Amazon Prime: one-week delivery to small towns

During our three-week sojourn in the American desert we discovered a few nice-to-have items from Amazon. These were available for overnight delivery to our house in Palm Beach County. Changing the delivery zip code to a small town in Utah, however, resulted in an update: one week (e.g., to Moab, Utah, full-time population of 5,000). Maybe it was just a question of price? There was no faster option offered at any price.

In its early 2-day-always-anywhere incarnation, Amazon Prime was a great leveler and put people in small towns on an equal footing, as far as convenience went, with people in big cities.

Maybe this is why Amazon went into the business of streaming interminable TV shows? People in out-of-the-way parts of the U.S. can binge-watch while they wait for their Bluetooth headphones?

Perhaps this will save bricks-and-mortar retail? Moab has a local bookstore that has survived nearly 30 years of competition from Amazon:

(Note the success of Rainbow-first Retail (examples from Bozeman, Montana) here, with the sacred symbol of the official state religion directly over the “Children’s Books” sign.)

8 thoughts on “Amazon Prime: one-week delivery to small towns

    • Steve: Thanks for the link. I didn’t realize that we had missed “Gay Adventure Week” in Moab. The town is not “isolated” by UPS standards. says that if I drop something off today (Saturday) by 3 pm it can be in Moab by 2 pm Monday. Two-day service gets it there by end-of-day Tuesday. 3-day service gets a little strange… that arrives on Thursday. I get the same results for Salt Lake City. Denver is closer by ground, but not by air or “3 day select”.

  1. Pretty sure they’ll go through UPS instead of driving a prime truck all the way across Utah just for Greenspun, but it’s more than they’ll do for a blog commenter. Wonder if Greenspun global world headquarters is for rent during the world travels.

    • lion: When Amazon Prime started it was 2-day delivery via UPS and similar common carriers anywhere in the U.S. They didn’t need to drive Prime trucks because they didn’t have Prime trucks.

  2. From my experience items that you can get overnight in NYC can take more than a week (or never arrive) when delivered to Everglades City in Florida. In many places “the last mile” turns out to be “the last 20 miles.”

  3. Amazon is trying to use its own distribution network to cut on shipping costs. They have distribution centers for quick fulfilment in major metro areas and populated states, less so in the boonies, and since they overestimated post-COVID demand they are also retrenching on their logistics footprint.

  4. I watched a Youtube video describing the Amazon delivery system. If I recall correctly, Amazon leases (sells?) the trucks to independent, unaffiliated firms that pick up from Amazon warehouses and make the deliveries to the end customers. The drivers are employees of the independents firms.

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