This column originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune Oct 31, 2017
The Schwem family has often entertained the idea of hosting a foreign exchange student for a semester or, if the student can tolerate us, an entire year. That could prove difficult given the attitude foreigners have toward our country’s residents right now.
“Mama, Papa, someone in that family was screaming every time, how do you say in English, ‘Foxy News’ or ‘Rachel Meadow’ appeared on the TV. That is why I returned to my home country four months early.”
But with the holiday season approaching, I have decided to open our home to a stranger, inviting him or her to occupy our spare bedroom, eat at our dinner table, use our Netflix account and deliver our packages at lightning speed.
I wish to host an Amazon delivery person.
The retail giant seems to be encouraging this form of cohabitation with its recent rollout of Amazon Key. Not home when your packages arrive, and fearful porch pirates will abscond with loot left OUTSIDE your house? Simply purchase a Smart Lock/Cloud Cam combination, from Amazon, of course, and delivery personnel can unlock your front door for five minutes via their smart phones, place your packages inside and, hopefully, leave. The camera allows you, the Amazon Prime customer, to visually monitor the drop off on your phone and even communicate with the employee. No word yet on whether the employee will walk your dog or adjust your thermostat after making the delivery.
Hence, my idea of having my own personal Amazon package purveyor living under my roof.
“Think about it,” I said to my wife, chief buyer of all things Amazon. “Instead of wondering when your dad’s Echo Dot or your nephew’s Star Wars water bottle will arrive, just ask the Amazon delivery guy when he comes down for breakfast. I’m sure he could move us to the top of his route. That’s what family members do for each other.”
“So, you’re OK with a strange man wearing an Amazon uniform living with us?” she asked.
“I’d be open to a female,” I replied. “Preferably blonde, late 20s…”
“How about male, early 20s, working part time for Amazon to supplement his personal trainer and underwear model incomes?”
“We can discuss that later,” I said. “My point is, if we’re going to give an Amazon driver access to our house, we may as well treat this person like a family member. I’d like somebody to watch football with on Sundays. And cook dinner occasionally.”
“I guess it would be nice to ask, ‘Can you make deliveries near the high school this afternoon around 4? Our daughter needs a ride home,’” my wife added.
“Great idea!” I said. “And nobody should be alone for the holidays. We could take in an Amazon employee with no nearby relatives and pull up an extra seat at the Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve tables.”
“Our new guest would probably be delivering packages on Christmas Eve,” my wife reminded me. “You know how people procrastinate once they join Amazon Prime.”
“True,” I said. “But here’s something else to think about. Would you also consider hosting a Walmart delivery person?”
“Why?” my wife asked. “So the Amazon employee has a playmate?”
“No, because Walmart is testing a service that lets its driver enter your house with groceries you ordered from its website and actually place them in your refrigerator.”
“Oh, I’d hate that,” my wife said. “What if they put the cottage cheese on the wrong shelf?”
“Exactly. So, if the driver lived with us, you could supervise the unpacking process.”
“I’d consider that.” My wife said. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll start with Amazon and see how it goes. We can always join Amazon Fresh if we want groceries delivered.”
Just then our 15-year-old daughter appeared in the kitchen. We excitedly gave her the news.
“There’s going to be a new addition to our family,” I said.
“Ewww mom, you’re pregnant?” my daughter cried. Then, looking at me, “That’s disgusting.”
I quickly explained the new resident would be from Amazon. Her shock turned to joy.
“Cool,” she said. “Can we request one with a science background?”
“I’m gonna need some help with my chemistry project.”