Freelance journalist Bex April May inadvertently ended up recording the unboxing of an air fryer out of an Amazon UK package that should have housed a PlayStation 5. When she took to Twitter to share her experience, hundreds of people responded with similar experiences – nearly all of them documented. Folks received everything but the PS5 – pet food, kitchen appliances, fitness equipment – you name it.
Happy #PS5 day everyone. Tried to document our one’s unveiling, but Amazon have tricked us with an unsolicited air fryer instead (after giving delivery password). Anyone else had this problem today? pic.twitter.com/99IUSzSJUU
— Bex April May (@bexlectric) November 19, 2020
Considering the amount of documented cases, May’s experience wasn’t an isolated one and with Amazon being frustratingly mum, she decided to investigate the case on behalf of IGN. The article hooked me from start to finish, and I’m inclined to think May’s on the verge of uncovering organized crime given the similarities in all the instances of missing PS5s. In majority of the cases, disappointed customers reported things like boxes resealed with clear plastic tape (Amazon uses its own branded tape), drivers acting weird outside their residences (like this guy caught on camera), Amazon claiming the PS5 was delivered then quickly retracting the update, and so on.
May got a hold of a former Amazon employee who offered interesting insight on condition of anonymity. They revealed that it’s virtually impossible for warehouse workers to steal items considering the security measures in place. They gave the example of someone being caught walking out with something as little as a MicroSD card, and said that stealing something as big as a PS5 wouldn’t go unnoticed.
“All warehouse staff go through manned security checkpoints to exit the warehouse, and everyone, including management, is required to go through a turnstile with a Random Number Generator search function,” the former Amazon worker told May. “One in 10 people are selected, and if they are, they have to submit to a metal detector and turn out their pockets.”
What about delivery drivers? Another one of May’s anonymous sources disclosed that it’s possible for drivers to be bribed. This source previously worked for a company that was tasked with delivering Apple products and one of their delivery drivers was approached at a depot and offered cash for iPads. However, May’s Amazon source didn’t entirely support this theory.
“Everything you do, from the route you take, to the parcels and the returns is tracked by an app,” according to the former Amazon worker. “There is, however, nothing to stop gangs waiting for delivery partners outside the depots, or on the routes, and stealing packages from their vehicles – and frankly nothing to protect you, as a delivery partner, if that happens, other than calling the police and alerting driver support.”
Still, there’s no concrete proof of anything and Amazon’s investigation seems to have produced no results thus far. But – again – the amount of missing PS5s ordered via Amazon and the similarities in these cases do point towards an organized effort to steal the consoles. And with thousands of PS5s ending up in the hands of scalper groups, one is inclined to think many of them were simply stolen rather than purchased for resale at a higher price.
Sony declined May’s request for comment.