Every night, before I go to bed, I ask my Alexa-enabled Lenovo nightstand what the weather is like. Last night, right after dutifully announcing the weird fair weather, Alexa told me I could tip my Amazon driver $5 by saying, “Alexa, thank my driver.”
There are currently about 275,000 Amazon drivers (Opens in a new tab) Offering more than a billion dollars (Opens in a new tab) Boxes carrying holiday gifts, consumer holiday dreams come true, and of course, Amazon. But what do the drivers who carefully place these precious boxes on our doorstep get out of it? Other than about $20 an hour, not much. Giving a driver a small tip seemed like the least I could do.
I said, “Alexa, thanks for the driver.” I took a moment to confirm that some hardworking drivers would get a little cheery. Instead, Alexa informed me that she didn’t understand the request.
I decided to contact Amazon because I had a few questions, plus, when I posted the news on Twitter, people showered me with their own inquiries about who gets paid and how.
Amazon representatives apologized for Alexa’s initial misstep, insisted the feature worked as promised, and urged me to try again.
Who got paid?
Apparently, Amazon based the $5 tip on your most recent delivery. It might make sense, as soon as you see a package on your doorstep, to ask Alexa to thank the driver. Otherwise, you may be thanked for the next delivery which may not be suitable for you (it may be for another family member).
How long is the program running?
I have good news and sad news. The good news is that you can continue to thank Amazon drivers as long as they deliver packages. The bad news is that the $5 tip promotional period, which was a US-only event, is over.
Amazon told me via email: “Alexa, Thank you driver exceeded our expectations. We are pleased to see customers interested in thanking their drivers and encourage them to continue to do so. Drivers will continue to be notified of the gratitude they have received.”
There are still a few rules that go around the Alexa gratitude system:
Amazon drivers can receive your thank you once per order. If they deliver multiple orders in one visit, you can thank them for each order. We imagine a long list of thanks for the Amazon driver’s mobile device.
The program, which began December 7, is set to provide up to $5 million in tips to Amazon Flex Delivery Partners, Delivery Associates employed by Amazon Delivery Service Partners, and Hub DP Drivers who deliver Amazon packages in the US.
Finally, while you can open your front door and thank your Amazon driver directly, there is no other way to send thanks through Amazon without Alexa. Fortunately, you can use it on Echo devices, Amazon’s Alexa in the app, and with Amazon’s Alexa app on your smartphone.
On the bright side, it’s heartening to see that a lot of people took the opportunity to financially thank Amazon’s hard-working drivers, but on the other hand, maybe Amazon could have allocated just over $5 million to slow the transition from tip to sincere gratitude.
As I finished writing this, another vacation package arrived on my doorstep. I didn’t see the driver, so I went to my Echo and said, “Alexa, thank the driver.” She immediately responded, “Glad you enjoyed your last ride. We’ll share your thanks with the driver.”
I think this is better than nothing.