For someone like me who uses Amazon very frequently, the company’s latest announcement is both fascinating and a little creepy. Amazon has filed for a patent for “Anticipatory Shipping” and just may have  a customer's next purchase selected, packaged, labeled and ready to ship to before it's ordered.

Based on all the information Amazon has collected from a shopper like his past buying history, what’s in his wish list, and even how long his mouse hovered over an object, Amazon could predict what he’ll buy and have it all packaged, labeled and sent to the nearest fulfillment facility. Then, if and when he does buy, it will be ready to be at his door within hours. Amazon even says it may end up shipping things before they are ordered.

What does a customer do with an item he didn’t order? Keep it. Amazon will consider it “a promotional gift to build goodwill.”

There have been times when the speediness of Amazon’s shipping has been absolutely amazing. I’ve ordered a book for my son before he left for school, and the book was on our doorstep before he got home that day. Could the speed that this anticipatory shipping might offer really be faster than that?

Yes, it could be. According to TechCrunch, the company may put a item it anticipates a customer buying on a delivery truck and keep it in “near continuous transit on trucks until a customer makes a purchase.”

Crazy, isn’t it?

I’m trying to think of what item I might need so quickly that I would want it to be in continuous transit so that a nearby delivery person could have it to my house within minutes or a few hours of ordering. There’s really only one that comes to mind – printer ink. It never fails that when one of my sons needs to print out something for a big school project, the ink runs out.

I was telling my teenage son about Amazon’s anticipatory shipping this morning, and he said he’s going to start hovering his mouse over a computer that he wants and an Xbox One. I don’t think that’s the way it will work (especially since he doesn’t have his own Amazon account), but hey, it can’t hurt to try.

What would you want Amazon to anticipate you are going to need on a moment’s notice? Or, would you rather Amazon not mine your information so closely?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Amazon's new 'Anticipatory Shipping' knows what you'll buy before you do
Amazon may know you so well that it may have your purchases at your door before you even order them.