Is the Amazon “Tip My Driver” Promotion a Scam?

This post is about an Amazon promotion that was launched on December 7, 2022. It allows shoppers with Alexa devices or apps to tip their delivery driver for free by saying “Alexa, thank my driver”. The first 1 million times this is done, Amazon will pay the driver $5. There is no cost to the shopper during this short promotional period.

Have I become too jaded? I figured out why the “Alexa tip my driver” promotion felt “off”. It’s two reasons:

The first is that I think it’s a terrible way for Amazon to manipulate things to not just pay ALL of their drivers a holiday bonus.

The second is that the news outlets aren’t explaining the fine print, which is that this only applies to the first million thanks that Amazon receives. After that, it’s uncertain what happens but presumably, the customer pays. If more shoppers get used to this system I imagine Amazon will exploit this and use it to pay drivers less, transferring the cost to the shoppers, and hurting those who deliver to lower-income areas.

Thanking a driver via Amazon appIf you are interested, though, you don’t need a physical Alexa device to get your driver tipped, and you can do this for every order. I tried this with my official iOS Amazon app this morning and got the confirmation pictured here. You do have to use the voice feature and say “Alexa, tip my driver”, but that’s it.

Amazon has perfectly threaded the morally gray needle here. They should be paying their workers and if you participate in this promo they will. Using their app is also hypothetically one of the better options–better than leaving cash in an envelope at your front door, for example. The question is: what is the price that will be paid down the road for participation in this service and who will pay it?

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