Thursday, April 9, 2015

Amazon - the world's biggest fresh-air shipment service.

I like Amazon, I really do. When it launched back in the 90's it was an absolute game changer for a foreigner's quality of life in Japan. No longer did I have to take a train halfway across Tokyo to the small section of English language books tucked away on the third floor of the Shinjuku Kinokunia (which were generally significantly overpriced). Now I could browse on-line and search recommendations, order multiple copies and have them all delivered to my door. Even the international delivery costs didn't discourage me, it was still cheaper to buy them from America than in Japan.

And then came CD's that weren't just J-Pop and then English language DVD's followed by almost anything else you desired. Kindle took me full circle back to books and then came Amazon Japan. Now delivery was next day, no waiting for international shipments, and soon that improved to same day. Payment could be made by credit card or direct bank transfer. And then it could be cash-on-delivery or even payment at the local convenience store. Delivery improved again and was not just same day but soon it was same afternoon.

But two issue still stand out for me. Firstly, why does Amazon Japan print the labels using a microscopic font that you need the eyesight of an eagle to read? But that's just me being picky. More importantly, why does Amazon enjoy shipping so much air around the country. Each time I receive an item the box is completely oversized and predominantly empty. That's spare air they're shipping. And although it is generally considered that air is free, it's actually not. A larger box means less boxes on the truck. And that means more trucks. All that free air is costing you carbon dioxide. And I'd really rather not pay for the book I want with an ice cap.

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