The Tiny Community That Relies On Amazon Prime Deliveries To Survive

By Ian Morris on at

As hard as it can seem to get from Surbiton to Heathrow sometimes that's nothing compared to living in a part of the world that's actually remote. For example, the City of Iqaluit in Canada is in a the remote Nunavut territory, with a population of just under 8000 who rely on Amazon for basic shopping needs.

CBC explains that while the government subsidises supplies in the region - common in remote areas where access is limited - the prices on some goods are far too high. One example is Pampers nappies, a clearly essential item but not covered under government subsidies. On shelves 180 nappies cost $70 but on Amazon Prime they're $35.

The problem is, Amazon has understandably been cutting back on its service to remote regions. For the Iqalummiut though, this would be a huge problem. So far they have retained the service, but it's not clear if they will see cuts in the future. Residents think that perhaps the amount the city buys on Amazon might be keeping the service going.

All of this has made the local post office one of the busiest in Canada with a 27% increase year-on-year. So far 88,500 packages have been delivered this year.

Of course, all this is fine if you can afford to shop on Amazon and pay the Prime subscription too. For a lot of people it's just too expensive and there's really no long-term plan for sustaining the population. For one thing, Amazon can't be making a profit and may be making a loss on these shipments. Presumably the whole of Amazon's shipping network is carefully monitored by computers and sooner or later it might become clear that the maths doesn't add up for this service.

Wade Thorhaug of the Qayuqtuvik Society which runs the soup kitchen locally told CBC "If there was something that was more targeted towards people who are genuinely food insecure that would have a bigger impact in the community".

So anyway, while we're all enjoying our Prime deals, possibly worth thinking about those who use the service in a totally different way. [via CBC]

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