Leaked emails show Amazon is stockpiling made-in-China products due to coronavirus after saying 'no interruptions'

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/10/amazon-stockpiling-made-in-chi.html


Well - if they stockpile Chinese products and that gets them through whatever difficulty is expected due to the coronavirus, aren’t they actually right to tell customers there will be no disruption?

I’m not sure if (or why) this is supposed to be sneaky or underhanded on Amazon’s part - it just seems like common sense.


And do they disinfect those Chines products before adding them to the stockpile? Or are they simply piling up stacks of things that have been sneezed on by people who have the virus?

They’re not stockpiling materials they think are infected, they’re stockpiling materials so they don’t run out. The risk is not transmitting disease, the risk is a critical manufacturing plant closing for a few weeks because everyone who works there is out sick.

ETA: Amazon statement: “Out of an abundance of caution, we are working with suppliers to secure additional inventory to ensure we maintain our selection for customers.”


Do what? Is that a valid worry? If so, avoid literally just about every store that sells things, as not only do they have real people/germ factories working/shopping there - but they have Chinese products all over the place.

I don’t think there is any real concern about the virus being spread via products. Open to view evidence to the contrary.


Thanks! That makes sense.

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Not sure what the issue is here?
They promise no interruptions and to do so they stockpile stuff. That’s, like, the most basic thing a company does when there is an issue in the supply chain.

A non-topic about a non-issue.


Does the Coronavirus survive more than a couple of hours/days outside of the body? I would think that if it could be transmitted by crap we order from overseas we would be seeing some random cases occurring all over America by now from people who ordered stuff airmail. AFAIK all cases thus far have been tracked back to people who recently visited China in person.


Sending zero fu#ks to Bezos-land, one day delivery selected.

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So, basically everything? Where would they put it all?




There’s a difference between telling customers it’s business as usual, and telling investors it’s business as usual. If they’re telling investors they expect no interruptions to their supply chain, but telling their supply chain they expect interruptions, that may be a problem.

Here is the word-for-word from AMZ’s message to its third party sellers. There’s nothing sinister about it; they’re taking a pretty forgiving approach to this (comparatively speaking). Their approach here is similar to the way they treat third party sellers during natural disasters. Their goal in all of this is to maintain the status quo customer experience. What they are trying to avoid is a whole lot of third party sellers with no ability to fulfill orders due to disrupted inventory or illness.

If your business operations may be impacted, we recommend taking precautions to protect your Amazon seller account health. These precautions may include canceling previously placed orders that you are no longer able to fulfill, placing your account in vacation status, or taking additional steps to manage your inventory. You can learn more on relevant Help pages in Seller Central:

  • Order Cancellations
  • Listing status for vacations, holidays, and other absences
  • Update your listings from the Manage Inventory page

If your performance metrics have been impacted by this event, please include a brief description of how your business was impacted when you respond to the relevant performance notification in Seller Central. We will consider this unforeseen event when we evaluate your account’s recent performance.


I think BB’s spin on this kind of fizzled out because the story is a round peg trying to be banged into a square hole.

The actual story here is that big old Amazon, a company so large that most people think it operates in a parallel universe, is making preparations to minimize potential disruption caused a single virus - notably one of the smaller things in the world.

While much of the population is somewhere between “don’t care” and “racist zombie apocalypse”, it’s the economic impact that we should be worried about. How many (small) businesses do you know that can absorb a, say, 20% decrease in revenue at this moment in time?


Amazon, Walmart, all the way down.

With China’s unique position in the global economy, 2019-nCoV has the potential to seriously disrupt manufacturing. It may seem crass to worry about something as trivial as this when people are suffering, and of course our hearts go out to the people who are directly affected by this virus and its aftermath. But just like businesses have plans for contingencies such as this, so too should the hacking community know what impact something like 2019-nCoV will have on supply chains that we’ve come to depend on.

I though just in time delivery was the wave of the future (made possible by preempting any pesky displays of labor solidarity.) Why is Bezos wasting money on warehouses?

Emphasis & cost of this move also likely matter.

If it is “we don’t expect interruptions”, they can also decide that the low but real chance of interruptions is worth guarding against. Interruptions cost $C per day, and likely go on for N days and has a P chance of happening, so P may be very low (“not expected”), but PNC is still a number (say X), and if $X is less then the cost of buying ahead of time and warehousing the larger then normal supply…well that is a prudent risk adverse move.

I would still hope they are slightly more transparent to their investors like “we believe the chance of interruptions is very low, never the less we are making reasonable precautions”.

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You didn’t answer my question and neither did the Amazon blurb you quoted. ARE THEY DISINFECTING THE MADE-IN-CHINA STUFF THEY’RE STOCKPILING? That statement is nothing but smoke-and-mirrors fan-dance corporate feelgood crap about customer stroking, NOT about concern for public health. Why can’t you see the difference? Are you a bot or a shill?

I don’t know. I’d need somehow who knows medical matters AND who has information about the virus and/or tests run on those products to tell me. The point is, I want to know if Amazon has considered this and are they they trying to find out? Does Jeff Bezos give a damn about the health of the American people or does he care about nothing but protecting his stock value by avoiding interruptions even at the expense of the health of Americans? I know which way I’d bet about the motivations of that soulless !@#$%.

I clearly and politely answered your question, but here it is again. No, they are not disinfecting anything. It’s not about quarantine or infection control.

They aren’t stockpiling materials that have already been ordered. They are stockpiling materials that haven’t been ordered by anyone, but have a probability of being ordered, so that they have a surplus. They’re gambling that there will be break in the manufacturing or shipping process – for example, a factory closes or slows production. In that scenario, they have a reasonable surplus of goods.

Which their blurb pretty clearly addresses: additional inventory to ensure we maintain our selection.

And no, I’m not a bot or a shill, thanks for the vote of confidence.

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