JournalistI am Adam Davidson, a staff writer at The New Yorker. In my latest story for the magazine, I investigated the construction of a Trump hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan. Ask Me Anything!
Mar 9th 2017 by Adam_Davidson • 34 Questions • 1820 Points
My short bio: I work with Amazon as an independent contractor to deliver what you want when you want - as long as it's from 6:00AM to midnight - from the Amazon Prime Now app or the website, including orders that you or someone you know might make from the Amazon Fresh website. I am based in Northern Virginia and have done all the routes throughout Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and Washington D.C.
My Proof: Deleted One Proof
Edit: Thanks to all who asked, and to those who lurked: why didn't you ask a question? I'll see if I can make another AMA in a few months when more people start knowing more about the service.
What happens if you accidentally damage the merchandise? You return for new stuff or notify the customer? You have to pay for damaged goods?
I had a lot of people who were sources: people who worked on the project, who worked at the Trump Org, who are expert on the law or on Azerbaijan. I also visited and saw the site.
I also used wikileaks and the Panama Papers extensively.
Much of the most damning information was freely available on the web. That was one of the surprises. Even if I had not had a single confidential source or the budget to fly to Baku and I only had access to google and the web, I could have done almost the whole story.
It happens quite often actually, and we don't need to pay what was damaged. Sometimes the packers will put 20 pounds worth of items in a brown bag and it will just break. When this happens, I call the customer and let them know that the bag is broken but the items are sill in good conditions, if I notice that an item has been damaged I will tell the customer and return it to the warehouse, if it's just the box of the item that broke, most often the customer won't care, but if they do, we just issue a refund. I also tell them that if the item is damaged because the box is closed and I can't open it, to call support and tell them, but before they call support, I already told them so they know whats going on.
How would you respond to the FCPAProfessor's article which says that your NYorker article might be slightly biased to prove a point? http://fcpaprofessor.com/new-yorker-trump-organization-azerbaijan-story/
By the way, great work on the article. We need more pieces of good investigative journalism.
I'm actually a TOC agent that you or the customer would talk to when something like this happens. I've noticed that drivers usually seem frustrated at having to call us and I was wondering why that is
I found that post quite frustrating. He misrepresents our conversation dramatically.
More importantly, he lays out the facts of the case and uses analogies that are totally irrelevant to the actual case, itself. For example, he likens this case to a coffee shop entering a building that, years before, was built using corrupt means. But that's not what happened here. The Trump Org was actively involved in getting the building built while corruption was happening.
He says I had no interest in what he was saying. But I found him to be incapable of hearing what I was saying. He kept interrupting me with irrelevant points.
I spoke to well over two dozen FCPA experts, all of whom (save him) agreed with my legal analysis and disagreed with his.
Man, with all due respect, YOU GUYS ARE THE WORST! Literally, you guys are just a middle man that work from home and issue tickets to dispatch between with us delivery drivers and Amazon Dispatch. If Amazon would add a feature to our apps to contact dispatch and leave notes, it would make our lives WAAAYYY easier. I am not saying you exactly, but 99% of the time whatever we say or do even though it's only on-road support, it's out of your reach except trying to contact the customer, you guys do have a better way or more numbers to call from to reach the customer, but besides that the same exact answer is: I am doing the notes to send to the station.
And telling us if it's an attended delivery and we still have to do other deliveries to wait for the customer or re-attempt delivery is something that we don't have the time to do. The other day I contacted support, the agent told me to NOT mark the packages as undeliverable and to continue my route and re-attempt, I marked it undeliverable regardless. It counts towards me if I make that delivery late.
Has Trump, Ivanka, or anyone from the administration responded to this story?
How much of that is going to gas, insurance, etc?
In my case, the car I drive, is not expensive, cheap to maintain and gives me between 25-29 mpg. I pay $330 every 6 months for insurance and separate around 20% of daily pay towards car maintenance, tires, etc.
How do you feel about all the diaereses? I have to confess that while I love the NYer (and your work especially) I roll my eyes quite a bit whenever I run into a reëxamined or coöperated.
Typically, things like making you wear a uniform would violate independent contractor status. Has there been anything like that that you are expected to do?
I feel a bit of both. It sometimes feels kind of stuffy and pretentious. And sometimes feels charming and part of what makes us unique.
Amazon doesn't give us a dress code, actually they tell us that we can wear whatever we want. There's people that do it in suit and tie and woman who wear REALLY shirt skirts and flip flops in summer.
Have you had any responses from authorities wanting to investigate the Trumps, after you story came out? Do you think it's going to lead to prosecution?
Do you make enough if i only tip $1 or $2? I have struggling college student friend that wants to ask.
I have heard a hint that there are folks who are looking into it, from second-hand sources. But I haven't heard anything directly. Man, I do hope they do an investigation.
It is a very tricky case. To actually prosecute the Trump Org, as a corporation, or any individual, they would need to find a lot of supporting material. I acknowledge that my case is circumstantial (though I think we brought an awful lot of circumstantial evidence to the table) and a prosecution would need to be specific: what money came from what bad source and went to which bad actor, etc.
That will take a lot of work to uncover and it will require the compliance of the Azerbaijani government. I can't imagine why they would want to anger President Trump by participating.
So, I would not expect a prosecution any time soon.
We make a minimum guaranteed. If the driver is using a 2007 Prius then he's making good money, but if the driver is using a BMW X5 to deliver packages, well maybe he might need the tip. Tip as much or as little as you feel like. The Amazon app will tell you the recommended amount depending on what you are ordering. If you are only ordering $20 worth of stuff I know it doesn't make sense to leave a $5.00 tip. So yeah you could leave $2. I also might add, we can't see who left tips or not.
OP, people can still see personal information from your route sheet. Can you please delete that?
Since you're traveling a lot just wondering what you like to listen to? Music, podcasts?
I have SiriusXM, I listen to mostly music and talk shows including news. (Hits1, Hip Hop Nation, Alt-Nation, 90's on 9, Pop2k, CNN News, Fox News and Comedy Channel)
I work for Frito lay in Lorton just down the street and it's killing me. I'll PM you if I apply in case there is a referral bonus in it for you
There's no referral bonus for us drivers, but thanks tho.
Do you set your schedule like uber or do you have a set weekly schedule??
We have what is called offers. Amazon sends out offers throughout the day and if you are available to work the shift that they are asking you, you just pick it up. When no offers are available it looks like this
When there are offers available it will show up like this
And you can accept or deline the offer if you want to work it or not, like this
Disclaimer: Some markets pay more than others, some pay less than others.
Edit: Messed up imgur pics, fixed.
Not really, it will take Amazon quite a while to produce the amount of drones needed. Plus Washington D.C. is a HUGEE No-Fly zone.
Does it annoy you if I ask you to wait a minute and take the big green cooler bags with you? I hate having them sitting around my house since they are so big.
I can't speak for everyone, but for me, I don't mind. There are Amazon trucks that have set routes every week to go pick up Fresh totes from the customers houses. If you just set the totes outside eventually someone will take it. It might take up to two weeks after your Fresh delivery to get the totes removed from your house.
You can also request the totes to be delivered attended - meaning that there needs to be someone present at the time of delivery and we take the totes back to the warehouse and just leave the stuff that you ordered in plastic bags.
You can also fold the totes by opening the tote and lifting the black pad down below that says Amazon, it i'll fold very slim. If you have totes with insulated bags, you can just fold the insulated bags and put them all inside one fresh tote. Like this
Edit: Imgur keeps putting all pictures into an album automatically.
How much do you have to lift to be an Amazon driver?
Terms and Conditions claims up to 50 pounds, that said, we might have orders that weigh at total of 200 pounds or even more, so we need to do several trips from the car to the house or apartment.
Is there a minimum of required hours that you work each week? Or is it more like Uber where you choose when you want to work?
Yes, you can work when and how long, as long as they have offers or shifts available for you to work. Just because you go to the warehouse doesn't mean that you have stuff to do.
Why not post a picture of our bathroom?
what is the weirdest combination of things you have ever delivered?
what happens if you dont make it to a customer on time?
On the app we can see what the customer ordered, but it takes a few steps to see them. You need to reach the destination first and then go to Return Packages and then Customer doesn't want a particular item to see the whole order of what the customer paid for. It takes some time and I usually don't do it. I do it only in 1-hour deliveries to see what they are paying the extra $8 on, and oh god, people just want sunscreen and mascara plus Apple juice and a box of Chewy Chips Ahoy really bad.
If we deliver late packages, we better have a REALLY good reason of why the order was late. If there was simply too much demand and not enough drivers to fill the demand then we are good, also with traffic, but Amazon can track us and see everything that we do, including the speed we are doing and if we brake hard. If we stopped for food in McDonalds and got late deliveries because of that, it's our fault and we are screwed.
As an independent contractor are you responsible for paying your own taxes or does amazon deduct before paying you?
Amazon sends us a 1099. Up to us to pay our taxes.
What are you doing answering questions? I need my stuff ASAP bru!!
Pay the stuff bruh, it's already in the cart and waiting for your credit card info.
My husband works for Amazon prime now in our city. It seems like he's always searching for shifts and as soon as one pops up, it's gone. Do you have this issue where you are?
Yes, it happens in all markets. Tell him to just keep searching or if he can, to do it mostly from Thursday to Saturday, since a lot of other drivers are already capped with the full hours and can't do more blocks. He probably has better chances of getting blocks on the weekend.
Does a good tip mean I bet my order faster? Or are your routes pre-determined for you?
Amazon gives us a suggested route, but I am free to do the route how it best serves me. If it's my last block (shift) and it's an order that is heading to where I live, but the suggested route tells me to start where I live and finish closer to the warehouse, I can start closer to the warehouse and finish near where I live.
Because you leave a $20.00 tip doesn't mean that your package will be the first one to be delivered. If you want your order fast, I'd suggest using the 1-hour delivery option if it's available in your market.