Amazon Prime customers in select parts of the country can now order items from grocery chain Whole Foods and have them delivered for free within two hours.
Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, announced the introduction of this new service in a Thursday news release. The high-speed delivery is available through Prime Now..
Starting immediately, Prime users in Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; and Virginia Beach will be able to order food like meat, seafood, fresh produce and baked goods from Whole Foods. The company plans to expand the service across the nation throughout 2018.
Two-hour delivery on orders of $35 or more is free, and for an extra $7.99, customers can get their groceries within the hour.
“We’re happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites,” said John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market.
“Together, we have already lowered prices on many items, and this offering makes Prime customers’ lives even easier.”
The delivery service is available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The announcement is the latest attempt by Amazon to integrate Whole Foods, which it bought last year for $13.7 billion — into its business model.
The online retail giant has also cut prices at Whole Foods stores, and even started to sell its Kindle e-readers and Echo devices at some locations, according to Fox News.
As The Western Journal reported, though, Whole Foods seems to have a bit of a problem on its hands, as its workers can’t keep up with the frenetic pace demanded since Amazon bought out the franchise.
In a recent piece by Business Insider, 27 current and former employees speaking on condition of anonymity revealed the intense pressure placed upon them since the implementation of a new inventory-management system at Whole Foods called order-to-shelf.
The newly introduced system reportedly presents a strict set of guidelines and procedures for displaying, storing and purchasing products that are on the shelves and in the stock room. As noted by Supermarket News, OTS has suppliers and distributors deliver products in small quantities allowing for stores to keep stockroom inventory low and save money.
However, the system has lowered morale and heightened stress among Whole Foods staff members, partially due to the attached compliance protocol that relies on managers walking the store with “scorecards” to evaluate employee performance.
“The OTS program is leading to sackings up and down the chain in our region,” an employee of a Whole Foods in Georgia stated. “We’ve lost team leaders, store team leaders, executive coordinators and even a regional vice president. Many of them have left because they consider OTS to be absurd. As an example, store team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS.”
This checklist utilizes a scoring system, according to Business Insider. Store managers conduct “walks” around the store and mark off the checklist accordingly. Some employees have said if a store scores anything lower than an 89.9 percent on the checklist, workers can be fired.
One employee stated they “they wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about maps and inventory,” adding that the pressure “has created such a tense working environment.
Amazon, the grocery chain’s parent company, was founded by Jeff Bezos.
The 54-year-old Amazon CEO also happens to be the owner of The Washington Post, a media outlet notoriously critical of President Donald Trump.
In 2015, Bezos and Trump got into back-and-forth banter on Twitter, leading Bezos to start a hashtag #sendDonaldtospace.
In 2016, Bezos again spoke out against Trump, stating that his actions and rhetoric as a presidential candidate “erodes our democracy around the edges.”
And it is no secret that Trump isn’t too fond of The Post or its owner either.
The tax references in Trump’s tweets refer to claims the president has made that Amazon doesn’t pay its fair share in taxes.
But in 2016, a newly elected Trump met with tech leaders, including Bezos, at a nationwide tech summit at Trump Tower.
It appeared that the two made nice after roughly a year of criticisms.
“I found today’s meeting with the president-elect, his transition team, and tech leaders to be very productive,” Bezos said in a statement. “I shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech — agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing — everywhere.”
However, their relationship is still rocky, as Trump attacked Amazon in an August tweet, stating that the company is negatively affecting jobs in the U.S.
“Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” Trump wrote. “Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”
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