At What Price?

A little while ago I ordered something from Jeff Bezos, and was astonished to see that a “next day” delivery option was available;  this, mind you, for what I would consider a non-emergency item.  (On checking, it was for this TV series.)

Given how much work this entails for the actual workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center, it seemed a bit much.  So I’m not surprised whenever I see Amazon’s employees kicking back at the working conditions there, with timed (or no) bathroom breaks, performance metrics that would make an 18th-century textile company boss blush, and pay which quite frankly makes even a committed capitalist like myself feel embarrassed.

Small wonder that Bezos has fought tooth and nail against the unionization of his workforce.  And yet, even I, as (once again) a committed capitalist, can see that it’s precisely these kind of working conditions that caused the formation of workers’ unions in the first place.

And then the unions go overboard like those in the U.K., and we all hates on them unions… with good reason.

Here’s my solution to the Amazon situation.  I have no problem with Bezos offering rapid delivery;  but such deliveries should incur something like a 25% surcharge — with said surcharge amount being added in toto  to the paycheck of the worker who actually filled the order (and yes:  Amazon can tell which worker filled which order).

That has as much likelihood of happening as Biden’s socialists lowering income taxes, of course, because someone has to pay for Jeff’s toys.

Do not take this for an uncharacteristic (for me) shot at wealthy people:  I have no problem with people building wealth and spending money.

But I do object to the ill-treatment of workers at the bottom of the pyramid, all in the name of “customer satisfaction”.


    1. Yup, Amazon prime yearly payment. And if you actually don’t need it next day, on a lot of stuff you can schedule a later delivery in return for electronic credits you can apply toward other items. So it’s a backwards system, instead of paying more for speedy delivery, you pay less if you choose slow delivery. And shopping Amazon, you’ll see that they push certain products over others, plus they charge slightly more for certain products over others, etc. and so forth. They’ll squeeze blood from a rock if they could.

  1. To be fair, an ever larger part of the fulfillment stream is highly automated in giant fulfilment centers strategically located across the US. There are numerous fascinating youtube videos showing the details of how this is done. The days of low paid “pickers” on lifts in Indiana Jones Style Warehouses are long gone. Robots that work 24/7 now do that. All those ” ill-treated” workers are being automated out of a job. Delivery drivers are next.

    1. Geez, I watched the Amazon promotional video about a fulfillment center. A friend of mine made components for the robots for a company and then Amazon bought the robotics company. I am amazed at how many jobs are related to the operation of the robots, integrated with software and all the necessary mechanical bits to make it happen. Yes, there are still many mundane tasks associated with sales on that level, but there are a lot of high value jobs behind that to make it happen.

      1. Yes, Take a look at the box and packaging the next time you get something from AtoZ. Is it in a standard sized box, bigger than actually needed with couple of plastic inflated pillows in it? Chances are the first time that package and the contents was touched by a human was when the delivery driver took it the last 100 feet to your door. Everything else was done by a machine.

        Somebody needed to write the software and build the machines that do all of that, and repair them when the break, – thoose are the well paid jobs of the immediate future. ( Untill AI learns how to invent stuff and solve problems with creative change. )

        But thoose will be my great- grandchilden’s problems.

  2. I’ve read elsewhere that Amazon is having difficulty hiring sufficient employees because they impose requirements that are impossible to keep long term and keep having to fire employees for not meeting those requirements.

    1. The elsewhere that you read: not perhaps by chance related to that Jan 6 “witness” whose testimony consisted purely of hearsay coming from ax-grinders. America’s at full employment. Nobody has to work at Amazon or anywhere else unless they choose to. And many do.

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