Should Amazon Flex Require Uniforms?

Jon York

Nov 30, 2018
What City & State do you work in?
New York City
I've actually had this happen. A guy shows up at my door, looking totally ratty and criminal-like and then he hands me a package from Amazon. I'm relieved and shaken at the same time. It has always seemed weird when a non-uniformed driver shows up with a package. We're so used to package delivery people wearing uniforms that clearly show us what company they work for. Over the years the delivery companies learned that people are spooked when random strangers come right up to the door of their house, so they started requiring them to wear uniforms.

The highlighted car is completely unmarked but the driver claimed he worked for Amazon Flex.

This is what a delivery person should look like when they walk up to your house.

So, why is it that it seems all these nouveau gig companies get to break all the rules and forget the lessons of the past? Okay, I know you have a cool app. I know you're doing something cutting edge and new... but really... does that mean none of the old rules apply anymore?

That's what's annoying me about all these gig companies. They think they're so awesome that none of the rules of the past apply to them. But there's a reason rules and traditions have sprung up and they would be wise to stop ignoring them.

This happened outside St. Louis recently and it really wracked a guy's nerve. It's not hard to imagine some day one of these drivers getting shot because the homeowner he's driving up to thinks he's a burglar.

From KMOV4 in St. Louis:

A local man says he was alarmed by who showed up in his driveway claiming to be delivering packages for Amazon.

“Very nerve wracking,” said Jim Brown.

Brown is a techie guy, and protective too. Cameras surround his home in Imperial.

“I get a notification that there is motion and I see a car has pulled up on the driveway,” he said.

Recently, on two separate occasions, he noticed strange cars idling in his long, rural driveway.

“They sat there for 15 minutes before my wife showed up,” Brown said.

Neither car looked to be in good shape, one was damaged in the back. One only had temp tags; the other had no plates at all.

When asked what the drivers were doing there, both said they were delivery drivers for Amazon.

“I didn't see any packages in there, she was trying to tell me she was looking for a different address that was nowhere near the area,” he said.

Brown was highly doubtful. Instead, he wondered if something else was up.

“I don't know if they are scoping out the neighborhood to burglarize it, home invasion, if they are looking to steal Amazon packages,” he said.

The drivers were likely working for Amazon as independent contractors through a program called Amazon Flex. It’s kind of like Uber or Lyft, except instead of ferrying people, you're delivering packages in your own car and on your own time.

It’s an easy and flexible way to make money, according to Amazon.

Flex drivers are navigating streets in the St. Louis area, a spokesperson told News 4, and they're even hiring new drivers.

“I think it’s a bad idea, personally. Because now anyone can come up on your property and say 'I am delivering for Amazon,” Brown said. “Weird that they are having people do this in their own cars.”

Flex drivers are not required to wear branded clothing. There’s not necessarily a sticker on their vehicles like the ones on an Uber driver's car.

While they can show you a virtual ID on their phones, they may not be wearing a lanyard or ID card.

An Amazon spokesperson said the drivers are thoroughly vetted through a comprehensive, multi-state criminal background check and a review of their motor vehicle records.

The drivers are expected to follow all laws. Amazon said it has spoken to the delivery driver that did not have a license plate.

Even with all that, Brown said he's still a little concerned.

A spokesperson for Amazon told News 4 they make thousands of deliveries and most are made without any issue at all. They remind their customers they have a map-based tracking system that will alert you when you package is getting close so you know when to expect it.
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Feb 4, 2019
What City & State do you work in?
Glendale AZ
I don't think that they should have to have uniforms; after all, companies usually charge their employees for the uniforms when they first start.

However, I do believe that some rules regarding appropriate work attire and proper grooming would help.