Amazon, the online retailer, has announced that it is experimenting with delivery by zombie in a bid to provide an even better experience for its customers. Amazon currently makes use of a wide range of couriers and postal services around the world, and inevitably this can lead to problems.
"We're not saying that any of the people we use are inefficient," said Executive Head of Corporate Solutions, Mandy Phillips. "But they are, very occasionally, tardy, unprofessional, negligent, fraudulent, deceitful, incompetent, devious, unprincipled, unreliable and abusive. That's unfortunate, because when a package arrives late, gets damaged or is left in a puddle, it's our business that suffers."
Amazon has already experimented with different delivery methods, including highly-trained squirrels, drones and an elaborate system of vacuum tubes 'like in Futurama'. Sadly, initial tests revealed the squirrels to be untrustworthy, the drones unstable and the vacuum tube idea impressive but ultimately unworkable. But, according to Miss Phillips, zombie delivery looked like it had potential right from the start.
"I got the idea from watching my cousin Kevin trying to eat a sausage roll," she told us. "It seemed perfect. Here was a creature that appeared to completely lack any spark of intelligence or personality, yet seemed perfectly capable of carrying out simple tasks. It was a no brainer. Literally, it was a no brainer."
Not that zombie delivery was ever going to work straight off the bat. Researchers found that when initially presented with a carefully addressed package, most untrained zombies attempted to eat it. Some of the more obstreperous ones attempted to eat the researchers. Various methods were tried to get around this problem, including smearing the packages in earwax, dousing them in skunk juice and even printing the address labels in a less attractive font. All to no avail.
"In desperation, we just started hitting them with sticks," said Miss Phillips. "Happily, not only did this appear to work but it also enabled us to let off a bit of steam, so it was smiles all round, really."
Her team have now built up a small but efficient unit of zombie couriers, which have been used on a trial basis in a limited number of areas. "It's been very successful," she told us proudly. "They're reliable, they have no desire to join a union, we pay them in brains and so far they've hardly eaten anyone. I think we're good to go."