Cell phones hanging from trees near supermarkets and product distribution stations are puzzling residents of the Chicago suburbs of the United States. The phenomenon is the result of a strategy by Amazon’s partner drivers to take advantage of other couriers when taking orders. The story was revealed by the Bloomberg news channel.
This fierce competition from professionals is due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, where many workers lost their jobs and today rely on application deliveries as a primary source of income.
Amazon Flex is an Amazon delivery app that allows drivers to work with their own car. The system is able to detect drivers closest to the collection points, who receive an alert when a package needs to leave for delivery. Smartphones are being placed in these locations so that the deliverers involved in the plot receive requests beforehand and earn more money throughout the day.
Drivers participating in the scheme synchronize their personal phone with those placed in the trees and wait in the vicinity to make the withdrawal of orders. In addition to the proximity to the collection sites, the strategy also uses software that monitors Amazon’s dispatch networks.
The smartphones placed next to the Whole Foods chains, in turn, are for those drivers who compete for Instant Offers, a fast delivery modality of Amazon Flex that requires immediate response from delivery personnel and takes 15 to 45 minutes to complete.
The smartphones in the trees are the main devices that send the routes to several drivers near the location. They spread the work across multiple Amazon Flex accounts to make detection more difficult. The author of the scheme has not been identified and it is not known whether it is a single individual or group, but it is believed that this would only be an intermediary between Amazon and drivers and that he would be charging couriers for the scheme.