Over here on the east coast, the online grocery delivery company Fresh Direct pitches its business to prospective customers in a pretty straightforward way. When I moved into a new place recently, the company dropped off a $50-off coupon. I used it.
But out on the west coast, Amazon’s grocery business, Amazon Fresh, has a slightly different tactic to advertise the recent launch of its service in San Francisco: Dropping off a bag of groceries you didn’t order.
One of my colleagues here at Re/code was among the San Francisco residents who recently found an Amazon Fresh delivery sitting outside the front door. The bag contained dry pasta, fish taco seasoning, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of Coke. I know what you’re thinking: Sounds like all the makings for an unforgettable dinner party.
But, alas, there was not much “fresh” waiting inside — no fresh fruit, no fresh bread. I guess that makes sense considering it could be sitting out there a while, since no one knew the delivery was coming. On the other hand, it’s a bit weird to market a business named Fresh by delivering food that will taste the same three years from now as it does today.
A quick search of Twitter shows that other San Francisco residents have been receiving similar packages. There are those who appreciate the gesture:
And, well, those who don’t:
Weird assortment of slightly disgusting groceries free from amazon. Exact opposite of "Fresh"…. just saying…—
Liz Henry (@lizhenry) January 08, 2014
Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel declined to comment on the marketing campaign, so we don’t know for sure how Amazon is deciding who gets the deliveries. But in talking to a handful of people who received the packages, one thing almost all of them have in common is a subscription to Amazon Prime.