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Wal-Mart's new plan: Have customers deliver online orders


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#1 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:33 PM

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com Inc.

Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world's largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as "crowd-sourcing," or the "sharing economy."

A plethora of start-ups now help people make money by renting out a spare room, a car, or even a cocktail dress, and Wal-Mart would in effect be inviting people to rent out space in their vehicle and their willingness to deliver packages to others.

Such an effort would, however, face numerous legal, regulatory and privacy obstacles, and Wal-Mart executives said it was at an early planning stage.

Wal-Mart is making a big push to ship online orders directly from stores, hoping to cut transportation costs and gain an edge over Amazon and other online retailers, which have no physical store locations. Wal-Mart does this at 25 stores currently, but plans to double that to 50 this year and could expand the program to hundreds of stores in the future.

Wal-Mart currently uses carriers like FedEx Corp for delivery from stores - or, in the case of a same-day delivery service called Walmart To Go that is being tested in five metro areas, its own delivery trucks.


"I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters.

 

Full article

I suspect this is a job's program for trial lawyers. This whole thing reads like a law school fact pattern on tort liability for respondeat superior.

 

List three ways Wal-Mart could be sued for this plan.

I'll start.

1. Car accident on way to deliver goods

2. Delivery person is shot by home owner mistaking them for a trespasser

3. Burglars use service to case targets


"You can't say no to waffles" - Toxic Hippo


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#2 Rhetorician   Members   -  Reputation: 119

Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:10 PM

4. Apple patents it. 5. Microsoft patents it. 6. "Three ways" is quite arbitrary. I'll go with 2.

#3 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29568

Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:13 PM

List three ways Wal-Mart could be sued for this plan.
I'll start.
1. Car accident on way to deliver goods
2. Delivery person is shot by home owner mistaking them for a trespasser
3. Burglars use service to case targets

<insert i_dont_want_to_live_on_this_planet_any_more.jpeg>

#4 Madhed   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2793

Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:41 PM

Walmart competing with UPS, leveraging regular customers? Sounds not so crazy anymore. If they get the legal mumbo jumbo right... why not.I doubt it however, seeing as walmart seems to have a track record of ignoring basic workers rights and whatnot. I'll stay tuned.



#5 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:47 PM

If Wal-Mart partnered with the USPS, then we could get Saturday deliveries again. Or at the very least not have weekend deliveries threatened by insufficient funds.


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#6 Sik_the_hedgehog   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1609

Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:28 AM

4. Apple patents it. 5. Microsoft patents it. 6. "Three ways" is quite arbitrary. I'll go with 2.

Amazon is more likely to patent it.


Don't pay much attention to "the hedgehog" in my nick, it's just because "Sik" was already taken =/ By the way, Sik is pronounced like seek, not like sick.

#7 NewBreed   Members   -  Reputation: 263

Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:38 PM

Not a new concept at all... <a href="https://www.hermesworld.com/en/">Hermes</a>. Very cheap to use, but from what I gather their couriers make around 30-60p per parcel, but that's their only income, they must pay their own costs etc. My experience with them is quite good (you tend to always have the same courier work in your area), but I know many other people have had abysmal experience with parcels getting lost etc...



#8 wintertime   Members   -  Reputation: 1647

Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:20 PM

I thought that Hermes would just have normal employees?

Its just a bit annoying when they sometimes dont even ring the right bell and give packages to random neighbors to get rid of them faster.



#9 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6974

Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:26 PM

List three ways Wal-Mart could be sued for this plan.
I'll start.
1. Car accident on way to deliver goods
2. Delivery person is shot by home owner mistaking them for a trespasser
3. Burglars use service to case targets

tumblr_m7oq5k17pY1r3084q.jpg

FTFY


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#10 BladeOfWraith   Members   -  Reputation: 245

Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:49 PM

Not a new concept at all... Hermes.

Not even close. They hire you as an employee. They aren't handing off a few things to tens of thousands of new people every day. More importantly, are they even in America? The website just mentions Europe. I have no idea what laws other countries have in this respect, but I have a decent grasp of US law.

 

Consider:

Wal-mart gives me some perishable food to bring to Mary. It's summertime and I leave it in my trunk for a while, as I run other errands. Four hours after I was given the food, I swing by Mary's and drop it off. Mary eats the food and gets food poisoning. Because of the American definition of respondeat superior, Wal-mart is accountable for her food poisoning.

 

When you have a limited number of employees, you can train them to make things like this uncommon. How do you do that with a sea of random customers? The answer is, you can't.

 

You can also run background checks on your employees. Not so much with random customers. What happens when Wal-mart hands off some groceries to a convicted sex offender, that proceeds to rape someone or kidnap a child? This sort of thing is inevitable with an operation of this scale.

 

This is an absolutely crazy plan.


"You can't say no to waffles" - Toxic Hippo





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