- Amazon‘s Alexa is being coy for the holidays.
- Package delivery notifications from Amazon will only say whether a package has been delivered and will not elaborate on its contents.
- It ignores Alexa’s usual settings allowing users to turn on or off notifications about a package’s contents.
- The mode is set until 2019 and can’t be changed.
Amazon is doing its best not to spoil Christmas.
Starting in November, Alexa has not been telling users what is in their packages when they are delivered or en route to their destination.
Normally, if a certain setting is enabled, Alexa-enabled devices go through a short list of what is in the package when you ask, “Where’s my stuff?”. But now, asking Alexa or responding to a notification from Amazon will only result in devices saying when a package is expected to be delivered or whether it has been delivered – and nothing about what is in the package itself, regardless of what preferences you have set previously.
Alexa says it will be this way until January 2, and fiddling with the settings in the Alexa app does nothing. Alexa is ignoring the normal settings for reading package contents, and it can’t be overridden.
The feature, as Alexa proudly announces, is meant to prevent any spoiled surprises for the holidays. Hearing the package contents read out loud while children or spouses are in the room to overhear could understandably ruin some of the mystery of what will lie under the tree on December 25.
As online shopping becomes more and more common for the holidays, Amazon becomes a larger part of many families’ holiday ritual. It makes sense that Amazon has features like this to make that easier for customers.
But some customers expressed displeasure that they could not turn the feature off if they lived alone or didn’t celebrate any holidays.
“Surprises and gifts are not a freakin’ issue for me, I want to opt out of this please,” wrote one Amazon customer on an Amazon customer-service message board.