Amazon installed a slew of metal lockers outside a 2019 Fresno, California, gas station convenience store so customers who didn’t want packages delivered directly to their homes could pick them up. The gleaming lockers were linked by a computerized screen and sported the e-commerce behemoth’s ubiquitous smile logo.

According to a Fresno city council member’s complaint last November, the issue was that they were installed along the side of the building, out of sight of security cameras. It wasn’t difficult to guess what happened next: someone tried to break into the lockers.

The attempted break-in should have been a wake-up call for Amazon, according to councilmember Miguel Arias, because the unmonitored location was bound to attract criminals. After all, the lockers could hold thousands of dollars in merchandise, making them far more appealing than the cheap bags of ice typically found in vending machines in front of the pumps.

Fresno is not alone in its dissatisfaction with Amazon lockers, which the company is installing across the country to deter thieves looking for its easy-to-recognize packages on neighborhood stoops. When a set of Amazon lockers were installed directly onto a walkway in a city park, partially obstructing a path and adding corporate branding to leafy municipal amenities, Chicago residents were perplexed. Photos of the lockers were widely shared on social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. Businesses have also changed their minds after agreeing to host the lockers.

The Chicago conflict reflects broader opposition to corporate encroachment on public property. Subway stations and high school sports stadiums now have corporate names. The National Park Service has even considered naming benches and interior spaces after corporate donors. Transit agencies plaster advertisements on buses and train stations.

An Amazon smile in a Chicago park may appear to some as a minor, if obtrusive, strand in the web of corporate messaging already in the public eye. Activists and civic planners are still debating whether parks should be added to the list of corporate logo-filled locations. According to Jennifer Minner, a professor of city and regional planning at Cornell University, park space is intended to serve everyone, not just Amazon customers.

Most locker placements are uncontroversial, and lockers at bus stops and 7-Elevens are rarely a source of consternation. Nonetheless, an inconveniently located locker contributes to Amazon’s larger image problem in managing local relations. With predatory low pricing, the company has been blamed for driving Main Street booksellers and local retailers out of business. Community activists have also expressed concerns about working conditions for Amazon’s subcontracted delivery drivers and at its warehouses, which are sometimes located in the defunct malls it is blamed for closing.

Amazon launched its lockers in Seattle, New York, and the Washington, DC, area ten years ago. Since then, the lockers have been included in Amazon Hub, which includes Whole Foods locations where Amazon customers can pick up their packages at the counter. Amazon stated in 2019 that it had installed lockers in over 900 cities and towns across the United States.

Some high-rise apartments also have lockers installed so that tenants do not have to wait at home for deliveries or rely on an apartment manager to deliver their packages. Amazon Locker Plus locations provide self-service kiosks as well as assistance from an Amazon attendant. UPS’s Access Point Program also includes delivery lockers, and some third-party companies provide lockers that accept packages from multiple carriers. Walmart installed parcel lockers in its stores, but has recently begun to phase them out.

Amazon promotes the locker installations as a way to combat porch piracy, another issue it helped to create. The lockers also generate revenue for the public agencies and businesses that house them, though the rent Amazon pays in many cases is not disclosed. Amazon, for example, collaborated with the transportation authority in Jacksonville, Florida, to install lockers at bus terminals and transportation hubs. A request for comment was not returned by the agency.

Nonetheless, Amazon locker placement hasn’t always gone as planned. In 2013, Staples and RadioShack terminated their contracts with the company, removing a service that had invited a competitor into their stores. Because the campus bookstore had the exclusive right to serve as a bookseller at the college, a set of lockers at Sacramento State University in California was removed two months after it was installed in 2014.