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Old 03-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #46
Kali Yuga
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How many people choose to buy regular chocolate... most of what we are buying is made in places with have much worse practices then Amazon.
Amazon is notorious for harsh (but safe) work practices. Their warehouses in the US have the exact same complaints -- high pressure environment, lots of temp workers, lots of people only picked up for the holiday season.

But here's the thing. Are you sure that the way you want to react to bad labor practices is to shrug it off? Maybe it's better to buy fair trade coffee, and spend a little more for a product that you know has fairer labor practices and a better environmental record.

And to be clear, I don't think this makes Amazon the Evil Empire. It's that next time you are outraged -- outraged, I say! -- over a book that costs $2 more at a brick & mortar bookstore than buying it online, remember that someone else is paying the difference. In this case, it's the staff at the warehouse.

That is, until they automate the whole thing. Then you don't have to care anymore.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:05 PM   #47
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That is, until they automate the whole thing. Then you don't have to care anymore.
... and then all those people with the crappy warehouse jobs? Back to the unemployment line. Which is worse?
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:33 PM   #48
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Whole books are written on it. Kids are handed off to plantations and factories to work off their parents debts. The best way to avoid supporting this practice is to buy food with the fair trade label. I have read that organic chocolate is normally produced on slave free farms. Heck, CNN did a year long series on slavery across the globe. It is not the slavery we think of from history, although that does exist, but it is just as bad in terms of depriving individuals, mainly kids, of a chance at a free life.

I am not outraged by prices at brick and mortar stores, when I bought paper books, i bought them at Independent stores, Borders, and BN. I never used Amazon. I started using Amazon for my ebooks. I don't shop at Walmart, I shop at Target because they treat their employees better. I try and buy American or European when I can afford it. I try and buy organic and fair trade when I have the option.

I am not outraged when I hear that Amazon, or any other company, uses temp workers to save money. I am not outraged when the employees are checked for stolen goods. I am not outraged that people are fired for small things. Outside of the fact that this is all common knowledge, the folks working there have a choice to work there or not. If they don't like it, they have a choice to find a different job. If they are struggling to find a job they are qualified for, I would guess that the UK has education options for them. They have choices.

The kid whose parents sends him to work rolling in the fields or plantation to pay off a debt or because they don't have the money to care for are the ones I will save my outrage for.

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Old 03-13-2013, 07:56 PM   #49
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These people should consider themselves lucky. They could be working for this company instead:
According to Wikipedia, Foxconn has 1.23 million employees, and mainland China, where most work, has a suicide rate of 223.2 per million population per year. That's quite high, and almost twice that in Taiwan, where Foxconn has its headquarters. But even at the Taiwan (or US, or Canada, or UK) suicide rate, there would be several Foxconn workers a week committing suicide. So I am mystified what I am to make of the one tragic suicide highlighted. While I am in favor of Apple using its outsized profits (and Amazon its normal profits) to improve Chinese working conditions, your link seemed overheated and didn't convince me of anything.

I'm convinced that export industry generally improves working conditions for people is developing countries. There are indeed two Chinas, and the China to cry about is not the one making our devices.

By contrast, I'm far from convinced that Amazon warehouses improve working condition in Europe or the US -- it looks like the opposite.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #50
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Amazon relies on a high tech toolkit but their business practices are those of a retailer.
Low prices aren't a tactic (and a temporary one) as many seem to believe but rather it is hardwired into the company's culture.

Contractors? Seasonal temp workers? Of course! Retailing is a seasonal business.

Amazon does not offer up juice bars or in-house gyms or masseuses as other tech companies do. They pay good but not deliriously great salaries.
But then, most successful retaillers are no different.

A lot of their jobs are mind-numbingly dull.
But then, they don't require a degree in neuroscience, either.

To paraphrase Lensman Kim Kinnison "Not everybody can be first violin in the orchestra; somebody has to blow wind through the trombone."

Everybody has a role to play but only the lucky ones have a choice. The rest of us make do.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:11 PM   #51
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People working crappy jobs. Ah, the humanity!
And they're zero skill/ zero brainpower required jobs to boot, obviously the workers deserve full medical/dental, $30 per hour and 3 weeks of paid vacation! /s

If they're that unhappy, then quit. If Amazon wasn't able to fill these jobs thanks to bad word of mouth then they would be forced to change their ways if they want employees. Nobody has a gun to their head to take/keep this job.

Today I learned that crappy, zero skill required jobs are crappy. Who knew?
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:24 PM   #52
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Today I learned that crappy, zero skill required jobs are crappy. Who knew?
It is quite the eye-opener.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #53
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If you want to feel, and be treated, like a human robot try being a machine operator in a factory. Depending on the machine you stand in one spot repeating the exact same motions, over and over again. I likened it to moving a ton of metal, one piece at a time. You're completely replaceable and management treats you as such.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:41 PM   #54
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Looking at lists of "best employers," the one I'm seeing, that comes closest to Amazon in its business model, is Overstock.com. A web site, and low price order fulfillment, seems all that company is, no?

See:

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13791980

The biggest complaint about Overstock, as an employer, seems to be pay. If you treat people well enough, you can pay them somewhat less.

Amazon warehouse workers seem mostly to be employees of Amazon contractors. Since the contractor is going to take a cut, Amazon's actual labor cost are plausibly higher than if people liked working for them.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:14 PM   #55
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The town used to have a coal mine. I don't understand how a dangerous, backbreaking job like that would be looked back on fondly. I, too, worked at a factory, put in 12 hour shifts making the white ends for the buttons on blenders. I used to have a paperback in my purse, and once I made rate, I would go to the bathroom and read a few pages. But, having a job sure beats the alternative.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:22 PM   #56
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Ironically, you can purchase this Financial Times story as an ebook on both the Amazon US and Amazon UK sites.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:48 AM   #57
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It's mainly contract-based work, so no pensions will ever be paid to those workers.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:49 AM   #58
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And they're zero skill/ zero brainpower required jobs to boot, obviously the workers deserve full medical/dental, $30 per hour and 3 weeks of paid vacation! /s
It would be illegal for Amazon to offer only 3 weeks paid holiday a year; everyone working full-time in the UK is entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid holiday. See:

https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitleme...ts/entitlement

Not sure what you mean by "medical/dental" - medical care is provided by the state in the UK.

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Old 03-14-2013, 04:13 AM   #59
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It's mainly contract-based work, so no pensions will ever be paid to those workers.
Not true. Under the 2012 Pension Reform Act, agency workers are entitled to a pension.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:43 AM   #60
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But, having a job sure beats the alternative.
I have mixed feelings on statements like that, since the "having a job" line is often used to justify a race to the bottom. People should be able to find work that offers a living wage and where the employer treats them as human.

That being said, I've also encountered many people who seem to want too much out of their work. A living wage is just that: you can afford to live. Likewise, being treated as human also means that you are behaving human. That includes things like earning respect from your employer by respecting your employer and exhibiting responsibility. In other words, you do your job efficiently rather than goofing off.
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