The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Amazon has signed deals with some of the nation’s largest apartment building owners and managers to take over the running of their package rooms, giving the retailer direct access to more than 850,000 apartment units across the country.

Amazon has begun installing locker systems in thousands of apartment buildings, the story says, and in many cases expects to have them up and running by the beginning of the end-of-year holiday shopping season. In many cases, Amazon is said to be undercutting other companies offering similar services by offering its lockers for half the price; the Amazon lockers will accept all deliveries, not just those from Amazon.

According to the story, “For several years, landlords have struggled with how to manage the mountains of packages they receive each day. Staff at larger buildings end up devoting several hours a day sorting mail, while boxes are piled in every spare cranny. Most say it is the single largest problem they face.

“Amazon’s move, if successful, is likely to shift how the biggest apartment operators deal with packages toward a fully automated system that residents will be able to access 24 hours a day.”

KC's View: At this point, Amazon just ought to buy the whole damned US Postal Service and be done with it. Its domination of the e-commerce ecosystem is remarkable … and maybe just a little scary.