Many relied on delivery services during the height of the pandemic, but a North Haven family got more than they bargained for during one drop-off, all because of an extra package they received.
“Where we take the dogs out every morning in the front and then we woke up to that and we were not very happy about it,” Mike Piscitelli said, pointing to the area where his sidewalk and street meet. “I just looked and I’m like wow that’s a bag of human waste.”
The Piscitellis snapped a picture in late January of what they say is a bag full of urine.
Spotted on their doorbell surveillance video the night before: an Amazon Prime driver drops off a package and takes a picture of the delivery.
If you keep watching, “At the end of the video, I saw the driver go back in his truck and drop it [the bag] and pull away,” Mike said.
“We knew nobody in the neighborhood would do something like that and you could blatantly see it was urine. It looked like a carnival goldfish bag filled with urine,” said Piscitelli’s wife Tina.
The Piscitellis say all they wanted was for Amazon to come pick it up. A company fulfillment center is just a couple of miles away.
“It’s biohazard waste, you can’t keep that on the lawn. We have kids, dogs, neighbors, a convalescent home around the corner,” said Tina.
The family says the bag was left for 36 hours. When it was never picked up North Haven Public Works Department stepped in to help.
Right after the delivery, the Piscitellis called a neighbor who is an attorney for help.
“Realistically it’s not about the money. We’re not here for the money. My fee, anything I get from this is going back to the good people at public works who really put themselves in a situation they didn’t have to deal with,” said Trevor Doyon, who’s a lawyer with Wiley, Etter, Doyon.
They’re asking Amazon to commit to company-wide change after hearing this was part of a pattern.
In March, Amazon issued an apology after initially denying Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan’s (D) tweet suggesting workers urinate in water bottles.
The company said in a blog post, “We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes” especially during the pandemic.
While it said this is an industry-wide issue, Amazon said it was looking for solutions.
“It’s kind of gross if they’re using the bathroom in their truck and then they’re touching our packages and then we’re touching our packages. Across the board, somebody needs to be held accountable for what’s going on,” said Mike.
Amazon told NBC Connecticut that it sets realistic expectations for drivers using sophisticated technology to plan out routes with scheduled break times.
It says drivers are alerted of those breaks with its delivery app, which lists nearby restroom facilities.
“It’s just not fair to them, to customers, kids, animals, neighbors. It’s gross,” said Tina.
She and her husband have 3 and 7-year-old daughters.
Since the discovery, the Piscitellis say they have received a $25 gift card from Amazon but no response to a letter sent to the company by their lawyer more than four months ago until last week, after NBC CT Investigates reached out
“We didn’t use the gift card, we want nothing to do with the gift card. We just want a bag of waste removed. That would have made us much happier,” said Mike.
In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson wrote: “This is inexcusable and does not reflect the high standards we have for drivers who deliver our packages—we take these matters seriously and this individual is no longer delivering packages for Amazon. We are in touch with the customer to make this right.”
The Piscitellis say this is more about Amazon than the driver, an essential worker they and so many others relied on during the pandemic.
For now, they’re considering a lawsuit, as they continue to answer their daughter’s questions about that not special delivery back in January.
“She was confused as to why people can’t use the bathroom, so to explain that, why they have to do that, that’s just unfair,” said Tina.