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Online shopping for the holidays? Here are some tips to keep presents a surprise

Some Amazon boxes arrived for delivery.
Some Amazon boxes arrived for delivery.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:17 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Many of the presents in the 2020 holiday season are going to go straight from online retailers to underneath the tree. In fact, according to Amazon, this year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest ever in terms of sales.

With so many presents coming in the mail, there’s bound to be some package peekers and present shakers in the house. For those families, Amazon provides some tips to keep online orders a secret.

Amazon spokesperson Alyssa Bronikowski laid out a few options for customers to save themselves from spoiled gifts.

Of course, there is package tracking. She said once an item is ordered, it’s easy to look up exactly where it is. That way, online shoppers can be the first one to get the package before any other hands get to it.

Bronikowski said the Amazon map tracking feature will allow users to see when their item is 10 stops away.

The online retailer has also started utilizing photo-on-delivery.

“So once an item has been delivered, a customer can actually see an image of where the driver placed it. So they can head out to their doorstep, quickly grab their package and hide it in a closet if that’s where they want to hide it from that special someone,” Bronikowski said. “But they’ll know exactly where to find it as soon as they go outside to retrieve their item.”

She also said that the pandemic has driven Amazon to start allowing customers to go to Amazon Hubs — a brick-and-mortar store — to pick up packages. However, there aren’t any of these hubs in Alaska. UPS workers in the Anchorage supply chain facility said that they don’t allow people to come inside to get their packages either. So the doorstep or mailbox is Alaskan’s only option when shopping from Amazon.

Additionally, there is a gift option through Amazon. Bronikowski noted that it doesn’t show up at the door wrapped up with a bow if shoppers choose this option. It just goes out to delivery without any indication of what’s inside.

While there are ways to keep the online shopping cart a secret from family members who are staying home all the time, there are other options than giant retailers like Amazon.

At this point in the pandemic, many local retailers have set up online options for their customers to help them shop safely. Not all local businesses have this, but the ones who do say it’s worth checking to see if you can find the presents you want locally online.

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