By Steve Smith on Dec 3 2013 - 9:41am


Amazon, Listen To Rick Blaine

In the classic World War II drama “Casablanca,” when American expatriate and nightclub owner Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart) is asked by Major Strasser if Blaine could “imagine” if he could see the Germans in Paris or London, Blaine diplomatically avoided the questions.

Strasser finally asked directly, “How about New York?”

Blaine declared, “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.”

My advice to Amazon about its drone delivery scheme is to listen to Rick.

In Amazon’s video, the drone flies through the open sky and delivers its 5-pound parcel on the walkway of nice, suburban home. (In watching it a couple of times, I thought that Ward Cleaver was going to go out and pick up that package.)

Can you imagine Amazon trying to deliver such a package at a multiple-dwelling building at East 34th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan? Or in Midtown Chicago? Philadelphia? Boston? Or any major city in this country with multiple-dwelling buildings?

 Can you imagine the possibility of theft of packages, theft of drones itself, drone crashes, etc., or the beginning of a new sport — drone hunting?

And if Amazon does have the political power to get this approved by the FAA, any other online retailer is, eventually, going to want the same right to provide such deliveries. And what about fast food deliveries? Deliveries from local stores? Plenty of other businesses can deliver to homes and other businesses.

The skies would be filled with drones. With all the talk about local and state police having their own fleets, you can imagine a world where skies in certain areas will look like electronic locusts are swarming.

I never say never in this business, but in this case, listen to Rick.

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