Amazon Fresh Is Now Free for Prime Members, But Should You Use It?

On Tuesday, Amazon officially eliminated all delivery fees associated with its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery program for Prime Members, a service that traditionally costs $14.99 a month; this news comes just months after Amazon’s shift to one-day shipping for its Prime customers. According to Vox, delivery fees will also be eliminated for customers who use the two-hour Prime Now delivery for Whole Foods. (Users will also need to spend at least $35 to qualify for the delivery-fee free service, though there are exceptions; in New York City, it’ll take $50.)

Meanwhile, as the New York Times reported this week, Amazon’s innovations in efficiency apparently haven’t been so great for major urban areas; in New York City, traffic congestion caused by deliveries is ramping up, as drivers deliver some 1.5 million packages a day. This is also on top of Amazon’s questionable business practices regarding its use of delivery drivers, often responsible for meeting harsh end-of-day targets. (A 2018 Business Insider story spoke with 31 Amazon drivers who cited issues of long, “grueling” shifts and missing wages; a separate BuzzFeed News story called next-day delivery “chaos” for drivers, many of whom are independent contractors hired through third-party companies—not just UPS and the US Postal Service—and thus, do not have sufficient rights in the event of an accident.)


Given all of this, you might ask if it’s even worth it to use Amazon’s Fresh program? That depends—but we’ll offer a few things to consider before you do. In terms of traffic congestion, theoretically, you might argue that one Amazon truck delivering groceries to several customers would generate less congestion than if those customers were to drive to grocery stores, instead—but Amazon Fresh is generally limited to urban areas, so you can’t eliminate the likelihood that customers would walk. (For these reasons, it’s also hard to quantify its environmental effect.) If you’re wondering if your package is creating a congestion problem, it probably isn’t helping.

Photo: Shutterstock

Obviously, you should also consider what buying from Amazon Fresh might mean for smaller, local stores if you and others collectively decide to change your buying habits. You’ll have to weigh out how important price is to you, as well as convenience. (Heading to a grocery store down the street will generally be quicker than waiting for a delivery, even with Amazon Fresh’s expedience. But if you have reasons for not wanting or being able to go to the store in person, that outweighs the extra waiting time.) You might even consider just relying on Amazon Fresh for certain groceries that are harder to find at your local grocery store.


Lastly, if you do buy Amazon Fresh, resist advice like the kind posted in this Reddit thread that insists to complain to Amazon in the event your delivery is late (unless the driver makes some egregious error). We get it, you were expecting a package, but given the general secrecy around Amazon’s practices with delivery drivers, a complaint lodged against them may result in more consequences than we know. Hell, these drivers go through enough. And this should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Always, always tip your drivers, damn it.

Darknet  Lifehacker

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