All about the junk (or parcels, even) in my trunk
Amazon's new delivery trial with DHL and Audi fills Maggie with dread...
OPINION: The internet is brilliant. At the click of a button we can order flowers for loved ones or ensure items are delivered right to our doors whenever we need.
However, for the average nine-to-five-er, the delivery element of e-commerce is a pain in the physical, rather than the virtual, butt. Some delivery firms are awesome and will provide you with a text detailing when your package will arrive. Others offer no specific guidance, have a card pre-written that they simply shove through your letterbox while running away and never looking back.
Some take a more hands-on approach and entertain' you by ensuring you have to play a long and tiring game of hide-and-seek before finding your parcel lovingly hidden inside a bin full of decaying food, or chilling out on your rain-sodden patio having been launched over a six-foot high garden gate.
The way around this for many is to get items delivered to work. But not all workplaces can accommodate such requests and moreover, you then have the hassle of getting the darn thing home, from the impulse-purchase pair of flip-flops to the Christmas tree that looked much smaller in the picture.
Cue Amazon and an innovative scheme to take some of that hassle away. It's currently trialling a scheme whereby DHL delivery drivers, through the power of technology, can deposit your items in your car boot if you're not around.
Sounds great in theory. However, it's worth pointing out you need to live in Germany, drive an Audi and presumably ensure you either have a sufficiently large car boot or make sure you limit the size of the items you order online.
Oh, and the trial doesn't start until next month.
Using Audi's in-car comms system Connect, Amazon Prime customers will be able to grant one-off keyless access to their boots (by means of digital access code) so that DHL delivery drivers can securely deliver packages.
This minimises frustration and enhances satisfaction on the customer side, while reducing the need for repeat delivery attempts, wasted fuel and time for Amazon.
According to the Audi press release, some customers will also be able to use their car boots as a pop-up Post Office to send parcels and letters too.
While I have to admit I like the sound of this type of technological advancement, I'm not so sure I would like the reality.
Surely it could lead to people tampering with your boot to steal under the guise they're just delivering something? And what if the drivers accidentally leave your boot ajar when they're done?
Though Audi has tried its best to alleviate such fears, concerns remain.
"As with all of our connect services, the security of the car and of customer data has top priority for Audi," says Professor Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of Audi's board of management fortechnical development.
"For us, Vorsprung durch Technik also means Audi customers should be able to use these kinds of innovative services with peace of mind and therefore enjoy true added value."
I don't own an Audi (she says regretfully). In fact, I can't even drive. The roads and everyone on them are probably much safer that way.
Anyway, the family Holland does have a car and I don't really want anyone I don't know tampering with my boot, however pleasant or valuable the package intended for delivery may be.
Progress is great but, at least for the time being, I'll stick to exciting games like Who's at the door?' (answer: not my parcel delivery driver) and the receipt of love letters from strangers that use code such as We called and your weren't in.'
Life's just that little bit more edgy and exciting that way.