Is Amazon Offering Prime Members Personal Assistants?

Who will, like, do their laundry?

Photo credit: Jonni, CC BY 2.0.

We still have the rest of the whole day to get through, so… um… let’s pass the time by poking fun at major corporations!

Today’s subject: Amazon.

From the Seattle Times:

Amazon looks to clean house – literally

They call [in a job posting] for potential recruits to join “Amazon Assistants,” which the company describes as “experts in helping Amazon customers keep up their home.”

That means helping customers with “tidying up around the home, laundry, and helping put groceries and essentials like toilet paper and paper towels away.”

The goal is to provide, as part of a two-person team, “timesaving assistance to Amazon Prime members,” so they can run an “errand-free” home.

I know that Amazon is probably not planning to roll out this feature to all 54 million Prime members, but I live in Seattle and I have Amazon Prime. Am I eligible for an Amazon Assistant?

Could I seriously get a person to come to my home, take the roll of quarters out of my bedroom, and haul my laundry down to the grody basement? Would I be able to give that person a complete list of all clothes that must never be dried, including clothes you wouldn’t expect, like my cheapo Old Navy white cotton layering tanks? (They shrink.) Would that person shove the padding back into my bralette and never say anything about how I should get a new one, because I just bought that bralette at the beginning of the summer and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough use out of it yet?

The point being that many Amazon Prime members live in modest circumstances, and the idea of having a personal assistant to wipe the lint off the top of my toilet tank (I don’t know what it is about cheap bathroom fixtures, but they collect so much more lint than the better-quality ones) and shove quarters into a dryer feels hilarious.

Consumerist suggests that my Amazon Assistant might actually say something about the bralette, though—or at least tell me when I’m running out of products that are available for purchase on Amazon, which is to say nearly everything:

Is Amazon Adding House Cleaning To Prime Membership Perks?

[The job ad] suggests that if a Prime customer orders paper towels or other household products from, oh say, Amazon, then the assistant would come by when they’re delivered and put them away.

Additionally, the ad notes that assistants would “advise customers on regular cleaning service visits and grocery replenishment offerings,” which suggests that the employees could also sell customers on products they might need — perhaps through Amazon’s Dash buttons or wands.

Can it be like Kindle, though, so we have the option to get our Amazon Assistants “without special offers?” An errand-free home, if that’s what we’re calling it, means adding no new tasks—and considering whether I need to install an Amazon Dash button is a task, as is listening to my Amazon Assistant deliver whatever advertising advice message they’re required to say before they can move on to the next one-bedroom apartment.

I’m trying to articulate why this feels different from a housecleaning service. Plenty of people in small apartments hire the occasional housecleaner, and that’s no big deal, so I don’t want to sound like I’m slagging on people who use cleaning services.

It’s more like… there are a lot of people who use Amazon Prime, millions and millions, and this fantasy of the “errand-free home” is neither applicable nor scalable to a potential majority of Amazon Prime users. (Will roommates get multiple assistants? What about people who live in rural areas? Will this service be automatically included with the Prime membership, or will it cost extra?)

Or maybe I’m just a person who likes an extraordinarily high level of control over her environment and the thought of someone I don’t know coming into my home and touching things squigs me out.

Anyway, discuss. We’ve got hours to kill before this election’s over, after all.

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