Not so amazing, amazon

Like many of us, I have switched so much of my shopping from bricks ‘n mortar stores to online and no one has benefited more from my switch than amazon.

My order history for the past three months alone shows 74 orders so I am guessing several thousand orders over the years. Many of these have been small in the single digit dollars but many have been large, even over $2,000 in recent times.

So, I have seen a lot of performance from this company much of which has been comical in their over-packaging. And upon receipt we have shared many laughs between us at the sizes of box and air-pockets versus the item being shipped.

Yesterday’s arriving package got here at 8 pm and it was a rather expensive lens. Around $1,400

So, perhaps I might be forgiven for thinking this would be a rather well-packaged item.


The lens arrived in a partially sealed bubble envelope. A 50 cent envelope that you would buy at Walmart!

This is exactly as it arrived … not even sealed!

To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

I guess they used all the air-pockets on the packet of seasoning send to Mrs Smith in Idaho.

It has taken an impact (big surprise) and the Sony box showed damage. Here are a couple of shots …

I immediately contacted amazon and spent over an hour and a half in chat mode with eventually four of their agents, ultimately being dealt with by a “supervisor”.

Their offer ranged from a 10% refund but I would not be allowed to return the lens if in fact it was faulty, to a $20 coupon to be used against further purchases.

Obviously I declined both and so the bottom line is that they have UPS picking it up in the next day or so and then I wait 2 weeks to get my money back.

If this doesn’t sound outrageous to you, forgive me. But I am disgusted. Their customer service in this instance is a clear indication of how they value us, their clients. Amazingly shoddy and full of their standard “we apologize for the inconvenience”.

This faceless customer service is the price we pay for moving online so I am not entirely surprised. My expectations of them are generally quite low, in all honesty.

But their packaging process is stunningly pathetic, in all seriousness. If you gave me the opportunity to train a team of monkeys, I am pretty confident I could do better over time.

At one end of the spectrum with the ludicrous over packaging, it is simply a joke. We shake our head at the waste and laugh at the absurdity. But we don’t complain.

But at the other end, when a sensitive item needs to be properly shipped, this company clearly doesn’t have a process capable of handling it, or a team of monkeys that have been properly trained. And therein lies the problem.

As more and more goods are being handled through amazon, important and fragile items are becoming a mainstream when in fact they shouldn’t.

Amazon set up to sell and ship books. Their process is probably sturdy enough to handle rugged items like that.

But when fools like me think that we can comfortably buy a sensitive piece of photographic equipment from them, we are being foolish in our naivety.

Apart from the obvious external shipment process, I can only imagine the jungle atmosphere that might exist behind closed doors. And even when not immediately showing a damage or failure, these sensitive products have their performance compromised and their lifetime shortened.

It’s a tough lesson, but I learned it last night. Their process is flawed and their customer service are at best “sorry for the inconvenience”.

Shame on you, Jeff Bezos, for letting the monkeys running the show.

… just a thought!