Amazon abandons shipment to local pickup facility


FILE – This Sept. 6, 2012, file photo, shows the Amazon logo. A new study says Amazon’s facial-detection technology often misidentifies women, particularly those with darker skin. The researchers from MIT and the University of Toronto say they studied Amazon’s technology because it has marketed it to law enforcement. Privacy and civil rights advocates say Amazon should not do so because of worries about discrimination against minorities. Amazon says the study uses a “facial analysis” and not “facial recognition” technology and that Amazon has updated its technology since the study. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

On Jan. 17, 2019, Amazon@Storrs officially concluded its two-year stint as a package pickup locale for UConn students. According to an Amazon spokesperson, the corporation arrived at this controversial decision on account of lackluster customer service. Despite such reasoning, students have been disheartened, to say the least, by the facility’s permanent closure. Although Amazon appears to have boxed the undergraduate community into a corner by backing out of a prime deal, students may also benefit somewhat from departure of Amazon@storrs.

Of course, Amazon@Storrs’ closing has downsides for students. For instance, shipping expenses will rise for those who do not own an Amazon Prime membership (Amazon Prime is a subscription service that offers its members free two-day delivery on every order). A less-discussed detriment is that Amazon@Storrs’ farewell leaves one destination fewer for those students seeking on-campus employment opportunities. Perhaps most significant, however, is the fact that UConn mailrooms will now take on more responsibility for student package pickup. Considering that said mailrooms have a history of experiencing backups from Amazon Prime packages and do not offer return service, students awaiting academic necessities or even luxury items may endure greater inconvenience than usual.

As unpleasant as these new developments sound, Amazon’s decision may inadvertently benefit students. After all, no longer must students travel to a separate facility to retrieve their packages (this will be especially convenient throughout the typically overwhelming New England winter and other periods of brutal outdoor conditions). Students, in the event that they do not live near an Amazon facility post-graduation, will also attain critical life skills (e.g. learning about a standard mail system, returning packages to a USPS facility, waiting patiently for package arrival, etc.). Hopefully, UConn mailrooms will feel motivated to improve their service quality on account of the greater number of students’ orders for which they will now hold responsibility (and staying on the topic of potential mailroom improvements, students should receive email notifications for the arrival of not only packages, but also letters, lest said students miss a crucial, unexpected letter by months on end).

As Amazon wraps up its brief tenure in Storrs, UConn students are justifiably upset at this sudden, unfortunate turn of events. But if UConn mailrooms can deliver upon their utmost potential, then said students may not send themselves into a frenzy come pickup time.

Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email

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