Amazon goes the extra mile to bring in customers and enter other areas of retail. But, intentionally or not, the company broke new ground when it shipped 65 pounds of marijuana to a Florida couple that had only ordered some used storage containers, according to a new story.
Not that Amazon is beyond new types of promotion, like its Amazon prime days or $500,000 premium product pages. And, granted, there are companies looking to become the Amazon of the pot trade. Too late. But Amazon seems as surprised as the consumers in this case.
They wanted totes, not tokes
The original story seems to come from Orlando television station WFTV. An unidentified woman and her fiancé ordered 27-gallon containers from Amazon Warehouse Deals, which the company advertises as "great deals on quality used products."
When the totes came in, they were suspiciously heavy at 93.5 pounds. Those bins clearly had something stashed inside. Upon opening the packages and lids, the odor was clear.
It's a funny/not funny story. The couple called the police (the first officer on the scene was apparently stunned) and so now had to explain how they might have that much illegal material in their home. Would you believe that Amazon had "accidentally" shipped out enough dried plant material to keep a dorm full of stoners ridiculously happy for a week?
The worries didn't stop there. The couple was afraid that someone had somehow figured out where their product had gone and would break in, so they slept elsewhere for a number of nights.
Don't let the man see your can. Man
This originally happened a month ago and the couple had gone back and forth with Amazon (which has not yet responded to my questions and a request for a statement). Reportedly the make-good from the company was a $150 gift card. No, there was not a link to its selection of bongs. And, no, I'm not kidding. Yes, Amazon has a fair amount of paraphernalia, including an Arizona Green Tea Diversion Safe Can Stash.
[Update 23-Oct-2017 3:19PM: Amazon did not answer the questions but did provide a short statement: "Our customer service team worked directly with the customer to address concerns and will work with law enforcement to investigate the case, as needed."
What the customers wanted was an explanation of how this could happen. "There was no concern for a customer's safety," they told WFTV. "I mean, this could have turned into a worst-case scenario."
And it absolutely could have. You'd think management would want an explanation post haste as well.
Companies need to ship responsibly
This is beyond a small screw-up. Whether the package shipped from one of their warehouses or from a third party, it shows that Amazon cannot guarantee that it's in control of what's going on. What other items might be hidden in their facilities? What other ... surprises might await another customer? Or what have consumers already had to endure that didn't land on some news desk?
For Amazon's competitors, it also opens the door for some snarky and effective publicity campaigns. "Get your order, not a visit from the DEA."