This is an actual exchange between an Amazon delivery driver and dispatch during the recent catastrophic weather.
Driver: Radio’s been going off.
Dispatch: OK. Just keep driving. We can’t just call people back for a warning unless Amazon tells us to do so.
Driver: Just relaying in case y’all didn’t hear it over there.
Driver: Tornado alarms are going off over here.
Dispatch: Just keep delivering for now. We have to wait for word from Amazon. If we need to bring people back, the decision will ultimately be up to them. I will let you know if the situation changes at all. I’m talking with them now about it.
Driver: How about for my own personal safety, I’m going to head back. Having alarms going off next to me and nothing but locked building around me isn’t sheltering in place. That’s wanting to turn this van into a casket. Hour left of delivery time. And if you look at the radar, the worst of the storm is going to be right on top of me in 30 minutes.
Driver: It was actual sirens.
Dispatch: “If you decided to come back, that choice is yours. But I can tell you it won’t be viewed as for your own safety. The safest practice is to stay exactly where you are. If you decide to return with your packages, it will be viewed as you refusing your route, which will ultimately end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning. The sirens are just a warning.
Driver: I’m literally stuck in this damn van without a safe place to go with a tornado on the ground.
Dispatch: Amazon is saying shelter in place.
Dispatch: I will know when they say anything else to me.
Dispatch: [Driver name] you need to shelter in place. The wind just came through the warehouse and ripped the rts door and broke it so even if you got back here, you can’t get in the building. You need to stop and shelter in place.
Isn’t it curious that the US Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is a corrupt Republican who has been slowing down mail delivery, while corporations like Amazon are cracking the whip and compelling their workers to risk their lives to get packages shipped faster and faster?
Here’s the deal: nothing I ever order from Amazon is so time-critical that I’ll get upset if it’s a day or two or three late. Next-day delivery is not a big issue to me — I’m not ordering live organs and human tissue, ever. At least not yet. I don’t want any drivers to die so I can get a rush of gratification.