The Amazon Flex Experience: Why Do I Do Flex?

Many people have asked, “Why do I Flex?”

There are many positives to being an Amazon Flex Independent Contractor:

  • The flexibility in scheduling is great and allows me time to take care of personal issues when necessary.
  • I don’t have to ask for time off just to see the doctor, I just don’t pick up a block for that time.
  • The pay is better than most other rideshare gigs and most of the full-time jobs in my area. If you’re paid $54 for a three-hour block that takes 45 minutes, I’d say that’s a good deal.

In all honesty, while these perks are great, they’re not the main reasons I love Amazon Flex.

I’ve had so many positive experiences while delivering for Flex and here are a few of the weird, scary, funny, and happy experiences I’ve had while delivering for Amazon Flex.

1. People are Happy to See you, Usually

First Impressions

Flex is relatively new to some areas and when a strange person arrives in their personal vehicle, customers can be caught off guard. Some drivers have had visits from police because there was a “suspicious person” report, turns out it’s just an Amazon Flex driver. As the prevalence of the program grows, so will the recognition.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I received an angry “Can I help you?”, from a customer. I just smile and let them know I’m delivering their package. It’s amazing how quickly a customer changes their tune. Suddenly they’re excited to see you and they want to know how you managed to pick up this cushy gig. It’s like a Flex version of 20 questions.

Children

The best part of interactions come when the customer is anxiously waiting for their package. It’s like you have your own personal cheerleaders when you arrive. Children are the best because they do not hold back their excitement. They will jump and cheer, “Amazon’s here!”. Somedays you’ll have the privilege to deliver a long-awaited birthday present. When you are in that position, you are the customer’s favorite person. One incident in particular resulted in a 6-year-old child spontaneously hugging me.

If you have a route that includes a community yard sale, you’ll see so many things and I’ve stopped briefly and bought a few things while on a route. I’ll never forget buying cookies from a sweet young lady who branded her confections as “Ava’s famous Cookies”.

One thing to note here, when on a route – never offer kids candy from your car window. You’ll be labelled a creep and the police will come looking for you.

Weird People

This is the part of Amazon Flex where all you can do is have a “What the heck?” moment and just keep going. Some customers will stare at you from behind their door even after you knock. You might even be accused to trying to steal their package. They may yell at you to leave the package and flat out refuse to open the door. Some customers may be in various states of undress. One delivery in particular required a recipient and she came to the door in some seriously sexy lingerie. It’s very difficult to keep a straight face when a nearly naked woman is accepting a package.

Other people like to be creative with their landscaping. Take, for instance these everyday decorations:

You’ll come across many different things while driving for Flex. It’s hard not to smile when you see somebody really getting into holiday decorations. If these folks get so into Halloween, it’s going to be interesting to see what they’ll do for the winter holidays. Check these decorations out:

The Elderly

When delivering for Flex, you’ll come to visit the homes of elderly or disabled people. If you’re the type that wants to hand-deliver your packages, be prepared. They can take some time to come to the door and when they arrive, they will talk. One lady was absolutely tickled that she could order something and have it delivered that evening. Then she proceeded to ask me if I had any kids and if I lived nearby. She was very sweet but I had to get moving. I politely managed to get a word in edgewise and explained I had several other packages to deliver.

There are times where a customer is physically unable to drag a package inside their home. This is one of those times you can provide superior customer service and deliver the package to their dining room table. Of course, entry into a customer’s home is not always advised but it’s all about your good judgment. In situations like this, the customer will almost always tip you – it may be in candy or chicken soup but a tip is a tip. Little old ladies make the best chicken soup!

2. Animal Encounters

Dogs

The most common animals you’ll encounter on a Flex route are dogs. In most cases, they are happy to see you. Some dogs appear to be ferocious but are really just big babies at heart. At one of my deliveries, the customer was surprised his dog did not attack me. I was a bit confounded because the dog did jump up and lick my face, attacking certainly wasn’t on this dog’s mind.

Nevertheless, you do need to be mindful of dogs. You never know when a dog may want to bite. In my experience, the smaller dogs tend to be more likely to bite than the big ones. The bigger dogs do present a more problematic issue; they may steal the package. It’s not fun to chase a golden retriever to get the bubble envelope package you just delivered away.

Occasionally you’ll see puppies! This picture alone is all you need to understand.

Farm Animals

There are times where you may deliver to a farm and some of those farms practice “Free-range” chickens. Not only that, some urban areas allow for “backyard” chickens. Most of the time, chickens are rather docile but they often get in the way of driveways. Rarely do they pose anything more than a nuisance until the rooster decides you need to go away. Roosters will chase you and despite being rather funny looking, you’ll still run from an angry rooster.

You’ll want to avoid angry goats all together. They will ram their heads right into you without flinching and unlike a rooster – they can cause damage. Lucky for me the goat rammed the fence and not me.

Snakes and other Creepy Crawlies

Yes, you may encounter snakes. This is the single most important reason I do not walk through a customer’s yard, especially in rural areas. You never know what may be lurking and ready to strike. This guy slithered across a road and right up into the front yard of a house of an upscale neighborhood.

You’ll also come into contact with frogs, turtles, and spiders. They’re usually just a nuisance but occasionally you will find a spider with an axe to grind. This guy descended upon me from a porch ceiling. He was ready to fight!

Other wildlife encounters

The main animal outside of dogs you’ll come in contact with is deer. In some places they do their best to stay away from humans. I don’t know what it is about Tennessee, but deer here will drink from your dog’s water bowl right in your front yard. They do not care. They will walk down the street like they own the place. Then they look at you like you’re stupid or something. Turkeys do the same.

I’ve never personally had issues with bears but other drivers have reported an undeliverable because they were not getting out of the car in this situation:

3. Cool Places

Every now and then a route will have some seriously interesting places to deliver to. I’ve delivered to recording studios and MTV. I remember seeing a picture of a double wide trailer wrapped in RealTree Camo because another Flex driver delivered there. Two months later I see that same double wide trailer in a picture with Kid Rock standing in front of it. Turns out that was Kid Rock’s double wide trailer, who would have thought?

It’s not uncommon to deliver to famous people. I’ve delivered to Titans football players and country music industry leaders. Dierks Bentley is a frequent Amazon customer.

You may also deliver to historic or cultural landmarks. I’ve delivered to The Country Music Hall of Fame and Montpier.

Scary Deliveries

There are times where you’ll have deliveries that scare you. They usually take place in the dark and down a long and narrow driveway. You never know if the customer is expecting you or will meet you with a loaded firearm. Some driveways are difficult to navigate and very dark, the trees have overgrown and you’re wondering who could possibly live behind that mess. Believe it or not, the photo below is the entrance to a driveway. Most of the concrete had broken apart and the bottom of my vehicle scraped many times going down this driveway. The first time I attempted to exit the driveway after the delivery, I had to back up and try again.

Then you get stuff like this and you have to think happy thoughts.

Federal buildings can also become scary, especially when you’re suspected as a terrorist. I rolled up to a loading dock at a federal building, not thinking anything of it. All security saw was a white minivan full of boxes approaching. Then this woman gets out with one of the boxes and wants to leave it. That didn’t go over well with security. I believe I was mere seconds away from being tazed.