Christmas online sales are predicted to increase 33 percent to a new record of $189 billion, according to the wizards at Adobe Analytics. Merry Winter Break Jeff Bezos!

What this means for consumers is you're being drafted into the Gig Economy.

The completely oblivious professional liars in Amazon corporate PR explain, "The holidays are typically overwhelming - between shopping for gifts, preparing family meals and getting the house ready for guests - but for many, this season may look a little different."

I'll say, Amazon wants to increase the burden by having you brave holiday traffic to deliver your own packages!

I'm just being negative, something a brief re-education weekend would correct. Our consumer overlords at Amazon corporate assure us this decision is actually a big favor, "It's about providing more choice for customers."

Serving as a volunteer UPS driver is also supposed to keep your packages "spoiler free." Doing your own delivery will somehow "keep gifts a secret from those at-home." If the kids ask where you've been, just tell them you ran out for a quick COVID test.

This howler would only be true if Amazon has also decided to stop using boxes. That way corporate can punish those selfish consumers who won't do their own driving by just dumping home deliveries on the porch without any packaging.

Santa might get away with that behavior, but he's also leaving gifts inside the house when everyone is asleep.

Amazon's do-it-yourself delivery is just the latest expansion of the same song-and-dance we've been getting from Walmart the last few years. Most of America has found itself working part-time for Walmart without so much as a blue plastic vest to show for it. Instead we're meekly heading for the self-checkout area and starting our shift.

Walmart's spin on this is checking and bagging your own purchases is a great way to avoid long lines at the regular checkout counters. What Walmart management never admits is another way to avoid long lines at the regular checkout is to HIRE MORE CASHIERS!

Shopping at Walmart doesn't have to resemble buying your groceries at the post office. The fact it does is due solely to conscious decisions on the part of Walmart management.

And if you don't think Amazon corporate secretly believes its customer base is composed of morons who will believe anything, let me share this. Using your car, driving to the pickup location and getting your own purchases "is free for Prime members, with no minimum purchase amount, and same-day collection is available."

The entire project is also free for Amazon and is the functional equivalent of Walmart not charging shoppers when they return their shopping basket to the cart corral.

Amazon is short on details for the oppressed trapped by diet fascists in lockdown states. Does picking up a package for Amazon qualify as an 'essential' activity? Are DIY drivers exempt from time and distance restrictions? And is Amazon going to inform its gig draftees if Antifa or BLM has thrown up a roadblock on their travel route?

I hate to be the one who tarnishes your admiration for Jeff Bezos, but the real reason for this "choice" isn't to maintain gift secrecy. It's to maintain Amazon's bottom line.

Business Insider explains, "Traditionally, the 'last mile' of delivery - taking it to the customer's door from the distribution center - is the most difficult and expensive part of the process. In rural areas, delivery points can be several miles apart, with only one or two packages getting dropped off at each one. In urban areas, while stops are closer together, traffic delays can slow this down. By encouraging customers to collect their orders from distribution points such as stores and Hubs, which requires far fewer individual stop-off points, Amazon can cut out these costs."

In a just world each time a shopper made a package run for Amazon the cost of their Prime membership would be reduced. But we don't live in a just world. We live in a Bezo's world.

Next week we'll discuss the innovative DoorDash program where drivers just deliver a recipe and the customer cooks her own dinner.

-

Copyright 2020 Michael Shannon, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times." He can be reached at [email protected]