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Inside Flex—Amazon’s Army Of Everyday Delivery People (HBO)

Amazon just had its best Prime day ever.

The company sold more than 100 million products over a 36-hour period, bragging in a press release that it was the “biggest shopping event in Amazon history.” But a massive shopping event like Prime Day is only in possible in part because of Amazon’s Flex program, which recruits everyday people to deliver Amazon packages for a modest wage.

That’s because the most expensive part of delivering a package is getting it from a local warehouse to a customer’s doorstep. Amazon’s Flex program helps reduce that cost by hiring delivery drivers as independent contractors.

VICE News followed a married couple in Phoenix, AZ, who use Flex as their primary source of income. “[Flex] saved our lives,” Beverly Karpinski, 64, told VICE News. “For three months we had no income except for my husband’s social security check, and one day I was on Craigslist and I saw Amazon was hiring independent delivery drivers.”

Karpinski and her husband, Ed, both signed up for Flex and have been delivering packages for more than a year. In Arizona, the Karpinski’s make about $18 an hour before expenses.

You don’t need any qualifications to drive for Flex: just pass a background check and have a valid driver’s license. Due to the driver’s independent contractor status, Amazon doesn’t provide any benefits like healthcare or paid time off. Amazon says Flex drivers across the country make $18-$25 an hour, but that doesn’t include gas or car maintenance.

Amazon declined to provide any details about how many Flex drivers Amazon hires, or how many fulfillment centers across the country support Flex, but an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company leverages its malleable Flex workforce in order to compensate for Prime Day. The spokesperson also confirmed that the delivery route given to Flex drivers is generated by an Amazon algorithm.

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48 thoughts on “Inside Flex—Amazon’s Army Of Everyday Delivery People (HBO)

  1. If she makes around 230$ for four days, that is around 1700$ a month by working every day. In this her income is awful, in the meaning the the price of gas per kilometer makes roughly 750$. But gas is not her only problem, if something break in her husbands case, who has even rent a car that makes his salary even more unrealistic.

  2. I worked for the post office. I had to do a background check print out my driving record from the dmv, finger printed and take a drug test. Getting random people packages to deliver just because they downloaded some app is irresponsible.

  3. People shouldn't complain about Amazon or Uber and others that give people a freedom to be their own boss. In this day and age we all looking for these kinds of companies to emancipate us from long hours confined in one place. Here in my country I'm busy looking for these kinds of jobs as I am currently unemployed but they won't take my car as it's older than 7yrs. Robbery would be another problem in other countries as greedy criminals would tell their friends to follow other drivers from the depots and feeding the information about the fellow drivers

  4. If people would stop lining up to slave for these jackoffs like Uber, AirBnB, Amazon, etc.. They would be the one's with no choice except to pay what people's time is worth. Without fast and accurate delivery, people would stop using Amazon, which they should anyway since it's essentially a leech on American society and gives nothing back.

  5. amazon flex contractors do a poor job delivering my junk. I can't believe that I am saying this, but I wish ontrac would deliver my junk now. its got so bad, that I rarely shop on amazon anymore. no longer the cheapest either.

  6. What a waste of fossil fuel, EEUU gonna learn from the bad way to really be an advance nation, this is lame, just consume, make your boss rich, and you are burning oil the entire day just to deliver a shit product, wasted nation.

  7. Funny how amazon is becoming like walmart, people should be thankful they don't "enforce" min wage laws. Amazon/walmarts usually pay above it, small business's usually pay min wages. I love how we have these Bernie socialists think cause they be rich I deserve 50$ hr wage lol…good luck with that idea, our city tried high wages(bernie idea) had to lay off 35% of the population due to high wages, don't forget people lazy no one wants to do extra 25%-50% more work when someone is laid off, people are lazy mofos when it comes to work.

  8. That’s what independent contractors are meant for, it’s not a job it’s a gig, you have to have a real job whilst doing this or doing this while growing your business, it’s not that complicated

  9. I wonder how many people are killed in the US by idiots playing on their phones while driving. Highly illegal in developed countries.. not only illegal, but completely frowned upon.

  10. How many parcels can you fit inside the trunk and back seat of your typical compact or sub-compact size car today? They don't exactly economize on box sizes at those Amazon warehouses! I've gotten items inside boxes three or four times the required size, crammed with kraft paper. You're going to be returning to the warehouse multiple times per delivery shift, a sure-fire profit killer.

  11. Thee 'Flex" drivers are going to be driving a LOT more miles than your average commuter or homeowner; they're driving commercially. That means delivering on a schedule and the resulting bad-driver behavior. Are they paying commercial auto/vehicle insurance rates? Nooooo! Who's subsidizing that? It's a huge cost savings to Bezo and that's passed on to the general public. Privatizing profits, socializing costs. It's exactly what employers of ILLEGAL ALIENS do. Note that the broken-down driver calls Triple-A for road service. That organization isn't designed to handle the demands of commercial vehicles.

  12. Lol that’s why she sucks why are you just throwing in your packages like that it’s awful I do my route in 2 hours and I pick up another and still have time for a postmates run. Please don’t be her organize your packages she must have done that before hand but if not then jeez. People just complain about everything now a days they don’t force you to sign up or stay or even to accept a block it’s on your own will power so stop it there’s no argument it’s on you. And no I’m not defending them I’m stating the obvious.

  13. I think that tablets' work off both the phone internet system and home wifi. So in the times your waiting to get packages you could be using a bigger screen than your smartphone to surf internet. Where laptops don't work off the phone system yet but wifi and corded only.

  14. Ring the doorbell, Put the package outside the door and leave. Somebody passes by and sees a 2000 dollar laptop box. Not that smart. At least wait 5 or 15 seconds before leaving, it will make a whole difference.

  15. It worries me to see these new job types. As independent contractors employees are not given the same standards that fully employed people get. It also seems like more and more companies are going this route. I'm all for innovation but this is feeling like a technological dystopian story come to life in my opinion.

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