Megan Neitzel couldn’t figure out why an expensive dollhouse and 4 pounds of sugar cookies were delivered to her Dallas home. She didn’t order either. Neither had her husband.
It was either a late Christmas present or an unfunny prank.
Then she talked to her 6-year-old daughter, Brooke.
“The next morning, I asked my daughter and she said, ‘I was talking to Alexa about a dollhouse and cookies,'” Neitzel told television station KTVT in Dallas.
Alexa is not a sister or imaginary friend, but the voice-activated digital assistant in Amazon’s Echo Dot.
Brooke asked Alexa to “order me a dollhouse and cookies,” and that’s just what Alexa did. A KidKraft Sparkle Mansion dollhouse and a tin of Royal Dansk sugar cookies soon arrived.
The dollhouse is listed for about $150 on Amazon Thursday; KTVT reported the item cost the family nearly $170.
A check of Neitzel’s Amazon app confirmed the order was made after Brooke asked the digital gadget, “Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?”
Brooke then told the app, “Alexa, I love you!”
These voice-activated digital assistants really do make life easier. Maybe a little too easy.
So Neitzel made some changes. Now if anyone in the family tries to order something through Alexa, a four-digit code is required for purchases. She and her husband also have established rules on how their kids should interact with Alexa.
And Brooke won’t get to keep the dollhouse.
“It’s Christmastime. Let’s give it to someone who needs it,” Neitzel said. “(Brooke) agreed and we are narrowing down the choices of who she would like to give it to.”
The family’s already eaten several of the cookies, so at least Brooke gets to keep those.
Amazon says shopping settings can be managed via its Alexa app, including turning off voice purchasing and creating a confirmation code before any order. The company also says any accidental physical orders can be returned for free.