Amazon Fresh customers have taken to Twitter to complain about the service not working this weekend as people look for options to have food delivered while self-quarantining during the coronavirus outbreak. While the site is still operational, customers have not been able to chose a delivery window. Amazon previously warned customers earlier this month they might experience delays.
On March 2, Amazon told customers the Prime Now and Amazon Fresh services were already being overwhelmed with orders. The company said it was not reducing the number or employees for either service, but the surge in demand was putting a strain on them, reports Bloomberg.
Prime Now is a quick delivery service available for Prime subscribers, and offers select items to customers that could be delivered in just an hour. Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service available to Prime members in certain markets. When placing orders, customers have to pick a delivery window in order to complete it, but that option has not been available for many.
Amazon made Amazon Fresh a more appealing option for Prime members on Friday when it announced the service will be free for all Prime customers ordering $35 or more. The service previously cost $14.99 a month for Prime subscribers, notes Yahoo.
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Amazon also has a banner on the Amazon Fresh site warning customers, "Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand. Confirm availability at checkout."
Same. Trying to order grocery delivery now. Amazon fresh is ❌— Coby KramerGolinkoff (@Coby1KG) March 15, 2020
Amazon has come under increased scrutiny for its respone to COVID-19, especially after John Mackey, the CEO of Amazon-owned Whole Goods, suggested healthy employees "donate" unused vacation time to fellow workers who fall ill.
I tried that. Amazon Fresh is out of everything I want and the next delivery slot is a week from tomorrow. So it’s off to the store I go.— Jim Wilson (@nenabob94702) March 15, 2020
"Team Members who have a medical emergency or death in their immediate family can receive donated PTO [paid time off] hours, not only from Team Members in their own location, but also from Team Members across the country," Mackey wrote in an email obtained by Motherboard.
Whole Foods also said it will offer unlimited, unpaid time off during the rest of March and two weeks of PTO for employees who test positive for COVID-19. Amazon adopted the same policy for its employees and contractors, as did other tech firms like Uber and Lyft.
"This is a longstanding Whole Foods Market program from prior to the acquisition," Amazon said in a statement to Motherboard. "Amazon is matching all funds to the Whole Foods Fund since the acquisition to support the team needs during this unprecedented event, and all Whole Foods team members have access to the 2-weeks paid time off related to coronavirus that was announced for all Amazon employees."
Amazon also announced plans to start an Amazon Relief Fund, which would allow independent delivery service partners and drivers to apply for relief from a $25 million fund.
Thanks, was hoping it wasn't just me!— Matt (@weglarz01) March 15, 2020
Despite these measures, some Amazon employees told BuzzFeed News they were concerned the company was not doing enough to help.
"They're offering no preventative solutions, only payment for workers after we've been infected, which doesn't help to slow the spread of the pandemic or alleviate the suffering [and] risk of death from contracting it," Chicago Amazon warehouse worker Ted Miin told BuzzFeed.
On Sunday, the number of coronavirus cases passed 3,000 in the U.S., and at least 62 people have died, reports CNN.
I made an order a few days ago, but many people are currently reporting problems ordering Amazon Fresh. I have no insight into whether it is fixable.— Michael Mathews 📎 (@makfan) March 15, 2020
Those services are proving less reliable than we might like. Can't order Amazon Fresh today, for example (and this is for stuff I'd like to receive at the end of the week).— Michael Mathews 📎 (@makfan) March 15, 2020
"For a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Sunday morning. "We have to just accept that if we want to do what's best for the American public."
@AmazonHelp I keep hitting an error page when i try to check out on amazon fresh. What can I do here?— Ty Givens (@_tygerjames) March 15, 2020
On Friday, President Donald Trump announced a national emergency, giving states and territories access to $50 billion in federal funds to combat the coronavirus outbreak. He later declared Sunday to be a National Day of Prayer as the country responds to the outbreak.
I tried to make an Amazon Fresh order earlier and the site just laughed at me— Your Personal Jesus (@TheLastJesus) March 15, 2020