“Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone:
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.”
~ Sarah Catherine Martin
Dogs whose owners shop for food and pet supplies in Amazon’s Prime Pantry may find themselves without bones soon. Amazon has temporarily shut down its Prime Pantry service because the company could not keep up with the high volume of orders coming in as consumers try to stock up in the wake of the coronavirus. Previously placed Prime Pantry orders will still be shipped, but Amazon is not accepting new orders.
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In a message posted to the Prime Pantry site, Amazon encourages shoppers to purchase products through Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods market or the Amazon marketplace in the Grocery and Household product categories.
“We apologize for this inconvenience and are working with our partners to get these items back in stock as quickly as possible,” said Amazon.
Prime Pantry launched in 2014 and, similar to Amazon Fresh, it offers free shipping on orders of $35 or more to Prime members. In select areas, non-Prime members can also shop Prime Pantry for a $5.99 shipping fee per order. Available in the continuous United States, Prime Pantry shoppers can purchase Shop & Save items in any combination of five items to save 5% or in any combination of 10 items to save 10%. Product categories include Deals, Grocery, Snacks, Beverages, Breakfast, and Cleaning & Household.
In related news, Amazon shared information on how the company is helping customers, communities and employees affected by COVID-19 in a March 13 blog post. As part of that post, Amazon shared additional information on how its grocery services are impacted.
- Whole Foods Market is temporarily changing its store hours to accommodate some of its most vulnerable customers. In the U.S. and Canada, customers who are ages 60 and over, can shop one hour prior to when a store is open to the general public. In the U.K., the same opportunity is available to customers who are 70 and over.
- Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery services are available in select areas. Customers can choose unattended delivery, except for orders that include alcohol.
- Amazon is prioritizing stocking and delivering essential items including household staples, sanitizers, baby formula and medical supplies.
“This isn’t business as usual, and it’s a time of great stress and uncertainty. It’s also a moment in time when the work we’re doing is its most critical,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a March 21 blog post.
“We’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies. We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. People are depending on us,” Bezos added.
This move is not at all surprising. Grocery stores, warehouse stores and food delivery services are all being taxed as panicked consumers are trying to prepare for the unknown. Amazon has committed to hiring 100,000 workers, but it will take time to get them on board, and it will also take time to replenish household supplies such as disinfectants, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. By focusing their resources where they are needed most, Amazon can better serve its customers while attempting to meet their needs in a timely fashion.