Students are back in university and college for the semester and they are buying textbooks, lots of textbooks. Instead waiting in line at the compass bookstore for a few hours just to buy overpriced items, students are using Amazon Prime to have them delivered in two days. This is wrecking havoc with the local post offices and campus mailroom.
One of the hardest hit schools is the University of Connecticut, where the college’s student newspaper recently reported that the local post office has been receiving 3,000 packages per day and about half of all packages coming to the campus are from Amazon. This has resulted in employees being stuck at the office until 3 a.m.
“The student mailrooms in the residence halls were designed primarily for mail delivery rather than packages and were originally constructed for the convenience of residents,” Logan Trimble, the University’s executive director of Building Services, tells the Daily Campus, “But over the years, the standard ‘letter’ has been replaced by package deliveries and we are seeing a record number of UPS, FedEx and USPS packages.”
The heart of this problem affecting mailrooms all over the US stems from Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping to customers for an annual fee, is available to college students for free for six months and at a discounted rate of $49 a year thereafter. This is a solid discount considering the average customer has to fork over $99 a year.
Amazon knows this is a problem and is looking to solve it themselves instead of relying on universities to open up extra room or the postal office to hire more staff. According to Fortune, Amazon plans to open more customer service outlets near college campuses so students can pick up their orders, according to several job listings on the company’s website.
Students at University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Cincinnati will soon be able to visit physical Amazon stores on or near campus to get their packages. Amazon already has similar outlets at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Purdue University.
The program, Campus Pick-up Point, premiered in February as a convenience for students who live in dorms or apartments, where receiving packages can be difficult. It also increases Amazon’s visibility among an important demographic that often shops online for textbooks and their necessities.