Read This Before You Add to Cart

One-click shopping, One-day shipping, One human crisis

We’re just 2 weeks from Christmas, less than two from Hannukah and of course, Kwanza on the 26th! AKA it’s time to stop procrastinating on buying your gifts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Jingle All the Way”

When in such a predicament, what is more relieving than having online shopping with “2-Day shipping” at your fingertips, giving you at least another week to put it off. Now in “peak” season for Amazon Prime, 1-DAY SHIPPING is now available for our dire, last-minute gifting emergencies.

What a wonderfully advanced, luxury of our modern world. We’ve really mastered efficiency for when it matters. But have you ever wondered exactly HOW these products appear at our doorstep, as fast or faster than humanly possible? How did that pressure cooker actually come to me from the computer screen, in one night?

The new standard of ridiculously cheap, convenient and immediate satisfaction of our consumer needs has not come without a cost.

That cost is paid by the people that work to fill that order, global resources required to materialize the product’s delivery to homes and ultimately by YOU, who will live with the repercussions, for better and worse.

I’m here to assert that the benefits of cheap and fast shipping are not worth its price of fulfillment or detriment to our world.

Our case study today, will focus on the pinnacle proprietor of this practice; the largest online retailer in the world, largest company by market value in the world, owned by the richest man in the world…

AMAZON.

There are some things you may not know about this company and how harmful they really are to EVERYONE, as the purveyors of this new consumer culture. Hopefully, this knowledge will help you be as responsible and conscious as possible while shopping this holiday and onward.

It Hurts People (You)

The magic of Amazon all begins in their factories, AKA “fulfillment centers” (creepy name right). According to Amazon, they have 175 factories in the world and 75 in the U.S. These frenetic factories are where items are processed, packaged and shipped to their final destination.

In the U.S., what happens inside these workplaces is not so magical.

Amazon boasts a workplace injury rate of DOUBLE the industry average, 15-25 injuries per 100 people vs. the average of 9/100. 1/3 are serious injuries requiring workers to miss at least one month before returning. A study showed that ambulances have been called to fulfillment centers 600 times over the last 3 years.

Why so many boo boo’s? Well if you ask Amazon, they say it’s because they record their injuries SO WELL. Good Lord. But I have some info that says otherwise.

Amazon factory workers are held to a breakneck standard to make 1-2 day shipping possible. They must process one package every 11 seconds to meet their quota or risk termination, firing through repetitive motions for 12 hour shifts.

And they really need to meet this quota…

Parker Knight, a disabled veteran hired by Amazon had a quota of 385 small packages/hour. When Parker only completed a mere 98.45% of all of his packages, it was grounds for his 3rd write-up.

BATHROOM BREAKS are registered as “time off-task,” which penalizes you, making some bring their packages to the restroom with them. An Amazon employee noted that he and several others commonly contracted Urinary Tract Infections. (img. via The Atlantic)

Amazon dictates efficiency above all. They encourage employees to aim for 1,000,000 units a DAY. They even give out these condescending T-Shirts.

With the holiday season Amazon hired 200K new workers to meet demand, many seasonal and unaccustomed to the job requirements are at risk of injury.

But what about the robots?

In an attempt to paper over unsightly optics, Amazon brandishes it’s dedication to modernization by incorporating automated machines to process products and lower the amount of human labor. If only it were that easy.

Factories that incorporate automation actually have MORE injuries than those that don’t. After a factory in Tracy, CA debuted its introduction of the machines in 2018, its injury rate quadrupled from 2.9 per 100, to 11.3. One factory in Oregon has a rate of 26 injured per 100, SIX TIMES the national average.

Unfortunately, it gets worse…

September 24, 2017, Phillip Lee Terry was crushed by a 1,200 lb. forklift in an Amazon warehouse. His body laid there for 2 hours before an employee noticed the pool of blood. The manager reported that Terry was not properly trained before using the machinery.

At least 13 people have died at Amazon factories since 2013, landing them a spot on Futurisms’, “Most Dangerous Employers List.” The most common response from managers following a death, is instructing the employees to “get back to work.”

Huffington Post

Even outside of Amazon, similarly operating factories like XPO Logistics, reportedly do not give time off for pregnancy. When Tasha Murell got pregnant and could not afford to leave work without pay, she was told by her manager to “get an abortion.”

In her factory, she saw multiple co-workers endure miscarriages.

I repeat, her manager told her to “get an abortion.”

A blistering pace, hasty training and secondary safety priority in the name of customer satisfaction results in devastating consequences.

It Hurts the Environment (You)

Alright I’ll make this quick because I know nobody gives a fuck about the environment. Yada yada yada, its bad, it kills the forest but what doesn’t these days am I right?

I. Amazon derives over half of its power (55%) for its data centers from COAL. Coal is bad.

II. Most of the stuff you buy or don’t buy from Amazon, will end up in a landfill.

  • 3,000,000 products were thrown out by Amazon alone last year.
  • 293,000 new products were dumped in a single load.
  • Amazon offers “free returns,” then sends a majority to landfill.

III. 165 BILLION packages were sent altogether, in the U.S. last year. Equate 165 Billion boxes to trees consumed, if you don’t mind.

  • Most Amazon packages require cardboard, tape and non-recyclable packing material (foam, bubble wrap)
  • Amazon deliveries through Whole Foods are lined with non-recyclable liners.

Photo by: John Sullivan

IV. Amazon’s carbon footprint is 44.4 Million metric TONS. T-T-TONS. Not pounds. 2,000’s of pounds, times 44,400,000. That’s a looootttttt of CO2.

  • Deliveries require vans, trucks, boats and planes, consuming oil and emitting C02.
  • Although online deliveries theoretically “COULD” offset emissions from in store purchases, but the sheer demand and increase of one-time use, individual purchases (razors, soap bottles) offsets any benefit.

Amazon doesn’t care about YOU

They really don’t.

They don’t care about the quality of the products you are receiving.

Amazon is currently flooded with counterfeit products.

via Buzzfeed

An investigation purchased 47 products from online retailers Amazon and WalMart, 20 of them were counterfeit.

These counterfeit products have been tested to contain unknown materials, including cyanide and rat poop.

But you’re savvy though? You know the difference between a real product and a fake one right? Well this article shows how a Chinese company hijacks the original posting from a certified retailer and substitutes their own counterfeit product and steals the income.

Amazon claims to have a “zero-tolerance policy” on counterfeiting but in reality they DON”T GIVE A FUDGE. It makes them money either way.

Graph by: Business Insider Intelligence (2016)

They frankly don’t have control over third-party counterfeiters and they don’t care.

They also RIP-OFF our Government

In the 2017 bidding war for Amazon’s second HQ, which was basically a giant game of “The Bachelor: Billionaire Conglomerate Edition,” Amazon went searching for the highest bidder. Promising job creation and revenue to the state, desperate governments really slutted themselves out for that one.

  • Virginia offered $550 Million in cash, plus a helipad
  • Atlanta offered to build a new airport lounge with free parking for Executives
  • Montgomery County, Maryland offered $6.5 BILLION in tax incentives

And those were just the sluttiest ones. I’m never one to slut shame, unless you’re a greedy, self- interested politician.

Amazon eventually split their HQ between NEW YORK and D.C. So you mean to tell me that Amazon paraded themselves around small market towns and states, dangling economic stimulus and new job opportunities, only to settle in NEW YORK CITY and the Nation’s Capital? OK BEZOS.

What about Amazon Smile?

Amazon Smile allows you to donate .05% of every purchase to a charity of your choice, nice right? My answer is, I guess…? If you spend $1000, your charity gets $5 and Amazon gets $995… ok.

via The Atlantic

That is if you remember to log in to Amazon Smile, which is a separate URL that you need to go through for your purchase to be counted. They also conveniently don’t offer an Amazon Smile app, even though about 40% of transactions happen on a phone or tablet.

Atop that, research suggests that the minor effortless acts of charity otherwise known as “slacktivism” actually DECREASE charitable behavior overall.

After giving even a small amount, we feel like we have done our part and are less likely to donate again.

When you have your charity registered with Amazon, you proudly display their smile on your webpage. Amazon Smile sounds a lot more like cheap advertising, allowing them to imprint their logo in your mind, next to your favorite charitable organization.

Isn’t the Government doing something about all of this?

You know all those atrocious injuries, human rights violations and deaths that occured in Amazon facilities? Not only does Amazon do nothing about it, they deny and fight against any incrimination.

Amazon fights hard to keep its injury data secure, under U.S. law an employer must release injury records to a former employee. When asked to do so, Amazon has provided reports with illegally redacted lines and incomplete information.

The Obama Administration pushed hard to make workplace injury records available publicly online, The Trump Administration reversed it.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, has investigated Amazon a number of times.

John Stallone, the Director of Enforcement at OSHA present at the factory, recorded his boss Julie Alexander, on the phone with Terry’s manager at Amazon.

  1. She explicitly told him to shift the blame to worker misconduct.
  2. She taught him how to negotiate fines by grouping citations together for lower fees.
  3. She told Stallone, “I hope you don’t take it personally if we have to manipulate your citations.

After Phillip Lee Terry died, Amazon received several fines and citations. A year later, OSHA overturned them all and cited it as employee misconduct, blaming him for his own death.

What to do?

Look, I know everyone buys from Amazon, I’m not trying to shame you. I know what it’s like when it’s December 23 and you still don’t have a gift for your Dad. I’m not trying to tell you what to do.

I’m not asking you to boycott Amazon either. I bought from Amazon before my birthday camping trip in July!

They were terrible. The lights broke in a month.

This is our culture. Our culture has an expectation of a fast, cheap and convenient consumer experience.

I want to get you to at least question the practices we have that have become second nature. And to realize that this expectation doesn’t have to be a dependency.

We want to buy stuff, without working hard and ASAP. Do you really need your toy to come in 24 hours? Is it imperative that you save $2 by buying from Amazon rather than direct from the original retailer?

Consider other options, sometimes we forget that there are any!

Buy local

Go to the stores in your neighborhood, gifts shops, mom and pop shops, even small chains. Get creative, think about what is available to you that doesn’t need to be shipped from China.

Do you not care at all about Roger and Sue?!

Give experiences > material goods

Gift something more valuable than anything money could ever buy, YOURSELF! Tickets to a concert, movie or sporting event are great presents that gives you both quality time and no landfill waste.

Avoid Amazon and the like at ALL COSTS

Avoid huge entities like Amazon and Wal-Mart at every opportunity! Check if there are other sellers of the product you want. Take a second to question if you can spare a few more days on shipping.

Jeff Bezos is a Prime douche and doesn’t need any more of your money!

Amazon is pretty much trying to take over the world and we are helping them expedite the shipping! They have their hands in EVERYTHING….

The groceries we buy, the TV we watch, the clothes we wear and basically everything we own. They’re even about to start their own branch of HEALTHCARE

I wish I was making this up

They already took over the 2 Million sq. mi. largest RAINFOREST in the world, what can stop them?

When you hear Amazon, how often does this come to mind?

WE CAN STOP THEM. They have all the power because of MONEYYYYYYYY. And who gives them this money?? Well governments and corporations but it all starts with YOU. We are the consumers, we pay them to keep the lights on, we decide who gets our money.

When we decide where to spend our dollars, we state our values. We vote with our wallets for what we want to support. By choosing high efficiency and low sustainability services, we benefit marginally in the short term but hurt everyone in the long term, which includes YOU. I want you to decide for yourself if the price we pay as a society is worth the price in your cart.

P.S. Thanks for reading. I’m really not trying to shame you from my soap box, just highlight some things that go unnoticed so that you can make the best decision for yourself. If you already bought your gifts from Amazon this year, don’t feel guilty, Jeff Bezos really needed another helicopter 😉

I appreciate your attention! Follow plz and SHARE the message with the WORRLLDLLDDDDD.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

1 Comment

  1. Very informative, interesting, a good read. Myself, I will think ONCE before I use Amazon again! Even tho it is extremely convenient! Thank you, Nick, for opening my eyes 💕❤️

Leave a Reply