Amazon floored me with the kindest little gesture (yes, I said Amazon)


Chris Matyszczyk

No, I wasn’t in a good mood. It had been raining here in the Bay Area for fourteen years. At least, that’s what it felt like.

Yes, I got grouchy. What are you going to do about it?

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At times like these, I sit and read, sit, and watch sports, or sit on my stationary bike, read, and watch sports.

Once a day, I ventured to the mailbox, just to see which nefariously-minded financial planner, mortgage broker, or realtor was trying to hawk their soiled wares.

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There was only a postcard from a terrible plumber, but there were a couple of Amazon packages on the doorstep.

With a suitably absent mind, I picked them up and took them inside. It looked like I’d been ordering books again, a difficult habit to shake.

Then, I looked at the parcel on top and stared for a few seconds.

Here was a typical Amazon bubblewrap envelope. It contained just the one book, a paperback. Yet someone at Amazon had decided to slip it into a plastic bag, to protect it a little more from the downpour.

Perhaps this happens to you all the time. Perhaps you live somewhere where it rains far more than here. To me, this simple gesture conjured a real human being who’d bothered to consider the weather and do something to please another human being.

Just because.

The plastic bag was similar to the ones which you put your fruit into at the grocery store. It wasn’t Amazon branded. It was just a simple, transparent plastic bag, tied in a knot at the top.

So I contacted Amazon to ask who in the supply chain may have been responsible for this tiny kindness. Was it someone at the warehouse? Was it the driver? Is there, in fact, some sort of company policy with respect to delivering packages in bad weather?

Sadly, I received no revelations from the company.

In our greed and laziness — oh, come on, please admit it — we often forget the people who work hard and, all too often, thanklessly. They deliver us something we might easily find in a store. If only we shifted ourselves off of the sofa and toward the door.

They go to warehouse work in the rain, while we work from home.

They drive vans filled with surveillance technology to bring the nation its hairspray, underwear, and household goods. Sometimes, they don’t even have time for urination.

Meanwhile, they’re not even treated so well at work. Amazon still hasn’t quite sold the world on its benevolence as an employer. Somehow, every time one listens to an Amazon executive, the only feeling it incites is a shiver.

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Yet still someone, somewhere, still bothered to consider the lazy oaf at home that is me.

Many say brands are created by brilliant minds and oddly-dressed ad agency personnel.

Very often, though, it’s the actions of individual employees that reinforce, and sometimes even create, a positive image for a brand.

If only all companies could treat their employees as if they understood that.

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