I should start off by saying this week’s column is for adults only. It wasn’t planned this way; it just happened.
About week three of my Amazon workamper experience, one of my fellow nighttime stowers asked, “Seen a black bag yet?”
“Is this a trick question, George?” Being from Massachusetts, George is always pulling my leg.
“Nah, you know the black bags. They keep’um sealed,” he said, then lowered his voice. “You know, the ones with the pornography.”
Now in my world when someone talks about a “black bag,” I think old time doctor. Or lady’s purse. But pornography? Must be magazines, I decided.
“Yah,” he said. “You’ll get one sooner or later. They keep them in a special section in the back.”
I’d pretty much forgotten our conversation until the night I saw the pink hand. It was resting right on top of a juice cart full of merchandise. I didn’t want to look like a pervert so I didn’t take that cart. Apparently no one else on my shift did either. At the end of the night it was still sitting by itself waiting for the day crew.
When I came on the following night, it was gone, along with the cart. I wondered where it had been stowed…I wondered what it was. Possibly a jewelry store accessory. But pink? George and I took bets on whether or not it was a woman’s hand or a man’s. At 2AM you can get pretty punchy.
The next afternoon when I got up I decided to do some research on the “pink hand.” I Googled it first and got discouraged.
Pink ESteam personal handheld steamer…Nope!
Pink breast pumps…Nope!
Pink ladies right hand golf clubs…Nope!
I tried the same searches on Amazon and got nowhere. I knew the pink hand existed. I’d seen it. But who made it? And who was offering it? Amazon has two levels for online sellers. Individual and Professional Sellers. They also say they stringently supervise who can sell what. I decided to investigate the Amazon website and discovered the following:
Categories Requiring Approval
Products in categories requiring approval can be listed only with specific permission from Amazon. Only sellers with a Professional Selling Plan subscription can sell in these categories. Amazon limits access to sell in these categories to help ensure that sellers meet standards for product and listing quality as well as other category-specific requirements. These standards help Amazon customers have confidence when buying in any category.
Eventually I find the Restricted Products section. There are a lot of them. Drugs & drug paraphernalia, human parts (thank goodness!); stolen property; offensive products; and Sex & Sensuality.
Sex & Sensuality
Listings for the sale of sex and sensuality products are restricted to sellers that are pre-approved by Amazon.
Examples of Permitted Listings
Reminder: all listings and products must comply with all laws and regulations.
- Prophylactics and other over-the-counter contraceptives (pre-approval not required)
- Unrated erotic videos and DVDs
- Magazines widely available in non-adult-only bookstores
- Sexual health products listed by pre-approved sellers
- Sexual aid devices listed by pre-approved sellers
- Adult-only novelty items listed by pre-approved sellers, such as:
Novelty food items
Examples of Prohibited Listings
- Products that portray nudity in a gratuitous or graphic manner, such as:
Hard-core material including magazines
- Sexual health products unless listed by pre-approved sellers
- Sexual aid devices unless listed by pre-approved sellers
- Adult-only novelty items unless listed by pre-approved sellers
- Media featuring Traci Lords created prior to May 7, 1986
A search under Vibrators revealed 17, 085 results. OMG! If Amazon is concerned about their image they might want to eliminate some of the listings I came across like the one for “Jenna Jameson Autographed Nude Vibrator Photo PSA UACC RD by Autograph Pros, LLC.” The photo accompanying it was definitely not for prime time viewing. Same for the Nasswalk All American Whopper.
I was getting tired. I decided to limit my search to “Vibrating Hands.” Suddenly on Page 10 of the results I found the Pink Hand. It was a Baile Sex Toy Teaser Imitated Human Hand. And it wasn’t in a black bag. So ultimately, the question is…what IS in the Black Bags at Amazon?
I learned the other night quite by accident. I was in one of the regular aisles, moving some merchandise in a bin to one side to see if I could fit in a plastic wrapped tray of cat food cans. Low and behold, up popped a black bag, sort of plastic lined thick paper. And this one wasn’t sealed. Either by mistake or on purpose, this bag was wide open. Staring up at me was a double headed sexual accessory. In pink. No hand. Need I say more?
As fate would have it, the Pink Hand disappeared about a week ago. Every once in a while I would see it on a cart somewhere; then it just disappeared. I assumed someone bought it, because I can’t imagine how anyone could have gotten it through security. Picture airport here folks. We go through security at least several times a day, especially when we leave the building. Metal detectors, pat downs, personal searches. Off the clock I might add. Still can’t figure out how they can do that since depending on the length of the line of people getting off work, you can stand in line for 15 to 30 minutes. Especially if the alarms are going off.
I keep feeling like I should have turned in that torn open black bag and its contents the other night. But I just didn’t feel comfortable. My supervisor was a woman that night. An older one at that. How would I have worded it? “What am I supposed to do with this?” She probably would have told me.
Coming up in our next installment: Amazon Ghost Walkers and the Rule of Three.
See Part One of Amazon Confidential: Confessions of a Warehouse Worker, Part Two, The Hardening Process, Part Three, The Amazon Weight Loss Program, Part Four, The Investment Strategy, Part Five, Who Needs Whom?, Part Seven, Ghost Walkers and the Rule of Three, Part Eight, Incentives, Returns and Overtime and Part Nine, The Peak of Power.