thanks to panic buying.

A look inside one of Amazon's Fulfillment Centers

A look inside one of Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers. Maryland GovPics

It’s obviously difficult to say what people think of Amazon’s move to make these critical items more readily available. However, the comments in response to Amazon’s post on Twitter were, as of this writing, largely negative. For example, one man from Los Angeles, who says he works for Amazon, wrote in response to the press release: “As an Amazon employee I can’t risk constantly being on the street coming in contact with multiple customers, in [sic] a full time driver for you guys and you guys have NOT provided us with masks, gloves nor wipes to wipe down our vehicles, this is a HUGE concern to me !!!!!” Other comments from people who say they work for Amazon echoed the sentiment of feeling unsafe at work.

According to the press release, Amazon will also be taking numerous other measures to help combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, including: creating 100,000 new full and part-time positions “to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time,” $350 million in increased compensation for employees in the form of a temporary hourly wage increase, and the establishment of an Amazon Relief Fund, which will focus on supporting the company’s delivery service partners, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees.

Featured Image: Tony Webster 

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