1 IF YOU see me go up and down your street eight times, it’s not because I’m lost. It’s because our routes make no sense. They are computer-generated and have us constantly doubling back to where we already were, often by making unsafe turns. Sometimes we have to cross busy four-lane roads on foot to get where we need to be.
2 THAT MEANS I do have to block traffic sometimes. “Drivers who are stuck behind me swear at me or lay on the horn,” a Pittsburgh driver says. Please remember that I’m just trying to do my job and I will be on my way in a minute.
3 AMAZON USES an app to monitor and score our driving. We can be fired if our score drops too low. But the app is flawed: It penalizes us for braking hard, even when it’s the right thing to do. And if the motion of the vehicle jostles our phone, we get flagged for distraction. Some of us wrap our phones in towels and place them in the glove box so they register as little movement as possible. Now Amazon is installing cameras that can detect when we look at our phones or yawn. Many of us see this as an invasion of privacy. Plus, it doesn’t address the real reason why we sometimes drive dangerously: aggressive delivery quotas.
4 IN A ten-hour shift, we’re expected to cart as many as 400 packages to 250 stops—that’s about one stop every three minutes. To get it all done, we skip meals, and many of us actually run from our vans to each doorstep. And yes, we pee in bottles. “I’m not going to drive to a gas station and back,” says a driver in Houston. “That’s 15 minutes, which can really put you behind.” (An Amazon spokesperson replies, “These anecdotes don’t represent the experience of the vast majority of drivers. In fact, more than 90 percent of drivers finish their routes before their scheduled time.”)
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