Amazon Hurricane Registry Organizes About $75K in Donations -- No Thanks to Amazon

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A group of do-gooders have come up with a rather ingenious way to get the victims of Hurricane Sandy the supplies they need to help rebuild their communities after last week's freakish "Frankenstorm" destroyed large sections of Long Island, Staten Island, and Queens: an Amazon wedding registry for hurricane victims.

So far, the group behind the registry estimates they've gathered roughly $75,000 in supplies -- things like sleeping bags, demolition equipment, etc. -- and they've done so with precisely zero help from Amazon.

Organizers say Amazon's shipping costs -- which in some cases are hundreds of dollars -- are dissuading people from donating supplies. It would be helpful, they say, if the retail giant would waive shipping fees for people donating to the relief effort. Amazon, however, has declined.

 

The way the registry works is like this: Organizers figure out what people on the ground in disaster zones actually need. They then put the supplies on the Amazon wedding registry, where other do-gooders across the world can buy the items for the victims.

The supplies are then delivered to a church in Brooklyn, where organizers and volunteers distribute them to the people who need them.

It's a pretty clever way to gather supplies -- rather than just blindly donating what you think people need, the registry tells you what they actually need.

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Twitter
Supplies from the registry pile up at a church in Brooklyn -- again, no thanks to Amazon.


For example, right now -- following the several inches of freezing, white bullshit that covered the tristate area last night -- hurricane victims need to keep warm. So, organizers put things like thermal underwear and hand-warmers on the registry.

Hand-warmers are things your typical do-gooder wouldn't think to donate on their own. But registry organizers are on the ground to figure out what victims really need, which is what makes disaster registries such a good idea.

You'd think a company like Amazon would want to do everything it can to help out -- for the good PR, if nothing else. Nope.

Amazon's decision to not lend a hand has created a stir on Twitter, where people are expressing their disgust over the company's decision to not waive shipping costs for items donated to the relief effort. In fact, it's led to UPS offering to help out -- and steal any good ink on which Amazon could have capitalized . . . but didn't.

We reached out to Amazon's PR flack (twice) for an explanation of the retailer's decision to not waive shipping fees for donated items. We're yet to hear back.

If you would also like to know why Amazon won't waive shipping fees, call 206-266-7180, or email the company's PR department at amazon-pr@amazon.com.

Click here to visit the Amazon hurricane registry.



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5 comments
jamon
jamon

If you send items through the 'Subscribe and Save' option on Amazon - you receive a substantial discount (appx 15%) and receive free shipping.  This shipment method is easy,  just send the first shipment and then delete the remaining subscription.

Tootsie
Tootsie

The registry goes to a church in Brooklyn, not Long Island. I think there are registries popping up in NJ too. The more help the better! We need it !!

FoxMulder
FoxMulder

Okay, but shipping costs money.   Amazon can't be expected to become part of every relief effort -- no doubt there will be many more instances of "disasters' and more people trying to use the site as a registry.  I'm for Amazon on this one.  If you want Amazon to waive shipping costs, write your Governor and legislators about waiving the taxes on online purchases.  That legislation is not only hurting businesses like Amazon, but it's upsetting people like me.  Firstly, the incentive for buying from Amazon is 1) it costs less.  But the difference in price is that now I have to wait for my purchase to arrive, which means I'm paying less for delayed gratification -- a real economic factor when it comes to price.  The boneheads in California's congress are so out of touch with consumers that they don't understand now they are CHARGING me TO WAIT!  So it means that rather than pay a fair price for waiting, I either have to pay an additional price in the form of a tax, or I have to go pick up the item from some other retailer within a relatively close driving distance.  Here's the problem:  There are a lot of items I will willingly buy as long as it's one click away... that I won't spend the time of day driving around looking for.  So that means, Amazon LOSES money.  In addition, just to spite the state, I won't purchase from Amazon just so California can't get its greedy paws on the tax money.  So now Amazon loses even more money!  Less money means, less production.  Less production means, less workers.  Less money means Amazon is less willing to donate part of its profits to victims of disasters.   It's all one lovely circle isn't it?  But you know, that's what you get when you have people out of touch with the average consumer.  If they can't get you to spend, they will just take it away from you.  So yes, Amazon is in the clear.  People need to stop trying to take advantage of it just because they have this attitude that they have so much money.  Money is real.  Treat it with respect.

JamesKing
JamesKing

 @FoxMulder I realize Amazon isn't obligated to provide free shipping on these items. But Amazon is making money every time someone makes a purchase for the storm. The company is -- inadvertently -- capitalizing on the hurricane. Wouldn't kill them -- especially in the PR department -- to help out a bit.

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