That NYT article seemed to focus on the treatment of white-collar workers at Amazon.
Never mind the white-collar workers. Mother Jones has done a series of articles on their treatment of the warehouse workers, painting it to be the worst kind of sweat-shop conditions. These articles point out that these workers are actually supplied by a third-party contracting company that also provides labor for other major on-line warehouses, and Amazon pretends to disavow any responsibility for the working conditions there.
Here’s one article, which also contains links to some of the others: I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave. These articles read like something straight out of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.
ETA: I’m not even sure if that article specifically says the worked at Amazon, at least not on the first page. It seems to be written in terms of that third-party contracting company. But I think she worked for Amazon. Here is another article by the same author, that seems more Amazon-specific:
Pity the Elf Slaves of Online Shipping. Sub-title: “Every time you click “Place Order,” a warehouse worker weeps.”
My question was partially biased on recent and past criticisms of Amazon’s treatment of employees but also on finding different companies that I might like to deal with. I do worry about only buying from one company and then that company has no competition or it forces other companies out of business. I try to do a part in making sure a free market is an open market with choices for the consumer. One example would be, I used to buy my music and books from other places then I tried a company I never heard of called Amazon. They have given me good service but I’m keeping my options open.
Amazon’s still my first choice, as the website allows me to pay for a credit card and its mix of English and Chinese is fairly useable for me. I have no idea how the Chinese staff are treated. Sometimes I’ll order from the US site if it’s something that the indicate that they’ll ship to China (Chinese Amazon has a much smaller selection of goods, especially for technology, cycling, and cooking). For international, they even take care of all of the customs brokering, which is a very, very nice thing for a foreigner to have done for him.
And then Taobao gets a lot of my business, too. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt and I have to use my Chinese bank card, and Chrome will translate most things for me.
I never buy clothing, though. I’m 6’2”/188cm, and sizes are a mix between every country on the planet and so I never know what I’ll really ever get.
I have ordered from The Book Depository before, and had no complaints about my experience.
Second Book Depository. They usually have the lowest (overall) price. I try to avoid Amazon these days because their shipping costs have gone through the roof since I first bought from them in about 1997.
I do like to browse in normal bookstores, though, because I often happen upon an interesting looking book which I doubt I’d find online.
Two things occur to me:
- The writer acknowledges that some employees do, in fact, routinely meet or exceed their production quotas. So what’s wrong with saying that those who don’t maybe just aren’t cut out for it? Not everybody can do every job.
- The quotas are tied to a higher-than-minimum fixed hourly wage. Why doesn’t the company pay a piece rate instead? Don’t pay managers to monitor and badger people–just pay them for what they produce, low or high. Give people an incentive to bust ass when they’re feeling good, and cut some slack, and their pay, when they’re not.
You do know that the Book Depository is now owned by Amazon…?
This is why I like real bookstores and wandering the stacks in libraries. I find the most interesting things that way.
I’ve been getting my blu ray movies at Best Buy. Either I buy them there or I just borrow from the library. As a side note, I worked temp Amazon jobs three times (Christmas periods) in the past. I would not say the culture there was demoralizing. The work there was tough but not impossible.
The summaries of those Amazon policies don’t sound unreasonable. It’s a company trying to get the maximum efficiency possible. It even straight up says, they care about what each employee produces. It shouldn’t be up to the employer to subsidize childbirth, employers should pay fair wages proportional to the productivity of each employee. (and that *does *mean paying women fairly if they are producing as much as the men, and paying the line workers a fair share instead of nickel and diming them and giving the ceo millions, many common capitalist practices are bad. However, your value should be fair…no special considerations.)