Update: 10:00 p.m., July 16: Still having trouble shopping? According to Amazon, continuing site errors have not negatively impacted sales.
“Some customers are having difficulty shopping, and we’re working to resolve this issue quickly," an Amazon spokesperson said. "Many are shopping successfully — in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year. There are hundreds of thousands of deals to come and more than 34 hours to shop Prime Day.”
This article was originally published at 5:10 p.m. on July 16, 2018.
If Amazon learned one thing from the first hour of 2018's Prime Day, it's this: When all goes to hell with your servers, pimping out the company’s pups is a pretty good way to curry favor among deal-hungry shoppers.
Those who flocked to the site when the 36-hour-long deal event kicked off at 3 p.m. met Waffles, an adorable corgi who likely enjoys morning cuddles; Bailey, a yellow lab who also happens to look like a very good girl; Brandi, a retriever who probably likes long walks on the beach; and Rocket, a sleepy looking black lab in need of a nap.
These are the Amazon employee dogs who adorn the company's extremely effective error pages, which convey the problem — something isn't working — while also managing to soften the blow via a big dose of cuteness. If you clicked on the link inviting you to "meet the dogs of Amazon", you found out that the company's decision to feature pups is not merely a good customer service play, it also hearkens back to the Amazon's founding days.
Rufus, a Welsh corgi owned by two early Amazon employees, played a role in pushing some of the first pages live: Employees used his paw to click the mouse. (Likely as a fun, if bizarre, company joke.) Nowadays, roughly 6,000 furry friends join their dog moms and dads at work every day at Amazon's Seattle headquarters. There, they can visit the off-leash dog park, run around on the seventeenth floor "doggie deck" with a fake fire hydrant, and quench their thirst at "dog-friendly water fountains." One employee is even a designated Woof Pack manager.
While today was not the first time customers have seen error pages, the surge in traffic tied to Prime Day momentarily turned office stars into internet heroes. Because if you can't spend your money on Amazon, you should at least be able to look at cute animals in the meantime. (Note: Amazon's site is back up now, so you can return to spend money.)