The giant box of cat litter that makes every Amazon driver shudder

dr Elsey’s weighs in at a whopping 40 pounds, proving to be another remarkably heavy burden for gig economy workers tasked with getting it straight to your door

Every few weeks a cardboard grave appears on my doorstep full of Dr. Elsey’s cat litter. It comes in a handsome rectangular package – about the size of a briefcase – and I nearly threw my back out the first time I tried to pick it up. dr Elsey’s has become the go-to cat litter for countless urban cat owners across the country thanks to its airtight, odor-controlling seal and clean, fecal clump texture. (Everyone loves it, even!) What they don’t tell you is that a dense bundle of splintered clay weighs about 40 pounds. I got on my heels and dragged the monolith across my living room floor, invoking a humble respect for the delivery professionals who keep the supply chain running. Seriously, who was I to ask all of her bitter sacrifices just to make the tuxedo cat currently hiding under the kitchen table a little less smelly? Such gilded, aristocratic excess! am i the bad guy

In fact, after browsing the Amazon Prime work collective’s various online pubs, I’ve learned what I already knew in my heart: there’s nothing a courier fears more than the sight of Dr. Elsey.

“First encounter with these dwarfs any cases of water I have treated,” reads the caption of a recent post on the r/AmazonDSPDrivers subreddit, featuring the many outsourced workers of the global shipping ecosystem gather next day to express their concerns and name their enemies. Attached is one of those deceptively sleek packages from Dr. Elsey, and the comments rumble into consensus.

“That’s some bullshit in a box right there!”

“I cringe when I see these loading onto someone’s cart.”

“This has got to be the heaviest stretcher I’ve ever carried.”

And so on. You know that amazing horror of being suddenly made aware of an unconscious sin that you’ve been complicit in for far too long? This is how I felt after realizing that every driver who’s been forced to haul boutique cat litter to my address absolutely hates me.

“In February I got this stupid kitty litter at loadout for the first time. I was mad because five of them went into a house. I saw that the label says they weigh about 40 pounds each. They feel extremely heavy because they’re packaged so compactly, and the boxes don’t have handle cutouts or other easier ways to move them other than being at a good angle to pick them up,” says Becca, a 25-year-old in New York who delivers for Amazon. “For Dr. Elsey, there is no easy strategy. I put them in the back of the van so I can easily wheel them out the back and onto a dolly.”

I think we all know that cat litter can be pretty heavy. There are certain consumer products that automatically elicit an emasculated whimper from anyone forced to load a shopping cart — charcoal bags, Bud Light 24-packs, the odd cast-iron skillet. It should be said that trash is literally a plastic bag full of sand – it’s as messy as wet cement. But Becca makes an important point regarding Dr. Elsey’s unique dimensions. I’m speculating here, but the company needs to implement some sort of vacuum sealing mechanism in their distribution center because they manage to do things like three gallons of trash in a 20 by 13 inch box. The package’s the density of a damn neutron star; a feat of incredible engineering that can be easy underestimated when you’re in the middle of a hectic delivery rush.

“It’s a very modest looking box, so I was quite surprised at the weight,” says Will, a 30-year-old who also ships for Amazon. “I literally said out loud, ‘You’re kidding, what is this new monstrosity?'”

Becca tells me she only gets upset to customers when they order more than one delivery from Dr. Order Elsey’s at the same time. A single 40-pound bag of cat litter is manageable, but two? Three? How Much Does Your Cat Shit Anyway? “It’s starting to get on my nerves,” she says. “And my back.” In general, Becca would like it if manufacturers could be a little more careful about the utilitarian design of their goods. It’s one of the most common oversights when the world enters this strange new horizon where everything – everywhere – is shipped over the next day. The pandemic has created a legion of HelloFreshers, Capsulers and DoorDashers, and if the dystopia must take the form of a global network of jaded, contracted postmen, then their welfare should be of paramount importance.

“I feel like retailers could pay more attention to their packaging. Maybe adding heavy-duty harnesses like other companies, or selling just 20 pounds in a box instead of 40,” Becca continues. “Simply cramming 40 pounds into the most compact package isn’t always the most efficient, especially for the delivery driver.”

This is just one of the many sins we must reckon with as we try to keep our household running through an untold cavalcade of exploitative schemes. Maybe I could try less Dr. Order Elsey’s, or at least make a trip to the local grocery store and haul the load yourself. By the same merit, I have been able to attempt to eliminate my entire night-shipping habit and free myself from the burden that the Amazonian apparatus places on both the earth and the human spirit.

It’s hard to know where to start in 2022, when just turning on the kitchen lights makes you complicit in Earth’s slow death. But I beg my fellow cat owners to take a stand. Seriously, dr. Elsey, can’t you? some to make the litter a little less heavy? Could you at least add a handle? For heaven’s sake, haven’t our dispatchers suffered enough already?

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