Why is Amazon Bad?

I know a lot of y’all aren’t fans of Amazon. Curious as to why? Most of the things I’ve seen them called out for, they’re on par or better than other megacorps in the relevant sector (tech/logistics/warehousing/online retail), and just seems they’re more visible.

Just because someone else also does something bad, doesn’t make you not bad. I feel like that’s a… pretty basic concept? I don’t think the idea is “amazon is bad! Spend all your money at Walmart!”

2 Likes

Yeah, familiar with whataboutism.

Here are my impressions, to be taken with a grain of salt because I don’t have resources/citations:

  • Kind of like the internet version of “make prices super low, drive the competition out” badness. Great for consumers in the short term, with the potential for being bad for both consumers and competition in the long run.
  • Related, kind of becomes a monopoly.
  • Retailers feel forced to sell there but usually have their profit margins hugely cut into.
  • Working conditions, especially for warehouse workers, generally shit. Even people I’ve known working in the “cushy” parts of Amazon have had to deal with harassment (especially sexual if female) and psychological abuse.
  • They could afford to give their blue collar workers better pay and benefits and just don’t
  • Bezos has so much money and could do so many good things and just doesn’t, despite that he will probably never be able to spend all his money in such a way that it will make any more positive impact on his quality of life.

But their customer service is amazing.

10 Likes

I have had multiple family members work for Amazon. Regardless of my feelings about Bezos or how Amazon impacts other businesses, I don’t support the company because it treated my family like shit.

6 Likes

Willing to elaborate slightly? Totally understand if not.

1 Like

Nope. Google “Amazon treatment of workers” and I’m sure there’s enough overlap there and with my family’s experiences. They worked both warehouse and call center.

5 Likes

I can speak to this as an amazon retailer. I barely make back my COGS when I sell on amazon, but if my products aren’t on amazon, I don’t exist as a business.

I have to pay them to be listed as a book. I pay them warehousing fees that are 50% the cost of my product . I pay them a cut to have my products that I fulfill myself listed. They fuck over retailers.

This is the big one. Talk to anyone who has worked at an amazon warehouse and they will tell you this. It is very punishing work, they prey on the most vulnerable. If you quit, you can take “the offer” which literally pays you cash to never work there again.

9 Likes

Remember when everyone hated Walmart for working conditions of employees? Well amazon does all the same things as Walmart but amped up to 11

6 Likes

This is absolutely true. I have several contacts who recruit for warehouse jobs and they won’t work with amazon anymore because of how bad their placements were being treated. Which is impressive, because I’ve seen some shit go down in warehouse jobs and Amazon is bad even compared to that.

I’m a little different on my perspective of capitalism. Or at least I think I am and then I realize I’m thinking about an idealized version of capitalism where big companies can’t buy regulations in their favor. Also one where companies can’t just destroy the earth to improve profits.

So what I like is the idea that if you have a great idea and work hard, you get rewarded beyond what someone who didn’t have a great idea does. Maybe not super fair, but hey, it’s my idea!

What does that have to do with Amazon? Well, they’re taking people’s great ideas, crushing those people with lawyers, and reselling the idea as their own. That’s not the capitalism I can get behind. And it’s not a company practice I care to support.

I do buy from Amazon when I can’t find something elsewhere. I won’t cut off my own financial nose to spite my face. But it’s not a good place to support or work. Neither are most of the other places big enough to get noticed. But when you’re the biggest dog in the pack you get the most attention, and that’s where Amazon deserves to get called out more than any other.

Bezos… I don’t know much about him nor do i care to. I don’t care how rich someone is, that doesn’t bother me one way or the other unless they use it to hurt others. But he’s probably a dick, so eff him.

9 Likes

Right, another company I don’t support for the exact same reason.

6 Likes

The software jobs at least pay well but everyone I know who worked there was miserable. My cousin quit the day his relocation bonus vested.

7 Likes

If this speaks compellingly About their treatment of workers, workers at multiple amazon warehouses were protesting over their right to take UNPAID leave during covid. Not paid sick leave if they were exposed or quarantining, just to not lose their job and health insurance if they took UNPAID leave.

10 Likes

And amazon smeared and discredited the leader of the strikes (a warehouse worker who is also a refugee) because they could, to prevent giving people unpaid leave.

10 Likes

They, like many companies choose to be as terrible and as profitable as they can get away with. That’s an ugly look on any business, big or small. But when you are part of the oligarchy, I think there’s an element of noblesse oblige.

I also see them as starting to operate very much as a company store. My medical charting software is heavily reliant on amazon. A company that I don’t trust. I was very active in blocking Walmart in old city. I laugh, because at the same time we were all opening the door to Amazon and Google.

But if you have no desire for the dullness of fact, try Patterson: the store.

Also, and this may make you feel better, after witnessing a lot of Bezos bashing after he got an obscene landmark of financial success… I contemplated and talked, and briefly searched. And I decided, I am completely sure Amazon is evil. I am uncertain whether Bezos is evil. I do not think that owning x dollars makes a person inherently evil. I do believe that having x dollars gives an obligation to society/the world/the poor. But I’m uncertain that merely failing to fulfill those obligations renders a person evil.

10 Likes

Suggestions for (US) alternatives? (I know it highly depends on the type of item.)

I’ve gotten very easily sucked in because it’s an almost one-stop shop for so many items, and fast/free shipping.

Yea, I have the same feeling about extreme wealth, but I think the key element here is that 125,000 people work at amazon warehouse centers in North America and most of these workers are building the business in the midst of the pandemic At high risk to themselves in punishing environments that is making Jeff Besos Richer than he was at the start of the pandemic. They have not given those people a bonus for this work. They ended hazard pay. Besos could give every amazon warehouse worker and Whole Foods employee $105,000 and still be as rich as he was before the pandemic

. People that were high risk had to quit because they didn’t have enough unpaid leave.

9 Likes

Yeah… Those are part of the reason I’m completely sure that Amazon is evil. Not completely sure Bezos is evil. I’m not defending him. I think he’s PROBABLY evil. I just separate him and his company into two buckets and I’m too lazy and disinterested to research enough to be sure he personally is evil according to me.

5 Likes

There is a thread here called “Not Today, Amazon”

10 Likes

Oh, true, forgot about that one.

2 Likes