I think it’s safe to say that over the last five months, there are two types of people in America – those that wear masks, and those that don’t. The biggest thing I’ve learned while sheltering-in-place is that Americans are impatient. I think I’ve always known that but it seems more apparent this year with thousands, if not millions of people turning a blind eye to mask mandates and holding large gatherings in protest. They are impatient. And live, or lived rather, in a gimme-now-economy. One area where this is transparent: overnight or next day shipping.
Even during COVID-19, people have a certain expectation when it comes to shipping and are furious when they don’t receive things in a “timely manner.” But our inpatient habits have consequences. Last spring, Amazon announced millions of their items would be available for free same-day, next-day and two-day shipping with a Prime subscription. As Amazon set the stage for new shipping standards, other big retailers followed suit, fearful that quick lead times at no extra charge would be the difference between a sale or irrelevance. And thus, consumers began expecting all sites and brands that they shopped to offer similar conveniences, and at little to no cost.
The result: a suffering environment. Prior to same-day shipping, UPS and other carriers could efficiently plan out their routes, loading up trucks with packages that fit their radiuses. Now, their routes are changed drastically with items coming further away and needing to be sent immediately, limiting the opportunity for lumping deliveries together – creating more greenhouse emissions and pollution.
My hope is that the pandemic will teach people that we don’t need things as urgently as we previously demanded. I want to see more conscious consumers come out of this. I want people to care about the environment and do all they can to help rebuild our planet.