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Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work

  • Someone seems to have rigged Amazon system to get orders first
  • Operation reflects ferocious rivalry for gigs in a bad economy
Bloomberg business news
Amazon Drivers Put Phones in Trees to Get More Work (Source: Bloomberg)

A strange phenomenon has emerged near Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs: smartphones dangling from trees. Contract delivery drivers are putting them there to get a jump on rivals seeking orders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Someone places several devices in a tree located close to the station where deliveries originate. Drivers in on the plot then sync their own phones with the ones in the tree and wait nearby for an order pickup. The reason for the odd placement, according to experts and people with direct knowledge of Amazon’s operations, is to take advantage of the handsets’ proximity to the station, combined with software that constantly monitors Amazon’s dispatch network, to get a split-second jump on competing drivers.