Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s preview of a future of package deliveries by drone prompted tons of speculation about what sort of bait-and-switch strategy the e-commerce giant was really executing. Maybe it was all a ploy to get Amazon’s name in the news on Cyber Monday? Perhaps it was a sly message to government regulators?
After all, drones aren’t a reality yet and probably aren’t even the most practical way to use robotics in deliveries. Essentially, Bezos’s 60 Minutes interview amounted to a promise without any real need to do anything for years to follow-up.
That’s essentially the message behind a kind of awesome spoof posted by the British book retailer Waterstones (like Barnes and Nobles in the U.S.).
On its website, the chain announced OWLS, short for Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favorite books.
“OWLS consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within 30 minutes of you placing your order,” explains press manager Jon Owls in a video.
Of course, the store acknowledges that putting owls into commercial use will take a number of years. Why? It takes ages to train owls to do anything and they only thought of it this morning. But eventually there will be an owl fleet in the sky, they promise, “it’s going to be amazing.”
Check out the video and Q&A, which acknowledges the scheme has a striking resemblance to Harry Potter, but says that’s probably not such a bad thing. Leave it to the Brits.