New Amazon Key unlocks convenience, concerns


By Brandon Li and Joe Raab

Attention! Someone is about to enter your house! For most people this may be alarming, but with Amazon’s new delivery initiative, it simply means that your package has arrived.

Amazon’s new delivery service, Amazon Key, began Nov. 3. A ground-breaking method of delivering packages, Amazon Key aims to improve the way packages are received by allowing the delivery person to place the package directly inside the recipient’s home, even if they are not there. In addition, Amazon Key can also be used for letting in out-of-town guests or household employees.


“I think I would consider [Amazon Key], if I knew the person who is delivering the package,” junior Charlie Butchko said.


Consumers interested in the program must purchase a new front-door lock and security camera, both of which are sold directly on Amazon’s website and made exclusively for Amazon Key. The products are sold together in the “Amazon Key In-Home Kit” for a starting price of $250.


Currently, Amazon Key will be limited to Amazon Prime members and will be offered in only 37 cities across the nation, including the Washington, DC metro area, Baltimore, MD and Richmond, VA.


According to Amazon’s website, the new program was designed to allow select access to the user’s home in order to increase convenience for the customer.


Amazon will send the owner multiple notifications alerting them when the package will be delivered. On the morning of the delivery, the owner will receive a notification reminding them of the delivery, along with an estimated time window for when they should expect the package. When the delivery person arrives on sight, another notification will be sent, allowing the owner to watch the delivery live. A final notification will be sent upon the completion of the delivery.


According to a Oct. 25 WTOP article, one of the reasons why Amazon created the Key program is to make online shopping even more convenient and secure for consumers.


Although the program is designed to make the delivery process easier and more secure, some question the logistics of the new system, raising concerns of whether Amazon made the right decision by launching the Key program.


“I prefer to have my packages left outside,” junior Bryan Fang said. “I don’t think anybody will  steal my packages and I don’t want anybody that I don’t know inside my house.”


Additionally, many people are skeptical about the idea of allowing a total stranger into their house while they are not home.


“I don’t think I would feel comfortable letting a deliveryman inside my house,” AP Physics teacher Scott Hanna said. “Even with a security camera, I would still not consider [Amazon Key].”


Hanna is not the only member of the CHS community who is skeptical about the new delivery system.


According to an Observer poll of 45 students, 87 percent of students say that they would not feel safe letting a delivery man into their house even while viewing them with a security camera, yet the same 87 percent feel safe leaving packages outside their house.


In response to safety concerns, Amazon enacted the Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee, service that deals with any issues regarding  deliveries. It will help alleviate those concerns, as it will apply to delivery issues, property damage or theft. In addition, Amazon uses background checks and driving record reviews to select their delivery employees.


“It seems like a cool idea, but I don’t see anything wrong with leaving the package at my door,” Butchko said. “Generally, most people are trustworthy, but sometimes it’s hard to trust a stranger.”