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Amazon responds to concerns over CB holiday package issue

Changes back to UPS for deliveries

By Mark Reaman

Some action by the Crested Butte Town Hall might relieve some pressure on the holiday package rush at the Crested Butte post office.

It was learned last month that Amazon Prime, a major distributor of e-commerce in the area, had recently chosen to not use United Parcel Service (UPS) as its main distribution partner. Instead, it was relying on the less expensive U.S. Postal Service for delivery. While that would work in most places, the Crested Butte area does not have home post office delivery so all packages were being dropped off at the Elk Avenue post office location and piling up in an already crowded building. The yellow notice slips were also piling up in people’s P.O. boxes.

The Town Council addressed the situation in early December and decided to ask the local postmaster to come in for a visit to discuss the post office situation when it was less busy. In the meantime, town manager Dara MacDonald said she would reach out to Amazon and ask if someone there had any suggestions.

She decided to not mess around and emailed Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, describing the unique situation in Crested Butte and asking for suggestions. “We would appreciate any ideas you may have on how to address this unintended issue for our community that has resulted from the changes in your delivery methods,” she wrote.

Bezos apparently got right on the matter. Within 48 hours Amazon public policy official Martha Miller had responded to MacDonald.

“Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the change from UPS to the postal service and impacts in Crested Butte,” she replied. “In order to remedy the issues raised, Amazon has deprioritized USPS as the carrier for Crested Butte, Colorado and UPS has become the primary carrier, unless 1) the Customer has a PO Box in their address line in which case USPS will still receive the package to deliver or 2) there is no other shipping option besides USPS to get it there. We think this should alleviate the issue.”

So it appears that if you use your street address when ordering from Amazon Prime, your order will get delivered to your house.

MacDonald said this would hopefully help take some pressure off the holiday lines at the Crested Butte post office.

“I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response at all from such a large corporation, never mind a response that actually addressed the concern presented,” MacDonald said. ”Hopefully our community will make the change and use physical addresses where possible when ordering through Amazon and it will provide some relief to space pressures at the post office.”

U.S. Postal Service Communications Department spokesperson David Rupert reminded everyone that there are a lot of online commerce sites.

“It’s not our custom to comment on our business relationships,” Rupert explained. “However, we are efficiently delivering more than 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season to thousands of towns, including Crested Butte. We thank our loyal customers in Crested Butte and the postal employees who serve them.

“Regarding addressing,” Rupert continued, “customers should continue to always use post office box numbers on all their mail, correspondence and mail-order commerce. If they are prompted to, also include a street address on mail order items, they can include that as well.”

When the issue first became known to the public, local resident Kelly Jo Clark suggested addressing two big issues with one significant move—“buy local.” She pointed out purchasing items from local stores would alleviate some package pressure at the local post office while helping local businesses thrive.

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