Why are Whole Foods and Amazon delivery drivers hanging cell phones off trees?

Competition for delivery driver jobs at Whole Foods and Amazon in Chicago has become so fierce that some are taking extreme measures to ensure they get first dibs at orders—by hanging smartphones up near stores and dispatch centers, according to a Bloomberg investigation. The proximity of the dangling phones to delivery centers combined with other software hacks allows drivers to grab deliveries first, seconds before others in the network are pinged. This example of cutthroat tactics is yet another example of how the gig economy is so vastly flooded with the unemployed due to the pandemic. “They’re gaming the system in a way that makes it harder for Amazon to figure it out,” a wireless expert told Bloomberg. “They’re just a step ahead of Amazon’s algorithm and its developers.”