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Amazon soars to more than 341K employees, adding 110K people in a single year (geekwire.com)
506 points by prostoalex on Feb 3, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 395 comments

It's not simply an e-commerce giant, it's a logistics giant.

Hundreds of warehouses, hundreds of delivery stations, thousands of shipping containers, dozens of planes (plus an airport soon), a container ship is rumoured. That 341k number probably doesn't even count the independent contractors (both through Flex and through Amazon Logistics) handling deliveries.

The tens of thousands of software developers are there to (among other things) optimize the efficiency of those workers, make them achieve more with less effort via technology.

My contrarian opinion: Walmart is going to create some hard times for Amazon.

Walmart ackuired jet.com just 4 months ago. Jet.com, a startup, has managed to create a logistics network being able to do 1-day delivery to 50% of the population(or at least they claimed so), reached $1B in sales rapidly. Walmart has recently started to offer free 2-day delivery($35 minimum), which means that now, even for Prime memebers. shopping comparison is a reasonable option.

Furthermore, Walmart has curbside pickup for groceries, a very convinient service to get your groceries on the way from work, is seeing a lot of sucsess according to Walmart, with availibility in 500 stores, and planning to be in 600 more soon.

And Walmart definetly has got a huge logistics chain, maybe less in areas where Amazon is strong at, but they're probably better at the china/usa logistics part, that's why Amazon is doing some of those moves.

And Walmart does have enough capital to compete.

And once this impacts Amazon, will Amazon be able to keep it's very high stock price ? and how will this affect talent and growth ?

In short: finally , we're in for some very interesting times.

I think Walmart has a good shot at competing effectively, and I hope it does so, because Amazon having a monopoly on online retail is not in my long-term best interests.

That said, I don't think they have any sort of clear advantage, for two particular reasons:

First, from a technical perspective, they have some serious catching up to do before they can provide the same service level at the same scale. It is not clear from available information that they actually have the required technical competence as an organization.

Second, they have to deal with a reputation that's going to keep them out of many consideration sets: from my perspective, at least, Walmart merchandise is universally cheap crap whose low utility and/or high failure rate will end up costing me more in the long run. I don't trust them to quickly and painlessly make things right if an order is broken, disappointing, or missing. In contrast, Amazon has spent years building trust (on the assumption that the short-term cost of this quality of experience is a profitable investment in securing future business).

I have yet to encounter an adequate answer to "Why should I bother looking at walmart.com?", which I suspect is true for many others, and which I think is a serious threat to Walmart.

As a frequent Walmart customer, let me offer a different perspective.

Brick & mortar: my fastest route home every day has me driving past a rural Walmart, so even though the selection is not that great, they've become my default grocery store purely through convenience.

Cheap shit that doesn't have to last long: I just bought my 7 year-old three long sleeved shirts for $6 total. He'll wear them through the Spring and by Fall will have outgrown them anyway.

Convenience: when the store is on my way home anyway, and there's tons of easy parking, it's far easier to shop Walmart than go online to look for something.

As a result of this convenience we're now more likely to shop at Walmart.com instead of Amazon.com, I can order online and get free in-store pickup without paying shipping or having a Prime subscription.

> I can order online and get free in-store pickup

this will be a game changer for me. Big time. The day when I order online, check-in on my mobile app in the parking lot, pull up to the delivery dock, Johnny comes out with a box of my stuff and puts it in my trunk, and I drive off. That will be my nirvana.

I have mild social anxiety, but walmart, for some reason, amplifies it considerably. Grocery stores too. Partly because I dont do proper meal planning/shopping planning, but partly because it just feels so inefficient to wade around the store and just feeling...handicapped ? Like, I just want to get my things and go, but ther'es always something impeding me: forgetting items, people in the way, employees restocking shelves during busy hours, long lines, bottlenecks at the one exit, etc.

Drive-thru supermarkets/walmarts/amazon pickup is going to change the world.

> Drive-thru supermarkets/walmarts/amazon pickup is going to change the world.

you probably mean change the USA, in France for instance, drive-thru supermarkets exists since at least 5 years [1][2] They now even have some new 24/7 pick up locations, which is a big deal for France where there is no 24/7 stores. There, your food just waits for you in a refrigerated/freezer lock box [3].

I'm actually surprised this is not already a common thing in the USA, which invented drive-thru fast foods 70 years ago.

[1] https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=y&prev...

[2] https://drive.intermarche.com/Carte (look for the icons of a car with the trunk open)

[3] https://drive.intermarche.com/Content/images/prehome/pdv/dri...

Drive-thu pickup exists, but it's not widespread. Where I grew up in Ohio there's a chain that has had grocery loading since at least the 80s. You drive up, give them a number and they put the groceries in your trunk.

Oddly I recall drive through quick marts/etc and liquor/beer places all over Ohio. I wonder if there are just laws against it in certain states?

We use to have drive through convenience stores in Florida called the Farm Store. They were useful, but impractical for any big shopping. I just can't see someone trying to hand over a gallon of milk, 4kg, through a car window. Beer, cigarettes and junk food were their forté.

I don't know there's any laws, but if there were I'd think Oregon and New Jersey would require it since they already do that for pumping gasoline.

Wouldn't it be even more game changer if stuff was just delivered to you at your doorstep :). I'm not sure if other people have seen this but these days I'm able to buy tons of stuff from Amazon delivered within 24 hours for free. And guess who is delivering these? Its not UPS or FedEx. I often see normal people in normal cars doing it. Amazon is essentially trying to turn all these people with cars in to delivery service so you don't have to stop at store and checking with mobile app and wait for Jonny to come out with box of your stuff.

That would be wonderful. I guess for some reason I just assumed it would be a luxury. If groceries for one guy for 3 days cost $45 purchased in-store, I'd definitely be comfortable paying $5 more to have someone pick and bag it for me. But I wouldn't pay much more than $10 for doorstep delivery, even though grocery shopping is a stressful experience for me.

I live in the 'burbs and I drive every day anyway. To me, the pain isn't the driving (though for some urban areas I'm sure it is), it's just the hassle of parking and shopping in a crowded, inefficient store (wasting my time), and hauling all my stuff back to the car.

I think theres a deeper psychological issue at play here too: delivered to your door makes you passive, at the "mercy" or whim of the company/person making the delivery. There's a subconscious anxiety associated with waiting in anticipation. Whereas, going out and picking up makes you the active one. Sure the store could make you wait, but if they design their system properly, "ready for pickup" should mean just that. But "out for delivery" could me 5m or 3 hours from now.

In the UK most supermarket chains have delivery, with charges in the ~5 pound region ($6 or so), but most also have Prime like subscriptions. E.g. I pay about $110/year to get my shopping delivered from Ocado - this includes unlimited "free" deliveries of orders above $50. Since we take delivery once a week, it adds up to just a bit above $2/delivery.

Best part is the convenience: We've set it up to deliver once a week, and so every week the day after the previous delivery they create a new order and we can edit it in their app or on their website, and optionally you can set it to auto-populate your order based on your shopping history, and they get it "close enough" that often we don't bother even checking the order (this week, for example, I didn't) and we know we'll get something that's "close enough" that worst case we'll pick up the odd thing extra when we're out anyway sometime during the week.

They deliver within the same 1 hour slot every week (unless we change it; if we do, they will show us when they have a car in the area if we want to try to be more eco-friendly, but won't put any restrictions on us if they have capacity), and it's very rare or them to miss it - when they do, the driver will call and explain why and give us updates. If they're able to deliver early, they'll call and ask, and if necessary (if we're out etc.) they'll do other deliveries first if they can or worst case sit and wait to deliver within the agreed time slot.

They'll carry everything into your kitchen if you wish, or wherever you want them to, and everything comes in colour-coded bags for freezer, fridge, and cabinets. The receipt list everything by minimum guaranteed use-by dates.

The precision in delivery makes all the difference. I rarely go into grocery stores any more, and I don't miss it.

Amazon fresh is the bomb for groceries. $15/mo for unlimited free deliveries, and the groceries are same price or cheaper than Safeway. They package it up very well too - frozen stuff stays frozen and even eggs arrive undamaged.

I actively try and avoid delivery where possible because to me it's less convenient (within reason, eg i wouldn't drive too far or pay too much more):

1. The delivery guy may assume I'm not home, and hence leave a missed delivery card without knocking (way too common...)

2. If i know i won't be home: all the " permission to leave" forms are different (or sometimes not possible; and are a hassle)

3. Sometimes there's no good place to leave the item, so leaving isn't possible ( often the postie refuses even though I gave the permission, because we disagree about what's okay)

4. If i need it now, I'm in control if i go get it. (Added perk of physically comparing in some cases.)

5. _usually_ resolution time for issues with pickups is faster than deliveries (eg i notice in store (eg wrong item or size - which i've had a few times online), or can quickly go back).

6. When i'm shopping for a delivered item i don't yet know what the full cost will be (assuming no free prime-like option) and it often varies stupidly.

(At present all my deliveries actually go to a family member's house cause I know they'll be home, so no signing or leaving issues...)

I feel like my life setup must be a bit different to others :-) But I find it interesting how different my perception is to the others in this thread :-)

Part of the challenge with this is that Amazon Logistics is the only carrier that has "lost" items I've ordered. Several times.

But with respect to delivery times: In the UK they have rolled out increasing number of regional warehouses to support same day delivery for many goods (e.g. London has at least two Amazon warehouses). Being able to order in the morning and gets things delivered in the afternoon certainly stops me from going to the shops for a lot of things where even 24 hour delivery feels "too long".

He said rural, though. As someone living in southern Maine, which isn't even exactly rural, I have to pay extra for 1 day from Amazon - and it's not available on every item. On the other hand, I drive right past a Walmart strip mall on the way home every day.

The bigger issue I have with Walmart is the quality. The only stuff I buy there is consumable.

In major Indian cities, there are already small players who provides home delivery groceries(including vegetables and fruits). The delivery charge of order of any size is rs 30-50 which is very reasonable.

I combat shopping anxiety by not making any plans what to buy and just strolling through the shop looking at the items and putting things that look tasty in my cart. Sometimes I forget important items, but usually it works out well. Treating shopping more like exploring the offers and less like checking things off a mental list makes it less stressful for me.

Unfortunately this doesn't work when I actually need a specific item like a pair of jeans or something like that.

I've found that going on my lunch break helps. I buy stuff for lunch, sometimes stuff for dinner, while I'm already in "work mode" and energized, vs going after work when I'm tired. The stores aren't that crowded at lunch time either.

Why is this not a step back from getting the stuff delivered in the first place?

I see it more as a secondary option. The primary reason being, if everything's in stock, I should be able to get it today, with maybe a 1-2 hr waiting time. If I want shrimp pasta tonight, I can order the ingredients at lunch break, and pick up on my way home.

Other reasons could be people have poor delivery from their UPS driver, stolen packages, some people prefer not having people come to their door, some people feel empowered by going out and getting what they want, when they want to get it.

The biggest reason could be that it's ultimately a lower price for everyone, assuming its cheaper to hire junior employees to walk the store and pick my groceries vs hiring a driver and a truck to take the stuff to everyones door (plus someone to do all the picking).

All of these seem like solvable problems. E.g. in Manhattan Prime Now can already deliver within 1-2 hours. Stolen packages can be catered by drop-off safeboxes in houses/buildings. Job specialization should win in the end - a delivery person with an efficient route is going to be cheaper than the sum of everyone picking their stuff up.

The Kroger grocery chain by my house just started offering this and it is super popular.

Folks can come by after picking up their kids and get their groceries dropped in their car off the side of the building without leaving the car. All for a flat 4.95$

Personally I wouldn't mind having to put the groceries in my car, just having to go in and grap the already packed bags.

the paradoxical thing about this is it would actually make me want to watch commercials! if I dont step foot in the store anymore, how will I know what they have ? I will want (!) marketers to give me information about their products. This will be a marketing wet-dream.

Tell me more, please. What info would you want?

say I never walk through the aisles anymore (not saying the store wouldn't allow it, but it's so convenient to pickup that people like me might never do it). I'd no longer get inspiration for meals, or learn about a new brand of cereal, or see that the competitor's eggs are $1 off, or that the bakery just got fresh salmon from Alaska. I would actually want to keep abreast of what products are available in my store.

Bonus if the "updates" (ads) were targeted to me. If I were vegetarian, it should know not to show me about prime rib, for instance. If it sees I only buy granola or mainly health foods, don't give me ads about lucky charms. and not 30 second commercials either, just quick intros, with video/pictures, and a few facts about relevant products.

Through what medium or platform would you expect to have access to that data? A video on the app/page for the store?

when I order, maybe (at most) 25% of the screen that clearly says "Browse our store". Then I see a menu: dairy/produce/breakfast/butcher/bakery. I pick a category, and select a product, then a short, embedded video plays (that is easy to mute/cancel). (The kind of video is where you hover over the thumbnail and it plays, not click a youtube link). Then it says "Today we've got Choice Sirloin for $4.99/lb, farm raised, corn-fed from Johnny's out in Arkansas (quick clip of Johnnys farm). Also consider pairing with this recipe of beets (cue link to purchase beets and all ingredients for sauce ).

Actually, that just occurred to me, if you included recipes with the advertising, that wouldn't bother me at all. Just like reddit's DIY, start with the finished "product", then say " to make this, buy these things" (of course with a shortcut to just add them all to your cart) "and do this:" (cue to video of person making the dish).

but back to advertising, just quick (15s) videos with simple information and price. maybe with sideways scrolling so if I'm looking at margarine, it also has quick links to butter and vegetable oil. Don't skimp on video: each product has the same demo video/advertisement so I can compare them.

Great feedback, thanks.

It's a shame there's a fee. Isn't it cheaper not having people coming into the store and pushing carts/waiting in lines?

Exactly. Can't an Uber driver pick it up for me and deliver it to my house?

That's what Walmart Grocery is. It's really neat. You order online and schedule a pickup for a day or two later. You pull up, call, and they bring it out to your car and load it up. It doesn't cost anything extra. I actually don't live in that big of a town, and yet it's available. I was surprised.

If you'd like to use my referral link we each get $10 off the next order. http://r.wmt.co/e0nUh

That's how Click And Collect works in the UK

Target kinda sorta does this. Checkout curbside pickup. Hopefully your shopping experience gets better in the future.

Those shirts cost way more than $6. Walmart gets corporate welfare from the government and your tax dollars. They are allowed to pay such low wages that employees are basically required to get government handouts and welfare to survive, which you pay for.

Not to mention they destroy local and small businesses, which is/was the biggest driver of middle class wealth. They are anti-union and anti-workers rights. They are everything wrong with the USA. Sell out your neighbors and fellow citizens, give an already far overreaching government more reasons to tax you, and to boot, prop up a communist government thousands of miles away that is completely destroying the environment.

Seems worth it for a $2 shirt to me. Maybe your child can grow up to be a factory worker making $2 shirts for other people in a polluted city and then they can reflect on the choices of their parents, such as yourselves.

This is why I get many of my computer parts at Frys because it's on my way home. I still do my research online before going though because they often don't have what I need when it's more esoteric.

Their "promo code" deals are often excellent. Heck, I just bought TurboTax H&B at Costco yesterday, and today Fry's has it $6 cheaper.

I may be biased given that I've shopped at Fry's Electronics since their very first store, in a long-since-demolished, tiny former Fry's Grocery store on Oakmead.

I hate to have to tell you this, but there isn't really such thing as a $2 shirt, please hear me out.

The monetary cost to you, acting as a consumer is an incredible $6 or, $2 a shirt; However, as a citizen of earth, the environmental and social costs of buying cheap garments from places like Walmart is absolutely, shockingly enormous. [1][2]

It's just currently impossible to produce clothing at that price in an even slightly responsible way. Unfortunately, buying super cheap garments is really taking out a loan out against the future and that bonded or forced labour is probably involved. [3] If you're a documentary person, "The True Cost" is really worth watching. [7]

There is a few apps that can help people make informed choices before a purchase [4][5] and of course, great brands like Patagonia [6] who make quality clothing in a responsible way.

There are also amazingly good quality items in second hand stores around the world too, I know there can be some stigma attached to second hand clothing, but it's only stigma, it wears off quickly and no one knows you have a second hand shirt on.

I have a friend who works at a second hand store, which is part of franchise, and there are a lot good quality, safe items in surplus around the world waiting to be worn again.

[1] http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/introduction-t...

[2] http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/introduction-t...

[3] http://labourbehindthelabel.net/campaigns/living-wage/

[4] http://goodonyou.org.au/

[5] https://rankabrand.org/

[6] http://www.patagonia.com

[7] http://truecostmovie.com/

I like recycled better than new myself, but there is an ultimate solution:


Often for some folks anything worn represents a costume.

the environmental and social costs of buying cheap garments from places like Walmart is absolutely, shockingly enormous.

I looked at your first link and to be honest, it seems like we have a lot more important environmental issues to address.

I wondered how long this would take...

So you already know about these issues, but you just go ahead and buy the items anyway?

Not OP, but I understand his/her position.

I usually buy my clothes at Uniqlo or Zara. As much as I'd like to do the right thing instead, I can't justify paying the massive premium for boutique and artisan stuff manufactured in western regions, except the occasional specific premium item, like a Rapha or Outlier jacket. In OP's case those are clothes for a small child, that will outgrow them quickly, which makes the cheap option even more attractive.

What about relatives with older children, used clothes stores or flea markets? Childen's clothes are a very good fit for reuse since they are worn for a short time. Also I'd be suspicious about toxins or artificial hormones in cheap clothes. Would likely be safer to have high quality certified and checked and tested ones.

Isn't the point here that you are paying for them, just not in a way that the market is currently able to include in the price?

I'm rural and I just use Amazon Prime rather than ever stepping foot in a Walmart.

Jet is a joke. People use them only because they sell things at a loss through coupon codes. I only ever see someone talk about them on discount sites, explicitly saying to start a new account just to get the coupon code again. A lot of the things they "shipped" they literally just ordered from other stores that then shipped to the customer. I ordered two things from them, one was ordered and then shipped via New Egg, the other Home Depot.

Jet is way better than Amazon for me. So much so that I rarely use Amazon anymore. Prices on Amazon are often worse than local retail stores. I find many products I want to buy are Prime only, Fresh only, or Add-ons. The last two packages I bought took an entire week to leave the warehouse even though they were fulfilled by Amazon. And Amazon has a horrible spam problem. It's difficult to sort out real products from knock-offs sold by a scam seller like SUPER DEAL PRODUCT WORLD or something.

Jet, on the other hand, has no spam problem, prices usually better than local stores, and very reliable free two day shipping. Hopefully they can scale up.

It's hard to overstate how easy it is to have better prices when you are operating at a loss. They're still in the "fake it till you make it stage" as is evident by their buying from other stores to then ship to consumers.

I would think that Walmart probably has a competitive advantage in most logistical areas. They've been moving goods across the country (and world) for longer than Amazon has been a company. They even have their own airline for moving freight (and employees) so they've already solved the 'UPS problem' that Amazon is working on now.

With all that, it would be completely unsurprising to find out that Amazon runs their warehouse and goods movement more efficiently than Walmart does, but they still don't own the entire stack like Walmart does.

On top of that, Walmart gets companies to produce entire product lines at prices that they themselves pretty much set. Amazon is just going to take a cut of a lot of sales while Walmart is getting the margin they want.

Technology wise I'd say it's a safe bet that Amazon is light years ahead, but don't sleep on Walmart Labs and their ability to innovate. Just don't expect it to be as useful to us as AWS.

I know everyone likes to bag on Walmart for being 'cheap' and/or 'shit' but at least if I buy a brand from Walmart I can be extremely confident in it being the real thing. Which has been getting to be (at least personally) a huge issue with me for Amazon and has started moving me to buy more things at other stores (including Walmart).

There are tradeoffs between the two, but I think they both run tight ships and are in the best position to be each other's biggest competitor.

Walmart Labs just laid off their entire remote staff. What they had in "Well, it's not Walmart, it's Walmart Labs!" is basically gone now. I don't foresee any talented engineers heading that direction.

Did you mean that 200 ppl layoff last week or so?

Yeah, was it 200? Wow. I thought 50 or so.

I somehow missed that one. I now have some reading to do.


>I would think that Walmart probably has a competitive advantage in most logistical areas. They've been moving goods across the country (and world) for longer than Amazon has been a company.

Walmart does not have a competitive advantage in logistical areas. Have a look at a youtube video of what happens in an Amazon FC. Amazon does not simply box packages and ship them.

I would say Amazon is implementing the physical manifestation of algorithms onto physical goods, but that only scratches the surface of the complexity required to optimize the entire chain from customer desire to fulfillment.

If Amazon had the physical real estate that Wal-Mart does it wouldn't be long before they could service most of north America with sub-1 hour delivery for most products. In that regard, it seems that if Wal-mart was committed, they could totally steal Amazon's thunder. I must be overlooking something fundamental.

I think the fundamental thing you're overlooking is Amazon's wide selection. There's a long tail of relatively low-demand items that a company like Walmart would just remove from their shelves. Looking over my recent Amazon orders, I'd guess that around half of it is made up of this sort of item.

Walmart uses centralized fullfilment centers for the long tail.


Here's an anecdote, for what it's worth.

I do a lot of doodling boxes-and-arrows stuff, pseudo-UML, half-assed flow-charts, etc., when working on ideas. For some strange (and largely irrelevant) reason, I'm really picky about the pencils I use. And my favorite ones have apparently gone out of production. So last week, I order two new high-end mechanical drafting pencils from Amazon. They show up, I like them right away, so I order 5 more.

The package arrives, and there are only 3 pencils. From what I can tell, they were loosely slopped in along with the book that in the same order and the packaging was loose enough that I'm guessing the other 2 actually fell out.

I login to Amazon.com (this was on Friday), report the 2 missing pencils, and wait to see what happens.

A few hours later I get a notice that a replacement package is 5 pencils is being overnighted to me. Note that only two were lost from the original package.

For all the grief Amazon gets, at times their customer service can be pretty damn good.

Wal-Mart, OTOH, to me, just "feels" like a place to get mostly cheap crap, sold by underpaid employees with surly attitudes. I don't even think of walmart.com as a place to shop online. They're so far off my radar that they might as well not have e-commerce.

The question then, to me, is how many people have a world view like mine? And if the answer is a large number, how does Wal-Mart get people to consider them at all? Leveraging the hybrid "click and mortar" thing sounds like a good start, but I'm wondering if it will be enough.

On the other hand, I don't really trust amazon much these days because of fake reviews, and the ability for suppliers to switch out items for those of lower quality.

Walmart at least gives the appearance of curation for quality - It's at least easy to go see the quality of the things walmart is carrying. Amazon seems to be more of a crap shoot.

> I don't trust them to quickly and painlessly make things right if an order is broken, disappointing, or missing.

Doesn't Wal-mart have a pretty good return policy, where you don't even need a receipt? (Things might have changed since I last made a return)

Let's say Walmart's customer service does become great, and their site better than Amazon's.

Amazon's site quality seem to have gone down, according to many). How hard would it be for them to fix their brand? How long would that take ?

> My contrarian opinion: Walmart is going to create some hard times for Amazon.

That's not going to happen anytime soon. Walmart is trying to offer service like Amazon, but they don't have their shit together enough to succeed at that level.

Recently I wanted to buy a new Roku, and the Walmart site said it was available for pickup today nearby store. Great! I can order it and pick it up on my way home. But wait, when I select it and go to checkout, the site now tells me it will be available for pickup in 5 days. WTF Walmart?!!

Their site was being stupid, so I decided to just stop at Walmart on my way home and buy it. When I get there I have to spend time to track down an employee, and they have to track down someone with keys to get it out of the glass case. Then I realize their in-store price is $10 higher than online, so I have to wait while they track down a manager. After all that bullshit, the the manager tells me they can't match the price on their own fucking website.

I took out my phone and ordered it from Amazon in front of the Walmart manager.

Weird. My brother in law and I recently went to Walmart to pick up a PS4 controller. He saw a price online and similar to your experience he realized the in store price was hiring. He showed the manager and they gave it to him for the online price. He told me he did a similar thing the week before and now he always check online for Walmart purchases above $20 or so because they may be cheaper. I don't know why you weren't price matched.

Each Walmart store manager sets the prices at their individual store. You can see a noticeable variation even between nearby locations. Consequently, the online channel is managed separately from brick and mortar and will set its own prices.

Source: http://corporate.walmart.com/frequently-asked-questions

Walmart recently picked up Dan Makoski of Google/Moto/MSFT fame (and most recently at Cap1), so I've got my eyes keenly pointed at what they may end up putting out.

Walmart's literally the Fortune One. I wouldn't necessarily count them out quite yet.

> Then I realize their in-store price is $10 higher than online

Isn't that normal? People who use Internet can easily compare prices in different shops so the price for them is more competitive. And people who have already spent their time to get to the shop are not so picky so they can pay more.

That may be so, but I understood the main issues to be on one side the inconvenience of the whole chain of events, and on the other side the fact that they were unable to price-match their own website.

They don't have their shit together because you had a personal bad experience with them?

I have repeatedly had poor experiences with Wal-Mart and Target online. The first time was when I found that the website "inventory" had nothing to do with the in-store inventory, so the "in stock" item was not only completely out of stock, but there was no incoming stock for weeks. The guy in electronics showed me his inventory computer. The second time I ordered a camera lens, also "in stock" for in-store pickup. It was supposed to be available in a week, but after I waited a week they cancelled the order, no reason given. I've had Amazon cancel maybe 1% of my orders. The third time Target refused to sell me a gift card online, even though I was using the same credit card I've used multiple times in the store. (Ironically, I was able to buy it at Wal-Mart, which I believe is the first time I successfully purchased something electronically from them.) I did buy a couple sleds from Wal-Mart for delivery, and that was good; They came from a local store so it was fast and not nearly as expensive as mailing something. I hope they improve.

They don't have their shit together because the stock has barely moved in a decade. If you think Wal-Mart has their shit together, you've either been living under a rock for the past 10 years or you're not very intelligent.

Here's a fun chart from Google Finance: 10-Year Wal-Mart vs Amazon stock performance:


Here's a chart showing WMT growing annual revenue by $400B from 1995 to 2015 (from $80B to $480B) while AMZN grew from $0 to $100B. Over the same time period WMT made $217B in net income over the 21 years while AMZN made $2.6B.


Amazon needs to grow 5x the size it is today to reach Wal-Mart scale. They can get there and they're growing more quickly which is why the market has AMZN worth $388B market cap vs. $205B for WMT.

Amazon has a long way to go, I believe they can become the first trillion dollar revenue company but it won't be without a fight from Wal-Mart, FedEx/UPS, regional groceriers, Alibaba (I expect to see them in the US market in 2017), etc.

For Amazon to reach WMT revenue, assume WMT stays flat now and AMZN continues to grow at 27% Y/Y it'd be 2022 before the pass WMT in scale. If they average half of their current growth rate over the full period to reach WMT's current scale it won't happen until 2026 -- basically another full decade.

I see going from an incredibly valuable brick-and-mortar retailer to exactly the same valuation over 5 years during the rise of mobile, streaming, Prime, etc. as quite a success relatively speaking.

They could have been better, sure, but that's hardly a disaster.

You assume I'm either uninformed or dumb because I disagree with your conclusions drawn from a facking stock price. That's amazingly narrow-minded. As you can see by the other responses to your comment, there are many valid points to disagree with you. I suggest you tone it down.

The Roku is probably subsidized by Amazon, to push their streaming service.

I think he/she meant that it was listed for a lower price on Walmart.com than in-store at Walmart, and that Walmart couldn't pricematch to Walmart.com...

Yes, this is what I meant.

> I took out my phone and ordered it from Amazon in front of the Walmart manager.

You are such a tough guy!

I'll add some anecdotal evidence as to why I don't think Walmart isn't capable of giving Amazon any hard times.

When I got my first iPhone I was recommended a Zagg screen protector. I found that Walmart online had the best deal so I ordered it for in-store pickup. I was notified the day it arrived and headed back to the Layaway area. Nobody was there, but there was a little kiosk where I could enter my info and someone would fetch my item for me. Seemed like a very efficient setup. Walk in, get my thing, and leave.

After putting my info into the kiosk and being told my item was on its way, I waited. And waited. And waited. About 15 minutes in, after entering the info into the kiosk again and not getting a response, I called the store and asked for a manager. It took me a minute to get them to understand that I was calling from inside their store to get my item. But finally, they got it and assured me that someone would be bringing out my item shortly.

Another 15 minutes of waiting and I HAD TO CALL THEM AGAIN! And explain, again, that, "Yes, I'm standing inside your store, waiting for the thing I purchased. We talked about this already."

All told, I was probably there for 45 minutes before I got my item. That was the last time I bought something from Walmart.

Now, I'll concede that this was almost 10 years ago and maybe they've changed. But Walmart has never been known for the best customer service, and Amazon is always fantastic when I have to deal with them. So I'm placing my bet on Amazon in this particular race.

Same thing happened to me only two years ago. Bought an Xbox controller on their website for in-store pickup. Go down to the store to pick it up and they say it's actually out of stock. But then I see one sitting right there so I ask to buy it. They say that one is reserved and there's a glitch in their system. So I ask to just buy that right there but the in-store price was $15 more than online price. The employee says to me "supply and demand, how bad do you want it". Weird interaction. Just bought it and left. Definitely logistics problems still.

I know staples / office max show lower prices online than in store. If you ask for a price match they will price match against themselves and give you the good price.

A synchronous, blocking logistics system (you going to a store waiting for a person or a conveyer belt) will never be as cost efficient as an asynchronous one (amazon dead-dropping your package on your front porch).

Tho there are other tradeoffs (mainly expected latency).

Cost efficient? Shipping isn't free - the last mile to doorstep is the most expensive part as well.

What do you mean? If you drive to a walmart, you're also spending money on gas and on your car's depreciation. It isn't free.

> "I don't think Walmart isn't capable of giving Amazon any hard times"

I had to read this intro 3 times to wrap my brain around the 2.5 negations, just to find out you DO think Walmart is not capable of competing with Amazon :)

I think you read that backwards (not at all surprisingly): It's not the case that Walmart can't give Amazon hard times. Therefore, it is the case that Walmart can give Amazon hard times.

I think.

> "I don't think Walmart isn't capable of giving Amazon any hard times"

Actually, thinking Walmart is capable does not follow from not thinking they aren't capable. The subject doesn't think they are incapable of giving any hard times. Overall this is perhaps the weakest vote of confidence in Walmart possible, I would read this: "There exists the possibility that Walmart is capable of giving Amazon one or more hard times."

That's the best I can do.

edit: On reflection the word 'thinking' is crucial, because is suggests a level of uncertainty. Without that uncertainty: !(not walmart is not capable) <-> walmart is capable.

That's how you have to read it, yes, but it doesn't match the anecdote that follows.

Amazon doesn't have much to worry about in the short term. Ordering online from walmart.com was so horrible that I'd never return. It's still pretty horrible, the people that's packaging the items do not give a shit whatsoever. I had a tv that had burn spots. I ordered groceries that somehow thought it was more efficient to ship from Ottawa when the nearest one was 10 minutes away.

Brand and impressions are critical when switching cost is nil. Amazon is not perfect but it's not due to their fault, it's always the carrier delivering items late.

Similar experience. I ordered twice from Walmart.Com with store pickup twice in 2 years. Both times it took 20 plus minutes to get my item. One of those times I had to dig through the pile of boxes to find mine myself... I suspect the core problem is they pay so little they can't attract anyone to work there that gives a crap.

I've had that experience (and worse) with all store pickup options: Target, Home Depot, WalMart, etc. I just don't do store pickup for online orders anymore. I either have it shipped or go find it in the store myself.

This was also my experience when I lived in the U.S., but in the U.K. my experience with in-store pickup (usually called "click and collect") has been pretty good. Not sure why. Virtually everyone does it in the U.K., both higher-end places (John Lewis, Marks and Spencer) and lower-end places (Argos, Wilko), and all seem to be pretty efficient at it.

Argos especially is much better than anything I've seen in the U.S. in that regard. They have a subset of more commonly ordered items labeled "FastTrack" items, meaning you can typically pick up within 1 hour at any location (you can check ahead of time whether the item is in stock for 1-hour pickup at your desired location, but it usually is). Other items are typically available the next day, with the exception of some larger stuff (furniture, etc.) that might take longer. And if you don't want in-store pickup, you can get home delivery within a chosen 3-hour window the next day, which I find a lot more convenient than even Amazon Prime, where you can't specify which time of day you want the delivery.

Argos is the original, pre-Internet version of this, in operation since 1973.

In the 1990s, everyone I knew (as a child) had an Argos catalogue at home. It was simple to write down product numbers, give them to the cashier, pay, then wait at the counter for the goods to be handed to you. Depending how busy the shop was, the waiting time would be 2-5 minutes.

The website says "FastTrack" means collection within 60 seconds of ordering. That's the slight change since I lived in Britain.

I've only done it once, but I had really quick and good service with Smith's - granted its grocery only, but it was impressively fast.

jet.com reached their 1B revenue target by losing money on every transaction: rather than have inventory, they relist competitor's inventory at lower prices. Which is why your jet.com purchase may bear the name of some Other online retailer when it arrives. Presumably Wal-Mart will correct both the inventory and the prices in the near future. And when the subsidies dissapear, so will the competition.

Besides which, isn't Amazon a cloud tech company with a vestigial retailing arm?

> Besides which, isn't Amazon a cloud tech company with a vestigial retailing arm?

That's sort of like trying to pin down General Electric. At some point, you have to give up with the "they are a $foo company" thinking and accept that they've grown past the boundaries and limitations imposed by a single market.

What are the stats on revenue from retail vs revenue from AWS? I doubt they'd release those numbers but surely there must be an estimate

There's a third arm that is actually bigger than retail in revenue: Merchant Services (Marketplace)

AWS revenue last quarter was $3.56B (publicly stated). Total revenue, $43.7B.

AWS provides much better margins than some of their other businesses though, to the point where AWS profit can actually be more than the overall company profit (it allows them to run other divisions at a loss strategically). That doesn't seem to be that case in the most recent filing[1], but it did beat out the North American division.

1: http://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-posts-mixed-q4-results-a...

>> jet.com reached their 1B revenue target by losing money on every transaction

First, they ship 30% of their orders from their own warehouse.

Second, if jet.com was a "bubble" company, with nothing to back themselves up, i'm not sure Walmart would have ackuired them for $3B.

Walmart's revenues are $500b a year. It's pocket change to them. And the list of old economy stalwarts overspending on tech startups is practically infinite. Few of these acquisitions ever lead to anything. Amazon must have been cracking up that they scared Walmart into doing this.

> rather than have inventory, they relist competitor's inventory at lower prices

Wow. No wonder Wal-Mart bought them, they're cut from the same cloth.

Unless Amazon really fucks something up, Walmart will never be able to attract the tech talent that Amazon does. Nobody wants to work for Walmart.

FWIW, this is definitely not what I hear from my network. Amazon has a reputation as a high-variance but usually bad place to be as a tech worker, while people love Walmart Labs.

I interviewed there a year ago, at least to me it looked like they were absorbed (or at least parts of the Labs team I spoke to) into Walmart e-commerce. Five excruciating 1-hour rounds where we ran out of anything to talk about because they refused to ask me any coding or architecture or CS fundamental-related questions.

What? They refused to ask CS related questions? Did you discern a reason why?

Well it's not like I asked them and they refused to ask me any questions. 3/5 people asked me "what happens when you boot a VM in openstack", which was a kind-of-shitty question because I can know the answer from just looking at a picture in the docs. More than that, I went in expecting a grilling interview (because Walmart Labs) and it was a huge anti-climax. I wasn't hugely impressed by the people that interviewed me too, except for one guy who has now left.

As to discerning a reason, no clue. At least 2 of them were competent coders, so no idea why they never asked me anything.

I was hearing similar stories until the current CTO took over. From that I've heard some fairly negative takes.

Dang, that sucks. Thanks for the update.

You might want to double check that those people still have a job: http://fortune.com/2017/01/26/walmart-layoffs-ecommerce/

FWIW I have heard the same thing.

> Unless Amazon really fucks something up, Walmart will never be able to attract the tech talent that Amazon does. Nobody wants to work for Walmart.

Disclaimer: I am probably biased because I used to work for Amazon

I'm not sure I agree with that. Amazon already has such a poor reputation but they don't seem to have any trouble attracting people to work there. Considering the turnover* there, the fact they are able to grow this quickly must mean there are ways to get people to join despite having a poor reputation.

Walmart Labs on the other hand has a good reputation so you could even argue that if Walmart plays its cards right, it actually has an advantage in that aspect of attracting tech talent. I mean they even use Clojure..

* I admit this is anecdotal but I live in Seattle and used to work there and the average tenure is fairly low from what I've seen.

And we use F# at Jet.com!

They're doing some interesting things on the front-end web front. Electrode in particular and some surrounding libraries look pretty cool. https://github.com/walmartlabs/electrode I had the same reaction when I had heard of Walmart Labs. But I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss.

Why not? Amazon is fairly widely known to treat its employees, on average, poorly. While much smaller, I haven't heard many bad things about Walmart Labs.

Most Don't distinguish walmart labs from walmart and walmart treats its employees pretty terribly.

It wasn't that long ago that a regional manager forced people to work off the clock and walmart lost a major suit against minimum wage employees. Even though other store managers and walmart executives scrambled to tighten rules, enforce already present rules and denounce that one manager, their image was already tainted. Stuff like that sticks with the public consciousness for decades.

Walmart is catching up to Amazon on tech, Amazon is catching up to Walmart on reputation

What about Walmart Labs? From what I understand there are some talented folks over there.

While there are still a reasonable number of very talented engineers at Labs, having talent is sort of meaningless if you stifle their ability to actually ship (which Walmart at large does very well).

Walmart Labs isn't their main IT/dev division though - aren't they more like what Bell Labs was to AT&T?

This is true. For instance, until recently (I think), Joshua Schachter (@joshu) of del.icio.us fame worked for them.

Did you seriously just suggest that Amazon is generally regarded as a pleasant place to work? Amazon, the company that not 3 months ago, had an employee attempt to kill himself by jumping off of one of their buildings after being put on an "employee improvement plan" [1].

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-employee-attempted-sui...

I don't think the tech talent is what drives Amazon's success as much as you imply.

I already have a strong distaste for Amazon and have been using Newegg where possible.

Same here. I've been looking at every other vendor that I can before Amazon.

So far I've had success with finding other vendors. I've been using Target, Walmart, third party retailers, the manufacturer, and AliExpress as an alternative. Heck I've been shopping locally more.

Besides Walmart laid off 200 people from their E-commerce division. At best they hire for some off-the-shelf IT skills.

Walmart back end and Walmart labs are completely different, just like Amazon's Lab126, A9, and web site are completely different.

However I don't know that many people who are/were happy at 126, while to my surprise everyone I've met who works at Walmart labs seems happy with it.

(not much of a wal mart customer, BTW)

Walmart labs is may be a little more 'technical' than current Walmart IT. From what I see on their website, it is developing bunch of Javascript frameworks etc. Nothing wrong with that but it is not comparable to likes of Amazon.

Hapi came out of Walmart Labs, which is the pristine example of how to execute an OSS project.

Hapi's primary author and only maintainer left Walmart labs, took Hapi with him, severed ties to Walmart and has publicly proclaimed his dislike of the new CTO of Walmart.

His own words: https://twitter.com/eranhammer/status/824006905253089280

Nobody wants to work for one of the best known names in logistics? Really?

Of course they will get people who fit in their pay scale. It is like on HN where European lifestyle is superior in every way but when it comes to money most people are like "Oh shit only 1/3-1/2 salary compared to US, so not moving there"

Walmart is basically Amazon without AWS. Which, IMHO, means they're going to be hopelessly behind from a engineering and innovation perspective. Amazon is playing a completely different kind of game and I highly doubt Walmart will be able compete long term.

The difference is that Walmart is a more sustainable business. Amazon is far more sensitive to interest rates and is 100% dependent on growth to hide the warts associated with the business.

At some point they'll need to spin off AWS.

Walmart did most of the innovation in the back office space 30 years ago.

The Walton family represents a lot of what I think is wrong with America. If Sam Walton knew that Walmart pays their employees so little that they have to claim social assistance just to survive, what would he say?

While Jeff Bezos isn't an angel, at least he's doing things with his money that I find noble, like Blue Origin and contributing millions to expand the computer science program at the University of Washington

I shudder to think of a future where Walmart dominates the tech logistics scene. Might there be a "Committee for a Third Term for Donald Trump" SuperPAC in the future?

They pay a 30% federal corporate income tax rate. Their federal income tax alone covers all the estimated ($6 billion) public subsidies.

Walmart has 0.03% net income margins. If you raise the hourly pay for the average Walmart employee, by $3 to $4 per hour, Walmart is bankrupt. Meanwhile Amazon is going to begin substantially digging in to Walmart's sales with their growth. As Walmart's sales begin to contract in the coming years, that will pressure their non-existent margins further. If Walmart raises prices to afford the pay hikes, Amazon will damage Walmart's business that much faster. In the near future, Amazon is likely to rupture Walmart's business in such a fashion as to cause financial losses that cause hundreds of thousands of low skill workers to lose their jobs (with no replacement jobs). Walmart's likely future is to tip over, bleed epic amounts of red ink (they don't even have a large enough cash balance to afford one year in that condition), close hundreds of stores, and fire a million workers.

You can either have Walmart employ far too many people as it does now, at low wages (which has the advantage of absorbing vast amounts of low value, low skilled labor). Or you can have Walmart employ far fewer people per dollar of sales, in the model of Costco, and have higher pay. You can't - and will never - have both.

Walmark has not had profits of less than 2% in more than a decade: https://ycharts.com/companies/WMT/profit_margin Where are you getting the 0.03% from?

> My contrarian opinion: Walmart is going to create some hard times for Amazon.

Not just Walmart.

In Germany, Amazon actually reduced their reliance on DHL, UPS and DPD... by contracting out almost their entire logistics to Hermes.

If you've never heard of it, Hermes Logistics belongs to the OTTO Group, Europe's largest online retailer group (you likely don't know them, but basically every store contracts out their online shops to OTTO, and OTTO also has their own shops)

It's interesting when even Amazon contracts out their entire logistics to a competitor.

I know a Sr SDE that left amzn for the web store at Walmart. He came back in a year, said it was a ___-show.

No one uses Jet except to take advantage of their ridiculous coupons. Those coupons are just a way to move VC money to the people, so I'm cool with that but otherwise Jet is just rubbish.

Yup. Amazon's in uncurated listings are getting worse and worse, while Wal-Mart's online shopping offerings are getting better and better. Plus Wal-Mart can offer cheaper shipping with their in-store pickup lockers.

They're going to give Amazon a real competitor. Amazon may be getting better at a lot of things, but the actual experience of shopping online with them is getting worse. I search for an item and i get a hellscape of poorly categorized over-MSRP 3rd party sellers.

Doing 1-day delivery to the majority of your customers in U.S. is easier than you might think-- You just put fulfillment centers within 1 day of the east coast. There's a UPS hub in Louisville and a Fedex hub in Memphis. Those areas are also 1-day to east coast, the rent is cheap, and the locals will give you all sorts of concessions for bringing in jobs. I have seen one Amazon subsidiary that was capable of doing same-day deliver to a large portion of their customers 10 years ago. The trick is to make it cost effective. People pay for different classes of shipping from various vendors-- but getting the order to you as quickly as possible isnt the most profitable way to do business. There are sweat spots where they minimize the cost of shipping but its still "fast enough". Take for example shipments out of the continental U.S.. Every carrier has ways to pool packages in ways that make them cheaper to ship. The shipping still costs you the same, but it'll arrive later. Most of the time you'll be fine with waiting. The times you're not you'll complain and they'll upgrade shipping.

  a Fedex hub in Memphis
BTW, that was the original FedEx hub. Back in the early 1980s (at least), every FedEx overnight package went through Memphis, even if shipper and destination were on the same coast as each other.

Amazon just has such a huge head start in so many ways, it's difficult to imagine anyone catching up with them anytime soon.

For purchasing online, most people just immediately type "amazon" into their web browser. People will never have any reason to do anything differently, unless Amazon starts screwing up the user experience, or becomes significantly more expensive than other online sites. Neither of those things is likely to happen.

Suggesting that such things will happen is like suggesting that some other search engine is going to quickly replace Google.

I guess all bets are off when one tries to look ten years out–the entire world can change radically in ten years–but personally, I'd bet good money that Amazon and Google will still be the largest players by far for their markets.

The more interesting question, I think, is for how long will Amazon maintain its lead in cloud computing. Cloud computing is something of a commodity, so companies will have a great deal of incentive to go with whoever can do it most cheaply. As long as they do it well, that is. I'd still put my money on Amazon.

Wal-Mart only competes with the retail portion of Amazon. My prediction is that by the time Wal-Mart grows large enough to be a competitor (in online sales), Amazon's cloud and devices business will be larger (and more profitable) portions of the company. Amazon could then subsidize retail. Good luck to any retailer wanting to compete with that. :)

Walmart had enough capital to compete fifteen years ago too, and they chose not to seriously compete then as they are now.

Walmart is a perfect example of the difficulty of a business not disrupting itself. They could have caught up perhaps five years ago, but not now.

Here's the thing: the family still controls it. They are billionaires many times over. To seriously compete with AMZN would take many billions a year, many years in a row, and frankly, you need a guy like Bezos who just doesn't care about anything besides winning. Walmart has had nothing of the sort and the focus on their physical store base was a major distraction during the time they could have caught up. There's obviously TONS of tech involved in AMZN's retail operations, and WMT will simply never be able to hire as many or the same caliber as AMZN can (despite AMZN's poor employer reputation)

Not to mention the fact that their CEOs are concerned about the stock price a few years from now from their RSUs or stock options, and massive e-commerce investments would certainly drive EPS and/or the dividend down which is basically how Walmart is valued in the public market.

The culture, just everything is different and superior at AMZN.

My impression of Walmart is forever tainted by the few recent store experiences I've had. They have no idea where or if inventory is in the store and no one wants to help you find it if so. The last few Walmarts I've been to have had rusty shopping carts that barely roll. And that was in Palo Alto, which has to have much higher incomes than average.

Amazon now has the advantage that the freight train that is FBA has started rolling and just won't stop for a very long time. AWS operating income and FBA fees subsidize their own retail gross margins, which would make it even hard for WMT to compete.

And good luck getting your marketplace partners to deliver as on-time and reliably as AMZN already has gotten theirs to.

Walmart has mid single-digit operating profit margins (profit before taxes and interest). That makes every 1% price reduction (if they were to seriously compete on price) reduce their profit by 15-20%!

> And Walmart does hav enough capital to compete.

Otoh Walmart is much more subjected to the whims of the stock market and their stock price than amazon is. As such they can't afford to take the same risks with capital.

That's a good point. But what happens to Amazon's stock when/if Walmart do decide to compete seriously ? it seems more riskier to Amazon.

Counterpoint: I was in a Walmart in the electronics aisle looking for an HDMI cable.

Dude in full hunting regalia spit what I assumed was tobacco on the floor.

I went to K-Mart, which was better. K-mart... was... better...

HTTP is a great class isolation mechanism.

I don't see that as contrary at all. The only real question is whether Walmart can learn how to be a tech company (and innovate as fast as Amazon) better than Amazon can learn to be a full-stack logistics company (and beat Walmart to meet the customers needs).

Jet.com was faking it until they made it. They were basically dropshipping a ton of products.

I'm long on AMZN.

I doubt this - Walmart have scale, experience and infrastructure over Amazon but what they're lacking for in these areas, Amazon more than makes up for it in engineering culture.

Amazon is first a foremost a data-driven company. Companies say this so much that it's now a cliche, but you better believe it with Amazon.

As an exclusively online (until recently) retailer, every single sale goes through their data warehouse. Every single product, price, clicks are all stored - think of the analytical capability of that consolidated store of data. Amazon is probably the singly largest reserve of economics data.

Moreover, I am fully certain every one of their products, cars, trucks, planes and even people are hooked up into real-time tracking. When you have that much data all centralised, and the scale of Amazon, real life problems start to resemble CS problems and Fulfillment Centers and logistics start resembling CDNs.

If only Amazon has extensive knowledge of the workings of CDNs... oh wait.

>Amazon is probably the singly largest reserve of economics data.

Walmart had 4 times the annual sales revenue of Amazon and they store every single transaction as well. They don't have the click data, but they certainly have far more actual purchasing data.

Yes, but click data and search history is all integrated for Amazon and the combination of search, purchase and click is the true value. Not to mention every purchase and visit is linked to an account.

[EDIT]not to mention that as an online store Amazon can do all kinds of automated A/B testing in real-time.

At best with Walmart, in stores can capture some of this with a loyalty card and credit card.

> will Amazon be able to keep it's very high stock price

People have been asking this question about Amazon for many years now. I am not saying it wont go down but its a bit tiring hearing the sky is about to fall for Amazon.

One of the most overlooked aspects to Walmart competing with Amazon is branding. Walmart is "gross". Amazon is hip. I don't see how they fix this in the short term. Long term there are strategies.

Amazon also has a big branding problem now that they've let their shelves be flooded with counterfeits propped up by garbage reviews.

I sell on all three. Walmart is a threat to Amazon, but they dont appear to be thinking the same way as Amazon does. I think it's a company culture thing.

Walmart can be a distant second to Amazon the way Bing is to Google unless Walmart comes up with something really interesting and innovative.

Jet has crazy penetration in some locales. I was visiting some relatives in Brooklyn on garbage day -- every house had a bunch of Jet boxes.

I ordered $40 of powdered peanut butter from Jet.com yesterday afternoon. It was on my doorstep here in central Iowa by 9AM today.

It only takes delivering to the ~40 largest metropolitan areas in the US to get to 50% of the population.

Good. I'm just glad there's still some serious competition for these very huge companies.

I've been using target.com, I get 5% off and free shipping with my red card

Did you account for AWS in your equation?

The problem with Walmart is that it makes money and Amazon does not. Unless Walmart is willing to stop making money, they can't compete.

Walmart doesn't have a cash cow like AWS. It's like a free money printing press that Amazon can use to fuel its logistics expansion.

A cash cow is something different [0]. AWS requires increasing capex.

[0] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cashcow.asp

plot twist: amazon and walmart merge to create walmazon


Considering how there are a lot more Amazon employees here on HN as opposed to Walmart employees, I doubt your contrarian opinion will be particularly well received. Regardless of its merit. Personally, I agree with you, but having a discussion about it here on HN is probably a waste of time.

> make them achieve more with less effort via technology

and one day replace everything with robots

I think you are raising an interesting issue. Does Amazon, while leading the automation of the retail industry, reduce employment? Or is it a net jobs creator?

Considering the growth of its number of employees, it seems to me that currently Amazon seems to increasing employment and not reducing it. Or am I wrong and is for every new Amazon employee at least one employee fired elsewhere?

And Trump will stop this, at some point, single day delivery will be banned.

It may sound conspiratorial but Trump did say this about Amazon: "Believe me, if I become president, oh do they have problems, they are going to have such problems" [1] We'll see. [1]:https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/18/amazon-je...

As far as I understand, that's more a grudge about the Post's critical coverage of Trump than a populist objection to the business model.

Bannon is full of rage towards SV and the tech scene. Largely based on his belief that they're undermining white America:


Trump himself has told foreign born, but now legal citizens, to "get out of his country." He's imploding our relations with long-time allies.

It's not hard for me to see Trump not caring that 100k+ jobs are being created if it means they're not going to get him any prestige for making them. He'll undermine Amazon or Google if there's a shot at doing something else over here to create jobs, so long as it makes him look good.

That's pretty scary to read as a GC holding "job creator".

I'm also amazed they are saying American workers just can't compete with foreigners.

Amazon, however, is run by a white dude, so it's going to be lower on Bannon's list.

> Trump himself has told foreign born, but now legal citizens, to "get out of his country."

In the video that circulated yesterday, I think that was a security guard, not Trump himself.

And at what point does that even matter? I'm being serious.

I feel like Trump has trained people to not believe anything he says, until it happens, and then people think he's doing exactly what he said he would do. The president said Amazon is going to have problems.

Sure - that's a plausible guess. It also didn't seem to bother his base.

I actually predict Amazon beating Walmart in the long term; brick and mortar stores are losing relevance fast especially with drone delivery becoming a reality "soon"

I think you're underestimating the value of Walmart. Sure for things you can wait to get in 2 day shipping, it's a no brainer compared to driving to Barnes & Noble, or BestBuy. But a large part of the US still shops at brick and mortar stores because they want/need things "right now." Walmart is still a juggernaut, especially in smaller cities, rural areas.

And drone delivery... I don't see that being successful for Amazon for another 10 years. Too many technical, legal, and cultural hurdles for that to happen faster, if ever.

How immediate is "right now"? If you have to drive 45 minutes to the store and back, is that "right now"? If Amazon can deliver it two hours from when you place your order (which they already do in some cases), is that "right now"?

If you've got to drive 45 minutes just to get to a Walmart, Im not sure you live in a population center large enough for Amazon to offer two hour delivery.

Lol, it can be an hour or more depending on traffic to go to Walmart from Seattle, and your choices are either going far north, or far south. I only ever find myself there when I need a cable modem at 2am, and especially then its always a terrible experience. If I can be out by 4am then that is a quick trip!

I live in Downtown Seattle and it would take me at least an hour to get to the nearest ones unless it was maybe 3 AM and there was no traffic.

I also see a trip to the store as a chore, but I see Wal-Mart as being uniquely positioned to do 1-hour delivery from their own stores - which are essentially localized warehouses across most of the U.S.

If you have a 90-minute round trip to the store, odds are Amazon won't be delivering anything in 2 hours.

Less than an hour. I think that is the threshold between "I'll order this on amazon" and "I'll get it at Walmart."

So Walmart gets reduced to things you need right now, i.e. groceries and random low cost convenience items.

Population has been shifting from rural to urban for decades, Walmart's advantage is in a shrinking market.

Drone delivery is marketing nonsense anyway.

Yes that's true...for now. People like convenience. Drones, same day shipping, same hour shipping...those are convenient. Wal*Mart has the real estate but I still think the writing is on the wall for them UNLESS they compete with Amazon in this area.

I will take back my comment when I can order something from Walmart online and get it within an hour. In fact, Walmart is BEST positioned to do this BECAUSE every one of their stores is a de facto warehouse and they have a ridiculous headcount

Walmart also a community center in many small towns. That's not going away.

It's a bit early to divine the impact of drone delivery. There's a large gulf between novelty prototype and widespread adoption. If anything I see Amazon winning due to better tech R&D. The fact they're experimenting with drone delivery points to them being able to identify opportunity before their competitors. That's a competitive advantage that can translate to real growth.

Do the math.

There is no way that 231K could have hired 110K that fast without getting lots who were not above average.

There is probably a calculated advantage to becoming an average-to-below-average giant giant as a follow-up to above average e-commerce, logistics, or web gigantism.

>optimize the efficiency of those workers, make them achieve more with less effort via technology.

And to allow Amazon to make bigger profits for itself by laying off or continuing to exploit workers rather than valuing automation as a method so humans can work less.

I actually was one of those developers, for a number of years. The reality is that we're still very far away from a robot that can visually identify random objects, identify them, and then pick them up in a safe manner. Humans are awesome at exactly that.

The automation is coming, yes, and many very tedious tasks are being automated but Amazon has never laid off warehouse employees because a robot replaced them- they just move those humans to jobs robots can't do yet, and grow faster.

The fact is that automation replaced jobs (good thing!) yet rather than the 'savings' being returned to the labourer, so that she no longer needs to work, it is passed to Amazon. That person who was replaced would no longer need to work, at least not that job, in an ideal world. Rather than the automation improving the lives of the workers, it causes suffering by means of making people either unemployed (unemployment itself is not bad, it is only bad within Capitalism because the worker is unable to sustain herself without the State) or to move them to yet another job.

In some respects I believe the re-purposing of humans for other jobs may be worse.

>it is passed to Amazon.

Incorrect. If that is true, it's only temporary. It is passed to the consumer via lower prices due to competition pressure.

Bezos's famous line: 'Your margin is my opportunity'. When Amazon cuts costs, they cut prices to gain market share.

What about the labourer? He is still being exploited when if it weren't for the profit motive he would not be required to sell his labour. That difference in profit, once the cost of the machinery and its maintenance is substracted, could be passed to the displaced worker.

Why should it go to the 'consumer'?

Is the 'labourer' not a 'consumer'? If all prices fall due to competitive pressure, all consumers and thus all 'labourers' benefit from cheaper goods. Sure, the 'labourer' may not receive extra compensation due to lower costs and higher margins, but they end up able to purchase more with their dollar when prices fall.

We're all in the same market, I don't see why you would have to make a distinction between 'labourers' and 'consumer'.

What about mechanical Turks? Could you count them to?

Assuming constant rate of growth that means every man, woman and child on the planet will be an Amazon employee within eight years.

And in less than 50 years the entire surface of the earth will be covered in a layer of Amazon employees more than 10 meters thick.

And in 188 years the Earth may be a neutron star of about 1.2 solar masses, at last delivering on the ancient promise of a geocentric solar system.

I fear there is an error in your calculation. I make it 26 years if the world population is constant or 27 if it increases in a likely manner.

At 50% per year, it will take 25 years to grow by a factor of 20,000.

and within 80 years the entire solar system will be a rapidly expanding mass of Amazon employees asymptotically approaching the speed of light.

This reminds me of a bit from Better Off Ted.

They gonna have to build more parking spaces.

As a comparison:

Walmart had 2.3 million worldwide and 1.4 million in the US as of 2016.

FedEx globally had 400k+ as of the end of 2016.

USPS had 493,381 career employees 131,732 non-career employees as of January 2016.

This is a really interesting comparison. Probably a better comparison than Microsoft or Google, as is done in the article.

Why? In this case, the majority of these employees are likely not in tech roles, but in various parts of the fulfillment pipeline. That makes them more similar to FedEx or Walmart.

Edit: Disregard this, I can't read.

Yup, that's... exactly what they said.

Ah, I entirely misread that as "probably a better comparison is" instead of "than".


So this seems like a reorganization of the market of sorts, isn't it? As retail stores like Macy's, Sears report losses after losses, Amazon keeps adding more people to support its merchandise business. Love how the free market works!

Maybe, but don't forget to factor in the relative quality of the jobs that are being replaced. I don't really have a strong opinion on the matter, and it would be a bit hypocritical of me as an amazon prime customer to complain about the working conditions at Amazon but not every job is equal to any other.

Furthermore I wouldn't be surprised if many of these new jobs ended up being automated in the near future. The free market still hasn't figured out a solution to that particular problem last I checked.

> The free market still hasn't figured out a solution to that particular problem last I checked.

Interesting, I think the entire industrial revolution is a very strong counter example to that statement. We repeatedly automated the majority of jobs on the planet every few decades and we saw the largest expansion of wealth and prosperity for the majority of humans in all of history. Should we lament over those subsistence farming jobs that were automated away?

The free market isn't some singular entity that figures out problems before they arrive and sends us all an executive summary of its plan. We currently don't have mass unemployment from automation, and I don't agree with many of the reasons people express for worrying. The only arguments I've seen against mass automation are hints of some dystopian future where somehow robots are prohibitively expensive for all but the richest people, and goods will somehow be cheap enough from automation that non-automated manufacturing can't compete, but still expensive enough that if we don't work 40 hours a week we'll starve.

I agree with you, but just a reminder that the Industrial Revolution was also a time of mass civil unrest, war, nationalism, and the growth of revolutionary groups advocating the overthrow of the existing social and economic order (some of which succeeded, e.g. Leninist Russia).

You could make a fairly strong argument that is was the very real threat of Communist revolution in Western Europe (e.g. Germany in the 1930s, or Italy and France post-WW2) that forced governments to adopt socialist programs that moderated many of the excesses of the market, or in the US, the massive government investment in the middle class as well as draconian anti-left measures that prevented a similar threat.

We've so far ended up in a somewhat decent place, but if history is any measure, we're going to have a rocky next few decades if technology does end up destroying or transforming demand for labor. People generally don't go quietly when their livelihoods or place in the social order are threatened.

War and civil unrest has been extremely common throughout the world long before the industrial revolution. If anything war and violence have declined since the industrial revolution started (read Steven Pinker's Why Violence Declined). So I don't see how you can blame the industrial revolution for any residual unrest.

Absolutely, but the sort of violence in preindustrial societies tended to be predictable and chronic (like tribal conflicts), whereas the industrial revolution enables total war, genocide, nuclear war, and other industrialized, sudden forms of human butchery.

"Subsistence farming" is not an accurate description of the European world before the industrial revolution. Farmers worked cash crops like wool, made plans years in advance, and there were substantial markets. See for example Christopher Dyer, "Making a Living in the Middle Ages" (2009) [1]:

> "In managing the earth, vegetation and animals, the first priority of medieval men and women was to produce food, but they also expected to receive the benefits of their work in the foreseeable future, so the practised (to use the modern term) 'sustainable' agriculture. They planned for the same land to yield crops regularly, and the appreciated that well-managed resources renewed themselves. They anticipated the changeability of the seasons and the harvests, and hoped that their farming methods would allow them to survive in a year of unusual weather, for example by planting a variety of crops. At no time or place within our period can they be described as 'subsistence farmers' [emphasis added], in the sense that they ate only food that they had grown, or that they produced solely for their own consumption needs. They always expected that their land would yield a surplus, whether for the benefit of the state, the church or their lords, or for exchange for goods and services which they could not obtain from their own land.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that the industrial revolution was obviously bad for most people, but to say it was obviously good is wrong too. It's a complex thing, and it's not clear whether people are happier or even healthier in an industrial economy than an agrarian one.

[1] https://books.google.com/books?id=82zXFn-EDisC

"it's not clear whether people are happier or even healthier in an industrial economy than an agrarian one."

Plague, famine, et al, sure sounds happier and healthier than compared to modern (First World) living.

Even if you look back at hunter-gatherer societies where it's been claimed that leisure time was substantially greater than today, things like infant mortality make that seem like hell.

I take these type of historical deconstructions with a large grain of salt; it used to be the idea of the Noble Savage, now it's moving on to medieval times.

I agree: modern life is better than ancient life, in general, for the reasons you describe. But that's not the two choices I was putting forward, which are an industrial economy or an agrarian one.

Those changes in infant mortality, for example, are largely due to better hygiene around births and in handling infants. Wash your hands and boil your water; you can still be in an agrarian economy and do this.

But you also need the technology and culture of birth control or else you run up against the ability of your methods of food production to prevent starvation.

This is an interesting discussion in Star Trek IX: Insurrection.

A society which knows about warp travel, but has chosen to live an agrarian lifestyle again, while keeping their technological knowledge.

While I'm not arguing it's technically wrong, that definition of subsistence farmer seems kind of useless. I mean, even in the Early Bronze Age, you had people who were not full-time farmers, which implies there was some surplus from the others. Seems like you'd have to be very precise to produce exactly enough to eat but with no surplus to use.

That's just what the term means, I'm afraid. I agree that it rarely has occurred in history. It's most often used instead as a pejorative term when people are describing pre-industrial life, because usually the intended meaning is that subsistence farmers rarely hit their mark and are perpetually starving.

I think it comes from a pretty triumphalist view of the last 300 years rather than any real history. So basically: I agree.

Ya sure, living in squalor without modern medicine or electricity seems like paradise to me.

I would say by definition, as in most societies, those who were actually making a living were surely not the ones living in squalor, especially by comparison to those whose conditions were much more unfavorable.

Nobody had modern medicine or electricity that far back anyway.

By now there's no reason for anyone urban or rural to do without medicine or electricity unless their society is consuming more than it produces, or is handling surplus in unbalanced ways.

Maybe paradise would be more within reach if those little problems could be overcome.

Just to be clear I wasn't arguing against mass automation, at this point it's pretty much unstoppable from my point of view (and good for us software engineers). But we still haven't figured out how to deal with the changes that automation brings. And as always, it's the weakest that suffers the most.

>The free market isn't some singular entity that figures out problems before they arrive and sends us all an executive summary of its plan.

Obviously, which is why I think it's a good idea to have a few regulations in place so that we, as a society, might figure out our plan and how to make the transition a little less painful for those who have to suffer the consequences. Not that you argued against regulations in the first place but from your comments I assumed you and pm90 were of the libertarian kind.

> But we still haven't figured out how to deal with the changes that automation brings

I'll repeat the point: We have 250 years of experience of jobs disappearing to automation.

The counterintuitive result is an enormously increased living standard for regular people. It's hard to compute by how much, but economists who try come up with a factor of 20x to 30x.

Why would a 250 trendline to still hold relevance after the introduction of the transistor and the network?

I don't think modern society is in any way ready to reoptimize for the accelerating displacement that robotics and ai bring.

We've had automation of physical tasks for a long time. Automation of mental tasks is a whole different ball game. People who think we're seeing more of the same game have no idea. You can't compare a machine being stronger/faster than a person to a machine being smarter than a person.

It's not the same thing, and we aren't ready for it, partly just because people don't recognize the difference between the two.

A lot of mental tasks have been automated away. Pen and paper to slide rule to electronic calculator etc.

Well, the calculation has been automated away. before now, you still needed a semi-competent person to input the values for computation. Now a computer can start to do that. We'll see things like computer vision tools that can estimate concrete order volumes based on a couple quick looks into the forms.

You talk like the transistor was invented last week. Computers have taken away mental jobs for half a century now.

That era has lifted the greatest number of people out of poverty in history. Employment and income keeps going normally.

I agree that it's possible that this trend will break. But be aware that all through these 250 years, people have constantly predicted this, and always had plausible arguments for why "this time it's different".

>and good for us software engineers

Wait till the software engineering jobs are automated away.

> We repeatedly automated the majority of jobs on the planet every few decades and we saw the largest expansion of wealth and prosperity for the majority of humans in all of history.

A lot of that wealth was obtained by unsustainably extracting our planet's natural resources. The past 100 years have been good, relatively speaking, but we did it in part by mortgaging our descendents' futures for many generations to come.

If market shifts are state transitions, each state is better than the last, but the transition is painful.

To alleviate the pain of the transition, sometimes we need to slow it down. The tough part is figuring out how much drag to apply so that it slows but doesn't halt.

Because it's not the same? People moved from subsistence farming to factory work because there were jobs, and they didn't require a whole lot of specialized skill or training to do. Now those factory jobs are going away, and there isn't anything really taking it's place.

There was a graph not to long ago that showed the most common job in each state. In a huge swath of them, that job was "Truck Driver". What're those people going to do to put food on the table or a roof over their family's head when those jobs are automated away?

My point is it's never the same. No two technological advances are the same. We should be celebrating the fact that labor-saving tech is freeing us from mundane jobs. The goods produced by those jobs will be cheaper for everyone. Technological progress always brings jobs that require more skill, yet somehow over the last two centuries we have always had room for unskilled workers.

Now, I'm not some heartless jerk who doesn't recognize that the short-term effects of job loss on unskilled workers. It is certainly a hard problem, but I'm still not convinced that we will have some epic labor shortage because all unskilled jobs will vanish too quickly.

What does it matter that the goods are cheaper if you don't have a job to provide income to purchase said goods?

And while labor-saving tech is, overall a good thing, there are lots of people still counting on those mundane jobs to put food on the table. And so far, no one is willing to think of what happens to them, or prepare for when those jobs go away. And if we don't do that, if we rely on "the market" to do the right thing, we will see that epic labor shortage which leads to the dystopian future.

You realize that you could have made the same argument over the past 200 years? "Who'll buy all the farm produce when there are no fRm workers left?"

The difference is massive economic growth between the industrial revolution and today. Jobs lost to industrialization were quickly replaced as the economy grew exponentially in size and complexity.

Today growth is very anemic owing to market saturation and declining birth rates.

> There was a graph not to long ago that showed the most common job in each state. In a huge swath of them, that job was "Truck Driver".

That was bogus, it had to do with the fact that "Truck Driver" didn't have fine-grained sub-classification in the taxonomy, while jobs like "teacher" did.

Similarly suspect statistics put the average age of commercial drivers at 55 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-14/2014-outl...

The average 55 year old has nothing to fear from semi-autonomous vehicle technology affecting their careers

I would argue it's because of the scientific revolution, not the free market. Science is what got us all the great stuff. Why? Because even the Soviet Union, which was not market based had huge advances in industry and science.

To say this is because of the free market, when most technology development is heavily government funded, even in the USA is just plain wrong.

Production efficiencies have been driving human civilization since the very beginning when humans were wandering around in small hunter-gatherer bands. This round of automation won't be the ruin of humanity much the same as it has been for the last 5000 years.

Of course not in the long term but it's worth thinking that losing entire classes of jobs containing millions of people in a decade might have seriously detrimental effects for some time.

In a democracy, one negative consequence of fast job loss followed by poverty is the election of populist leaders and governments. We have recently seen a prominent example of this phenomenon. If the reduced quality of life of the affected people isn't addressed, their reaction will likely become even less pleasant.

You seem to use 'populist' as a pejorative term. I would suggest that populism can be a good thing. I'm opposed to Trump, but not because he's populist. I'm not even sure he is a populist, since I don't believe he or his administration have any real concern for the democratic masses; they're riding a populist wave out they're out to gain power and wealth for themselves. This contrasts strongly with, e.g., the New Deal or Civil Rights reforms, which were real populism.

"populism" without a modifier is quite often used in the specific sense in which others use the more specific "authoritarian populism"; that is, demagoguery which features use of populist rhetoric to build support for authoritarianism.

This can be a source of much confusion because it is often unclear from a single encounter whether someone criticizing "populism" is an elitist opposed to politics genuinely directed at the interests of the masses, or simply warning of authoritarian demagoguery.

But is impeding change helpful or harmful? There is something to be said for mild conservatism taking slow deliberate steps forward, but it's very easy to create false economies protecting an obsolete past and impeding progress.

Is it an either/or? Surely you can choose to accept a fast rate of change and also try and do something practical about the consequences at the same time?

Describe the new jobs which can not be automated in the near future.

Sounds like a good job for AI.

> Maybe, but don't forget to factor in the relative quality of the jobs that are being replaced.

Retail vs Warehouse? I don't think it's much different in quality.

A ton of Retail is Warehouse anyway, just inside a store with customers vs a building with robots.

I suspect working in an Amazon warehouse is much more physically intensive with commensurate increases in injuries and other job-induced ailments as compared to most retail jobs.

You are thinking of retail as cashiers, because that's what you see.

But a lot of retail jobs involve the stockroom with heavy boxes and crates, and a lot of bending and lifting to put products on shelves.

And much of Amazon jobs involve retrieving lightweight items from shelves to put in a bin.

The jobs are not that different.

> And much of Amazon jobs involve retrieving lightweight items from shelves to put in a bin.

Haven't they transitioned all their warehouses to the model where the person stays stationary, and robots bring product to the person? Or is that only in selected warehouses?

That's not to say standing in one position is any better or less stressful (might even be more so, if you've ever seen videos of the robots in action on the floor).

From the videos I've seen, different warehouses do different things.

I think that packing the shipping boxes is still all manual in all the warehouses.

I chose not to shop at Amazon after returning to the US. To me it felt like the new Wal-Mart (which I stopped shopping at around 2009).

Their business practices are terrible and their boom has really hurt everyone not in tech in their home of Seattle.

They're another piece, but quite a large piece, in a consumption based world that's simply not sustainable. We are in a world today where we simply buy things, all the time. Companies like Amazon have a vested interest in ensuring we never stop making purchases.

Not exactly. It turns out, AMZN cuts 4 jobs for any 1 job that it adds. The full report is truly alarming and has pretty disturbing implications for the overall economy: https://ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ILSR_AmazonRepor...

I was reading the report because I was interested in the net effect that Amazon has on the retail job market. But I am disappointed at how poorly the report is written.

For instance, the claim of the 4 job cuts for every job that Amazon creates is based on the following statistics: the number of new hires at Amazon in a certain period, against the number of jobs lost in the brick and mortar retail industry in the same period.

Apparently the assumption is made that every single job loss in the brick and mortar retail industry is to blame on Amazon. As if Amazon is the only Internet retail shop in the USA. The rest of the report is full with other weak claims and sensational titles as well. It appears that the writers had their conclusions already made up before they started investigating ...

I think Macy's announced 4K last January and in January 2017 announced 10k job cuts. Not sure about Sears but I saw a 5400+ number as it closes low performing stores.

> Love how the free market works!

1. it's not a free market. that was a thought experiment actually. there is no such thing as a free market, and even if there was, the U.S. economy isn't one.

2. market fundamentalism is unbecoming

>Love how the free market works!

I don't. Being forced to sell your labour in order to survive doesn't sound all that good to me. Nor the environmental damage due to pursuit of profits.

What kind of a system doesn't involve selling your labour (that doesn't include selling somebody else's labour) ?

you left off an important clause of what s/he said

> Being forced to sell your labour in order to survive

we sell our labor because we live in a complex society where our skills our specialized and our lifestyle is massively interdependent. we need to use the money abstraction to mediate trades because of our specialization and interdependency. thus we sell labor. selling labor for profit, for providing specialized services to your community, or for the pure joy of it is one thing. selling labor from a position of alienation and need for subsistence is another.

an advanced industrial economy has much more productive capacity than is needed for pure subsistence levels of existence. we could supply survival essentials to everyone in the U.S. and still be hugely in the surplus. UBI is a popular idea among economists for exactly this reason. it's a proposed solution to a major problem of distribution of wealth.

Any system in which you sell product of your labour instead.

Communism, in which you recieve the fruits of your labour.

Why should communism get a leash when the real world examples have consistently shown that they lead up to corruption as well as unregulated free markets ?

>when the real world examples have consistently shown

There are many valid critiques to be made of governments which have attempted to implement Communism or Socialism, I'm not here to defend them, merely to propose that their failure does not, at least necessarily, implicate Communism. Furthermore by the same logic, I cannot see why capitalism ought to be get a leash when the real world examples have consistently shown that it leads to exploitation and recklessness or active harm to the environment globally and locally, and the resulting inbalance of wealth leading to poverty.

Capitalism is no meritocracy. It's better than feudalism, and that's about it.

I am not saying either one should get a leash. Almost everyone who is against capitalism point to the real world problems with it but talk about an "ideal communist society" as an alternative.

If comparisons are being made, they should be done so between "ideal capitalist society" and its alternatives.

> Almost everyone who is against capitalism point to the real world problems with it but talk about an "ideal communist society" as an alternative.

Almost everyone I encounter that opposes the slide back toward 19th century capitalism from mixed economies favors maintaining mixed economies with basically capitalist property rights, with very minor additional compensatory measures to treat some of capitalism's failure modes. You can find people supporting classical utopian Marxist ideas (or the divergences from it rooted in Leninism) but they seem to be o creasingly rare even as a proportion of critics.of capitalism.

self-sustaining micro- farming, energy generation/harvesting and manufacturing. /r/Futurology for more.

> Love how the free market works!

Bet you'll love it a lot less when Amazon has eliminated most competition and will start increasing their margins to pay back shareholders.

>Love how the free market works!

are you being sarcastic dude

You should probably find and share the number of jobs lost by Macys, Sears, etc, before making that assertion, otherwise, it is difficult to have any reasonable confidence in what you say.



I thought it was pretty common knowledge that traditional B&M consumer goods retailers have been struggling for a long time.

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