Amazon has had billions of orders since its inception. But one of them is so special it’s even making founder Jeff Bezos smile today.
Online shipping giant Amazon started in 1995 as a small book seller on the still relatively recent web. In the first few months, a very strange thing happened and an Amazon payment process happened. In 2002, Jeff Bezos told the story in a lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Amazon ordered from Bulgaria with strange payment
For the first three years, Amazon was exclusive to the USA. Founder Jeff Bezos was surprised when he received an order from Bulgaria only a few months after the start. A country where Amazon is still not available to this day. In his lecture to MIT students, Bezos said he didn’t even know at the time that Bulgaria had access to the Internet.
The young company accepted the request anyway. As if that wasn’t unusual enough, the strangest part of the story is yet to come.
A unique and smart payment method!
Customers did not want to pay with a credit card. One reason could simply be that they don’t have a credit card. These were already standard in the United States, but were rarely traded in Europe. According to Bezos, the Bulgarians paid in cash. They are said to have taken two shiny new $100 bills from the bank. But instead of simply mailing them in, they’ve come up with something special. Fearing that the money would be stolen, they folded the papers into small pieces and hid them in a floppy disk.
More specifically, customers squeeze their bills under a metal window shutter. They put the disc in the envelope with a note.
According to Bezos, the following message was in English in the envelope: “Money is in the disk. Customs officials steal money but they don’t understand English.”
The clever Bulgarians added the order number so that Amazon could allocate the money and ship the books.
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