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Inside Amazon

Inside Amazon (Aug 23rd, 2019)

Happy Friday, Amazon readers!

My editor Bobby and I want to thank the hundreds of you who have already responded to our requests for feedback. It's our goal to give you the best newsletter experience possible, and we're excited to integrate some of your notes as we continue to bring Inside Amazon to your inbox.

One big thing we noticed was a general concern about sharing the newsletter with other people, worrying that would violate a privacy policy or was somehow "against the rules." Well, I'm here to tell you all that sharing is caring! If you see something that a friend, family member or coworker would find interesting, go ahead and pass it along. We're not in the game of exclusivity here. Knowledge is power.

With that said, I hope you enjoy some of the gems in today's newsletter (like #3 — wow). 

Have a great weekend!
Alena

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$AMZN (9:40 a.m. EDT): $1,795.22 (-0.57%) // More info

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1. Amazon says it will no longer use customer tips to pad out the ensured wages for its delivery people. The new policy was spotted by the Los Angeles Times on Thursday in an email sent around to the company’s couriers for its delivery services with Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods. The email stated that Amazon’s minimum hourly contribution will be at least $15-$19, depending on the area. Recently, DoorDash made a similar announcement that it would stop including customer tips in its driver compensation structure. At that time, Amazon did not comment. — GIZMODO

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2. A new Amazon Alexa skill from State Farm will soon allow people to check in on their aging relatives. The skill (the Alexa word for app) will allow Amazon Echo Show device owners to share alerts and check-ins so adult children and caregivers can know that their relatives are safe and in the right place. State Farm’s research team developed the skill in recent months and plans to roll it out with a list of activities and suggested events for users. This Alexa update provides Amazon with an opportunity to take into this huge and growing demographic, something it has been focused on for quite some time. — CNBC

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3. Feedback Friday: We love a good Amazon delivery story, and we share the best with you when we can find them. A couple of weeks ago, we asked you all to share any of your funny/traumatic/ridiculous delivery experiences with the company, and one particular reader did not disappoint. 

Check out the photos below submitted by Jim. On the left, you can see the delivery person wrote on the slip, "Hidden under bark by door." And on the right, you can see that he definitely wasn't lying. Although, we're not sure that exactly constitutes as "hidden." At least Jim got his package in the end, right?

Email me with any of your wild Amazon delivery stories for a chance to be featured in the newsletter or on our new Inside Amazon Twitter account!

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4. A leaked Amazon training video that was sent to Whole Foods managers in 2018 reveals the efforts the company takes to curb union activity inside Amazon facilities. In the video, an animated man wearing a yellow safety vest says, “We are not anti-union, but we are not neutral either. We do not believe unions are in the best interest of our customers or shareholders or most importantly, our associates.” It then offers tips for managers when it comes to spotting union activity. Amazon said the training video has not been used since last year, and it was in compliance with the National Labor Relations Act. — CNBC

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5. Netflix may still be the top streaming subscription service in the United States, but both Amazon and Hulu are encroaching on its market share. According to eMarketer, Netflix will have 158.8.5 million U.S. viewers by the end of 2019, Amazon Prime Video will have 96.5 million viewers and Hulu will have 75.8 million viewers. That means that while Netflix reachers more than half of the population, Amazon Prime Video is now reaching one-third of it. Netflix is also under threat by the upcoming Disney-Hulu-ESPN bundle, as well as Apple TV+ and Warner Media's HBO Max. — TECHCRUNCH

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6. Amazon confirmed on Thursday that it plans to bring an Amazon Books store to Nashville, Tennessee. Previous reports suggested that the bookstore would be located in the Mall at Green Hills, but an Amazon spokesperson would not confirm the location. Ironically, there's a Parnassus Books shop directly across the street from the mall. No timeline for the new Amazon Books store has been released. — WTVF-TV

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7. Amazon plans to open a new distribution center in Holyoke, Massachusetts, this fall. The company says it will hire “hundreds” to staff it and that wages start at at $15 an hour for both full- and part-time workers. Despite residents' objections to the amount of vehicle traffic it will bring to the area, the city’s Planning Board approved the project in July. — MASSLIVE

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8. AmazonFresh is now delivering to Prime members in Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix. For an additional $14.99 per month, Prime members can shop thousands of products, from meats to produce to everyday essentials, and receive free two-hour delivery on any of these purchases. Customers can also order groceries through the service by speaking to their Alexa smart speakers. — KTAR

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9. Whole Foods is giving away bento boxes and gift cards this weekend as part of its back-to-school “Level Up Your Lunch" campaign. On Aug. 24, the first 200 customers at eight Whole Foods locations will receive a free limited-edition Whole Foods Market bento box containing a $10 Whole Foods saver card, as well as recipes and healthy lunch ideas and tips. — FOOD & WINE

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10. Richard Hammond from the Amazon Prime Video series "The Grand Tour" and Tory Belleci from "Mythbusters" are teaming up to create a new Amazon show. The six-part series will leave the two shipwrecked on a desert island and task them with building a “paradise island playground.” Amazon has yet to share an official show title or release date. — VARIETY

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Written by Alena Hall, a writer, editor and digital media professional based out of Asheville, North Carolina. She works as an editorial freelancer, is studying to become a functional medicine health coach, and enjoys hiking the beautiful trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Her end goal is to be constantly helping and serving others and she loves exploring what physical forms that purpose can take. 

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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