Coronavirus update for business: Amazon keeps customers waiting, Llamas are the new Zoom-bombers, Lonely Planet on the rocks?


Llamas on conference calls. Best. Idea. Ever. Source: Sweet Farm.

The customer is always first at Amazon, unless there are too many. Getting tired of Zoom conference calls? Have you tried adding llama? And will a fast tracked tech hub in Sydney become Australia’s Silicon Valley?

Amazon keeps customers waiting

Amazon loves calling itself the world’s most customer-centric company, but those plans have taken somewhat of a back seat as the COVID-19 pandemic rips through the United States.

With more than 500,000 coronavirus cases recorded in the states, customers are flocking to Amazon’s e-commerce channels to purchase groceries and other essentials.

Demand has soared so high that Amazon has been forced to restrict the number of shoppers ordering grocery delivery through its platforms, including Whole Foods.

Existing grocery customers are being prioritised, while new customers will be chucked on a wait list as the world’s largest e-commerce company fights to keep up with demand.

Amazon is hiring more workers at breakneck pace, leading to a 60% increase in capacity in recent weeks, the company has said.

Spice up your meetings with some llama shenanigans

The absolute geniuses over at Sweet Farm Llama sanctuary in the United States have come up with an unique way to recoup their coronavirus related losses.

They’ve started selling llama cameos for Zoom and other conference call meetings.

We cannot stress this enough: bloody genius.

There’s more than just llamas on offer too, with prices ranging from US$65 to US$250, appearances by pigs, goats and turkeys are also available.

Basically the sanctuary just dials in these legends to your conference call — the rest is pretty self explanatory.

The pictures are incredible.

Sweet Farm is a not-for-profit, and the proceeds will be going towards bolstering the sanctuary amid the pandemic.

Lonely Planet closes Aussie offices?

Lonely Planet is reportedly closing its Australian offices, as the complete halt to global travel has seen guidebook sales plummet.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, about 80 Australian employees of the company could lose their jobs.

The UK office is also apparently downsizing significantly, and the US, India and Ireland offices are also expected to be affected.

“If there’s not a market for getting on airplanes then there’s not a market for guide books,” co-founder Tony Wheeler told the SMH.

Although he is not involved in Lonely Planet anymore, Wheeler is a part-owner of Text Publishing, and said the industry as a whole is actually not doing badly during the pandemic.

“It seems to be a little bit jumping the gun,” he said.

“Book sales are a bit like toilet paper – people are hoarding them, buying them while they’re locked down.”

Tech hub to get go-ahead

The NSW government is fast tracking a new technology hub in Sydney’s CBD in a bid to make the city more attractive to global technology companies when the state’s economy restarts.

As The Australian reports, a project by property developer Dexus Group and Frasers property is being approved in a bid to underpin a commercial revitalisation of Sydney’s CBD.

When finished, the two connected towers will be marketed to technology companies looking to call Sydney home, with hope the area will evolve into Australia’s Silicon Valley.

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