November 26, 2014
How the Grinch stole Christmas: Amazon partners with Royal Mail
by Zeljka Marosevic
Amazon UK has won the title of this year’s Grinch who stole Christmas. Were there ever any other contenders?
Amazon announced yesterday that it has partnered with the Post Office to add 10,500 extra collection points to its PickUp Location Programme, The Bookseller reports. Collection points allow Amazon customers to order items to be delivered to a location other than their home, to be picked up at their convenience. With the addition of the new Post Office locations, Amazon now has a total of 16,000 collection points.
Amazon has existing deals and Amazon locker systems with the Co-op supermarket chain, tube stations, and with other venues such as universities. But the Post Office is its biggest partnership yet, not simply because of the major increase in collection points, but because there’s practically a post office on every doorstep, whether you live in a town or a remote village.
Of course this makes perfect sense. As the handy, slightly terrifying xmasclock.com shows, there are only 28 days left until Christmas—and counting. Amazon is the UK’s number one online retailer: customers are soon to begin making their numerous holiday orders and what could make life easier than simply collecting their packages from the local post office on their way home.
Yet, Amazon wins its Grinch status because it is stealing a precious experience from every customer. The highstreet might be a terrible place to be at Christmas: a crowded, merciless, panicked, sweaty place where you finally see your fellow human beings for the greedy, rampant consumers they really are. But bookshops are the exception.
Bookshops are a pretty nice place to be all the time, but at Christmas they really are something else. Decorations, displays of beautiful hardbacks, booksellers who know exactly what your dad will want despite never having met him, as well as more often than not: customer evenings, special promotions, gift-wrapping, mince pies, wine.
And the biggest advantage of them all? The best-kept secret to a joyful Christmas? Unlike the rest of the highstreet, bookshops tend not to play Christmas music. They are silent safe-havens, rehabilitation centres that promise respite from Mariah Carey, Wham! and Band Aid. There are no earworms there, only fellow bookworms. (That’s the cutest thing I’m probably ever going to say: Merry Christmas everyone.)
This year will be the easiest year ever to do your Christmas shopping with Amazon. Tempted? Re-read our post about Amazon Anonymous’ campaign to boycott Amazon this year. Remember that independent booksellers rely on Christmas sales to make their year of business worthwhile. Listen to those opening bars of “I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday”. Dear Whos, don’t let the Grinch steal Christmas from you.
Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.