August 20, 2019

The Real Vine Reviewers of Amazon.com

“A U.P.S. driver once said the house set his delivery record: 32 packages in one day. There have been bigger days since, and the burden is now spread across three carriers. Most of it falls to the local postal carriers. They used to make the rounds in a sedan until the sheer volume of packages delivered up the hill each week required them to upgrade to a truck. The boxes have slowed lately, but something arrives almost every day.

The boxes crowd the porch — this is up in a tranquil stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains — before gradually making their way inside, past the patio table, which came from a box, and its four chairs, from boxes all. The living room was largely furnished from the boxes: a couch, an end table, rugs, the love seat. In the bedroom, the boxes account for artwork, linens, a clothes rack, the mattress and several pillows, of course. The extra window unit air-conditioners: white boxes from brown boxes. The kitchen is stocked from the flow of boxes — the knife block, the espresso machine, the convection oven — as are the home’s closets.

The office is almost all box — furniture, printers (regular and 3-D), computer, at least 13 hard drives and four routers. The art on the walls came this way; the new shelves installed to store the items from the porch boxes came through porch boxes. The camera system through which the porch boxes are surveilled was itself unpacked from a porch box. The worry is thieves, though the camera mostly catches wildlife: rabbits, turkeys and mice, with an elk every once in a while, and, so far, one coyote and a bear.”

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