For those who find Amazon’s treatment of employees degrading or take issue with it being such an behemoth, where do you go online for CDs, DVDs, books?
eBay is one alternative.
A local company, takealot.com . They grok the local market much better than foreign companies, and they do delivery via the local food delivery network too, so I can get my new laptop delivered along with my Thai food…
For music, Discogs is sometimes (not always) a good bet.
Somewhat off-topic, but I work for Amazon and the New Yorker article was not accurate. Of all the software companies that I have worked for, Amazon has been by far the most reasonable.
The company probably has somewhere around 200,000 employees spread across the planet, split among thousands of different projects, so I would expect that there’s a few teams where everything has gone to hell and insanity is the norm, but the average for Amazon is less insane and hellish than the average for most software companies.
If I limited my choice of retailer due to dodgy practices that may or may not be going on behind closed doors, I would be destitute.
I like to handle books, so I don’t buy them on line; I cruise hard copy remainder tables. Other stuff I buy at a variety of sites, including manufacturer / authorized distributor sites. I don’t have a favorite.
Or much better off; there would be significantly fewer places to shop and things to buy.
That’s a good point.
Barnes and Noble
For online books and dvds, etc. in the UK there’s Hive. You can collect your order from affiliated local bookshops if it’s more convenient (and that option’s post-free and the shop gets a small percentage, too)
I won’t shop there anymore because they use, more or less, a bait and switch policy and it pisses me off. Check the price online, go to the store and it’ll be considerably higher.
About two years ago I found a book I wanted online (at B&N), it was something like $15. Got to the store and it was $22. I asked if they could match the online price and they refused, but they told me I could order online and have it shipped there for $15. Since it was like $12 from Amazon, I’ll just do that.
When I got home, I went to complain on Facebook and I saw that plenty of other people were saying the other thing and just got a canned response. I added my complaint to the list and ended it with “and please don’t just give me a canned response, if that’s all you have just ignore the comment”.
It’s funny, I only had to look back a day or so to see this on their facebook page:
followed by the canned response
My suggestions to them are: Let me order it online (from a kiosk), give me the book in my hand and keep the one that comes in, because this is just stupid, you lost a customer. Better yet, match the price. Even better, at least have the nerve to tell me what the in store price is (which I think they do now). What bothered me the most is that I wasted a trip all the way there. If I knew ahead of time how much more it was in the store I wouldn’t have driven there to begin with, I would have just bought it Amazon because it’s cheaper, but since the online Amazon and the online B&N price were close, I probably would have bought it at B&N so I could have it today, but fuck’em for tricking me. Won’t go there anymore, assholes.
The other thing they could do is at least match prices for people who ask (don’t worry plenty of people won’t ask) and/or offer in store only promos to keep people coming into the stores. But considering that they have a canned response for this, hopefully they’ll figure out something, soon. Nearly every person says exactly the same thing “you didn’t match the price, if I have to order online, it’s even cheaper at Amazon”
PS, same policy at Petsmart.
I haven’t used it myself and it costs an annual fee like Costco and such but I am hearing okay things about jet.com
If I check the price online and like it, I buy the book online. It’s a waste of time to go to the store. I occasionally go to the store and buy books there if I like the price and want the book immediately. I pay once a year for a Barnes and Noble membership. I buy enough books there that the discount makes up for the membership cost. The cost of the books I buy each year is a small part of my income. I limit my purchases so that it stays a small part of my income. As long as I can find somewhere the books I want, I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time trying to reduce the cost of those books by some relatively small amount.
There’s Deep Discount for CD’s and movies. But I advise caution. They’ve screwed up some of my orders and never straightened things out.
Barnes and Noble does have what appears to be a schizophrenic structure. There’s apparently at least three separate entities you might encounter and each have their own pricing policies that are independent of the others. You’ve encountered the online system and the main store system. But there is also the college system. Barnes and Nobles have franchises through a number of colleges; they’re textbook stores at heart but they often expand out to also provide all the products you’d see in a regular Barnes and Nobles. So you can be shopping at one of these stores and not realize you’re in a college bookstore. But these stores are considered to be separate from their regular book store chain and they are not obligated to match sale prices or accept coupons from the regular stores (although they sometimes will do so).
I’d say about half the books on my Kindle have come from The Gutenberg Project.
I’ve spoken to folks who were interviewed for the NYT article and gave either positive reviews of working for Amazon or mixed. The positive remarks were ignored and the negative used. I don’t doubt that the quotes and anecdotes in the story were real, but it looks very much like the reporters decided what article they wanted to write and then went cherry-picking for data points to support it.
I can’t imagine life without amazon! It isn’t unusual for me to have at least 3 packages a week delivered (for free and in two days BTW). It doesn’t surprise me that in an org as big as amazon that something has gone off the tracks in terms of employee treatment, but I don’t think it is an issue affecting the entire company’s culture. I’m betting that amazon figures out when, how, and where that system broke and fixes it. My guess is there is local managers that are sweating bullets right now.
On behalf of myself and the shipping center I work in — thanks! And don’t get yourself believing its all that broken. Most of the horror stories are just that; stories. It isn’t easy work but nowhere in the process were we ever told it would be. But if you do work hard it can be a lot of fun and there are chances to move ahead if you want them. All in all its better than 95% or more of the gigs out there at that pay level. So keep buying and we’ll keep it coming in two days or sometimes less.
(I left and went back out of choice – so that says something. About the work or about me is for you to decide. )