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Tue Sep 1, 2020, 02:49 PM

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees To Get More Work in desperate economy

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work, Bloomberg 9/1/20

A strange phenomenon has emerged near Amazon.com Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs: smartphones dangling from trees. Contract delivery drivers are putting them there to get a jump on rivals seeking orders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Someone places several devices in a tree located close to the station where deliveries originate. Drivers in on the plot then sync their own phones with the ones in the tree and wait nearby for an order pickup. The reason for the odd placement, according to experts and people with direct knowledge of Amazonís operations, is to take advantage of the handsetsí proximity to the station, combined with software that constantly monitors Amazonís dispatch network, to get a split-second jump on competing drivers.

That drivers resort to such extreme methods is emblematic of the ferocious competition for work in a pandemic-ravaged U.S. economy suffering from double-digit unemployment. Much the way milliseconds can mean millions to hedge funds using robotraders, a smartphone perched in a tree can be the key to getting a $15 delivery route before someone else.

... An Uber-like app called Amazon Flex lets drivers make deliveries in their own cars. For many with other jobs, itís a way to earn extra money in their spare time. But with joblessness rising and unemployment payments shrinking, competition for such work has stiffened, and more people rely on it as their primary income source. Adding to the pressure, fewer people are using ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, so more drivers have to deliver online shopping orders to make money. As a result, some Whole Foods locations have come to resemble parking lots at Home Depot Inc., where day laborers have long congregated to pick up home repair gigs.

More: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-drivers-hanging-smartphones-trees-125150039.html

Bloomberg reported similar use of apps by Instacart shoppers earlier this month.

Whatís happening at Whole Foods in the Chicago ... When drivers see an Instant Offer, they have only a few minutes to accept the delivery or lose it to someone else. ... a phone in a tree outside Whole Foodsí door would get the delivery offer even before drivers sitting in their cars just a block away ((Whole Foods and Amazon Flex send their route offers to the nearest phones first)) . ... The phones in trees seem to serve as master devices that dispatch routes to multiple nearby drivers in on the plot

One reason Flex contractors do this is to get around the requirements for being a driver, such as having a valid license or being authorized to work in the U.S., ... explained in the article: someone meeting the work requirements subhires the one who doesn't meet requirements to actually do the driving at a lesser rate, keeping the difference.

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Reply Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees To Get More Work in desperate economy (Original post)
progree Sep 2020 OP
progree Sep 2020 #1
Hugin Sep 2020 #2
progree Sep 2020 #3

Response to progree (Original post)

Tue Sep 1, 2020, 06:30 PM

1. Yeah I know, S&P 500 is up 9.2% year-to-date, so everything is super duper, right?

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Response to progree (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 2, 2020, 07:51 AM

2. My take on this is the US Markets are benefiting from the recovery of the rest of the World...

who have mostly done the correct things in response to the COVID pandemic. Whereas, the US has done almost nothing correctly, if anything at all in response.

For instance, this morning's articles are touting a "V" shaped recovery in manufacturing. Since the US shifted to a Service based economy instead of Manufacturing in the Reagan era, guess what, they're not talking about us. But, the Markets will spike on the news leaving the true story of the domestic economy in the dust and widening the divide between what would appear to be the state of the economy as indicated by the stock market and the reality on Main Street.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 2, 2020, 09:20 AM

3. Yup, 40% of the S&P 500 companies' revenue is from abroad

But I think we're in an era where Price/Earnings ratios just don't seem to matter anymore .... for now. Part of that is that bond yields are at all time lows -- people are just sick of investing in fixed income stuff (CD's, bonds) and getting like 2%. And money market funds are back to essentially zero interest. So people are buying stocks, since the alternative is not much better than putting money under the mattress.

But then I worry what happens to stocks when interest rates go up again...

Edited to add: Uggh, CD rates for 5+ years max out at 1.26%. And that's for a $25,000+ deposit. Shorter term are even lower, e.g. 3 years: "Red Rock Bank is 1.20%, the next highest is 1.00%.


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