Recently Amazon Fresh started delivering to Brooklyn, and I gave it a shot. I needed both a baking dish and standard groceries like cauliflower and olive oil, and Amazon Fresh has basically everything. You know what else they have? Ramen kits from Ippudo! But I didn't get one of those—I ordered a total of 15 items, the smallest being a package of chives, the largest a 11.75" x 2.5" oval baking dish. Everything could have very easily fit into 1 or 2 bags, but I received 5. Why? It seems the chives and the cucumber both needed their own massive bag all to themselves:
Each bag was bigger than your standard reusable grocery bag, and came fitted with a break-apart styrofoam cooler, as you can see. Most had a minimum of three ice packs inside, and each item was individually placed in its own plastic bag.
The delivery person did ask me if I wanted him to wait until I unpacked everything so he could take it away, but I had a lot to unpack and that seemed awkward. I did find these instructions nestled in a delivery reminder email (who even reads those?)—but how many New Yorkers do you think are actually holding on to the mountains of packaging leftover from their orders?
"To store your totes until your next delivery, you can fold and place totes inside other totes. If your tote also has a cooler inside, you can collapse the Styrofoam liners for easier storage. Before your next order is delivered, please make sure the totes and coolers are left on your doorstep where the driver can see them."
Since I do not plan on using this service again, I contacted Amazon about what to do with the packaging, since it's taking up a lot of prime real estate in my tiny studio apartment. I was told if I left it outside, they would pick it up on Wednesday sometime. I told them that I did not feel comfortable leaving a ton of packaging in the common area or on the stoop of my building, and even if I did that it would likely be taken away and trashed by the super. Amazon's rep said, "I'm so sorry about the amount of packaging you received... If it is too much of an inconvenience for you please donate or dispose of the totes at your convenience."
Overall this packaging seems wasteful, and like a burden on both the customer and the environment, since we'd wager that at least a few New Yorkers aren't following this fine print protocol regarding pick-up.
I reached out to Amazon's PR team regarding this—specifically asking why the cucumber and chives were delivered in their own big bags, and the problem New Yorkers may face when leaving piles of packaging outside of their buildings for pick-up. If I hear back, you'll find an update here. In the meantime, anybody want some tote bags and styrofoam?