Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shop Online or My Mom Will Starve!

Like many people, I talk a good game. I say things like "I would never support a company that treats its customers and employees like adversaries!" Or "I don't want an iPad or iPhone or iPod because of how poorly the people who build them off shore are treated!"

And I really mean it. I still haven't purchased an i-anything. My cell phone is practically 5 years old. I mean, I tell myself I do an okay job...

But then I need, NEED, to get my hands on a book or a game or whatever and I find myself right there at the ol' web browser, clicking away at Amazon.

We've all heard the stories of how Amazon treats its employees. Oh, wait. No, not "their" employees. They hire staffing firms that in turn hire workers and treat them like cattle. So they're not really employees... Just like Apple (and many others), it's not _their_ fault if the people they pay to provide labor are tyrants.

Anyway, we've read the stories. We've seen the news reports. But it's other people. It's not like I'm actually hurting someone myself, someone I know.

Except... My 60+ year old mother works at an Amazon warehouse. It really is as bad there as the articles say. It's degrading, but she needs the money as she cannot afford to retire, even with the little help I can give her.

So I'm torn. Amazon could fix this problem incredibly easily. But they say that people don't want the problem fixed because then they might have to pay more for their stuff. And we hear that from Apple/etc. too. If they have to raise prices, they won't need as many contract warehouse workers. Maybe my mom would lose her job!

The thing about Amazon, though, is that it treats me, the customer, so well. "Would you like free shipping with that? Oh, we just happen to be having a sale on something you want. Here! It's practically free!" They love me. They really love me.

So it's hard to turn my back on them. It's hard to abandon my wishlist and give up the virtual shopping cart.

I don't have a solution. I don't know the answer. I think maybe just closing loopholes would help.

1 comment:

  1. We don't have TV and I rarely have time to read the news so I hadn't heard about this story. I think it's what happens when society as a whole focuses on things and money the way we do. It is tough that there is no real fix. I think that's why so many folks are trying to simplify their lives. It gives them some sense of control.