Cyber Monday Cometh…

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As expected, Amazon will be making a Really Big Deal out of Cyber Monday, featuring deals too numerous to list here, so it’s best just to explore the many pages of special Cyber Monday offers yourself.

Starting at midnight on Sunday, Dec. 1, will open its Cyber Monday Deals Store with new deals as often as every ten minutes, including such deals as 50% off select top toys and 50% off a 46-inch Samsung LED HDTV. I guess “Shop ‘Til You Drop” doesn’t really apply to online shoppers — maybe it’s “Shop ‘Til Your Backside Gives Out.” Or maybe until your monitor starts to get blurry. Shoppers will find seven days of savings with hundreds of deals each day including items eligible for Free Shipping (and Prime Free Two-Day Shipping).

As I mentioned before, I much prefer online shopping to trying to get out and fight the crowds on Black Friday. People have been injured and killed in the mad Black Friday rush. I celebrated Black Friday this year as I have done for the last 6 years; I slept late, and got up thoroughly refreshed — and uninjured.

To accommodate all of the extra cyber-shopping that Amazon anticipates for this season, the company has opened up some new distribution centers, and is busy ramping them up for Christmas.

  • A 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Windsor, Conn. This will open up at least 300 full-time jobs once it’s ramped up.
  • A 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Baltimore with more than 1,000 new full-time jobs.
  • Two new fulfillment centers in Florida that will each be more than 1 million square feet, creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

In addition to the full-time jobs (which I think means that Amazon anticipates these to be a permanent expansion), there will almost certainly be a lot of extra seasonal hiring. This year looks like it’s going to be a really busy one, just judging from the number of UPS trucks I saw on Wednesday. BTW, UPS is currently shut down until Monday morning, to give its employees an opportunity to “come up for air” just before crunch time. On Monday, I’ll bet every third vehicle you see will be brown, and it’s likely to stay that way until Christmas Eve. My son-in-law, who used to work as a manager for UPS, is sympathetic, but smiling…

Amazon has also convinced the USPS to start delivering parcels on Sunday, starting with Los Angeles, and New York City. Depending on how well that works out, it may expand to other major metropolitan areas. There was once a time when the US Post Office (back before it got spun off into its current quasi-separate money-losing status) provided all regular services on Sunday (citing “separation of church and state” as the justification), so this is not really a new precedent, but just a partial return to the past. It will take some time for the numbers to roll in and establish whether this is actually worthwhile, so unless you are in LA or NYC, I wouldn’t expect to see this before Christmas. If at all.

Amazon is also pushing really hard on Amazon Prime, as I hinted back in this post. If you order stuff from Amazon more than 5 or 6 times a year, chances are you will come out ahead if you have Amazon Prime. And I’ll bet that includes the majority of the readership of this blog.