Sounds miserable. Id shut down too if I was losing money with only 1 client.
If this were freelancing it’d be like having to be always available for one client 40 hrs a week, but not knowing if you’ll get to bill 5 hrs or 50… while your rates constantly decrease. There’s no point in having this business
And presuming you keep delivering, impressing people, and gaining more skill and experience, it just goes up and up and up.
Like anything else, it is much harder if you are on the bottom rung.
Some people claim it's done intentionally to prevent workers from working other jobs where they might get tired or escape the first job.
The other part might be just the organic result of shoving the complications of varying hourly load and varying worker availability week-to-week onto those willing or desperate to work extra hours.
Schedules get jumbled, work hours get fragmented like a garbage collector's memory management without a compaction step.
Much of the "middle" (or upper middle, however you want to label it) class's luxuries are based on goods and services being cheap enough due to the people at the bottom not having a choice but to deal with unsteady income and changing schedules.
I am actually enjoying stores and restaurants closing early because they do not have enough employees, or prices going up so that people cannot constantly afford to eat out. It means there are people that can finally be home with family at dinner time, or if they are working, they are earning a premium for evenings, nights, weekends, etc and perhaps they themselves will be able to enjoy those services.
FTA: "The incident is notable as it appears to be the first public example in the United States of Amazon delivery service partners, small businesses that deliver packages exclusively for Amazon"
This is the program for Amazon Delivery Service Partners https://logistics.amazon.com/
Seems to me it's basically Amazon Flex but for people with capitol who want to be able to get up and started with their "own business." But when you join you can't contract for anyone else.
I don't really understand this. Amazon can't "strong arm" you unless you let them. If Amazon "requires" you to dump your other clients, you can also "require" that such a clause means they must offer compensating guarantees and more money.
Don't start a business where the business plan is to have only one customer, or at least if you do, don't complain when they realize they have you over a barrel.
This is great advice, such good advice that it should be given over and over.
Unfortunately, there is someone out there who hasn't heard it yet. Amazon will just shop and shop until they find that person.
[x] - https://xkcd.com/1053/
That's why you READ THE CONTRACT before signing it, because they can't do that unless it is in the contract. It's the whole point of a contract.
Now, if you don't like the terms in the contract, negotiate. Yes, you can negotiate. Yes, you are entitled to negotiate. Yes, you are a sucker if you accept the other party's opening default contract.
But that's exactly the point of the system Amazon set up. They don't want to deal with UPS/USPS/etc.
Contracts work, they're a great leveler.
P.S. The breach was so bad, my lawyer took the case on contingency.
How is anybody supposed to craft a business plan when Amazon can't guarantee what sort of business you're gonna do, and also change it for whatever reason they like?
I am altering the deal... pray I do not alter it further [MANIACAL LAUGHTER emanates from THE FLYING FOX]
It's risky to ramp up the business when the one customer may (and will probably) stop ordering abruptly.
also, why don't consumers spread their amazon purchases evenly throughout the week? :)
What does their contract with Amazon say? Who would sign a contract that permits "constant abusive changes"?
You may have heard the story about the Colo/ISP that signed up a large new customer (you know the name) with 95th percentile pricing for IP traffic and unlimited power to the cage? The ISP signed a contract that said 95th percentile pricing and expected the usual usage curve, the customer made sure the curve was a very different one. And used (much)_more power in the cage than the ISP had ever seen, too.
Common advice is "put the expectations in the contract". For a significant sized ISP, this shouldn't have been the first dance they were invited to.
For example, when I bought an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, I made sure the contract stipulated when the rates would be adjusted, and what formula would be used to adjust them. Not "whenever the bank wanted to change them, and to whatever rate they wanted to."
If some other delivery company can figure out how to make it work economically, then they can do the work instead.
If nobody is interested in trying to make it work, Amazon will have to either improve the deal it offers or go back to using FedEx/UPS/USPS.
Not really. These companies are basically committing suicide, because Amazon is in such a dominant position. The way is should be is that they could have put pressure on Amazon much earlier, instead of being forced into such extreme action.
Nothing will change. Amazon will just shift to exploiting a different group of suckers through Amazon Flex, or go back to UPS for awhile until the lessons learned from this dissipate. It's not like there's a club of past & future delivery company operators that meets regularly, to keep the knowledge of how bad it is to work with Amazon alive. As the saying goes: "a sucker is born every minute."
“National Delivery Drivers Union” sounds pretty good to me for a name.
If you want to negotiate with leverage against Amazon, you need to actually have the leverage.
Why is collective bargaining so weak in this industry?
I think because small companies, not workers are the actors here. If the companies themselves got together, it might be interpreted as some kind of illegal cartel. However, it's kind of interesting to consider the idea of a union of small companies (that's permitted only because they're too week vis-a-vis their customers/vendors that they can be explioted, akin to most employee/employer relationships).
Also, if you quit the business, why would keep participating in an organization that has no more relevance to you?
No workers, no delivery company.
Actually, they're called the teamsters and they've been around since the 1800's.
The Independent operators are shuttering in protest rather than keep suckling.
Briefly: lack of solidarity.
This already exists. It's called The Teamsters, and was formed over a hundred years ago by people fighting many of the same problems that modern "gig" delivery drivers face today. But because companies like Amazon and Uber pretend they're strictly technology companies, people don't put the two ideas together.
(A "teamster" is someone who drives a team of horses. Think "stagecoaches" and "goods wagons.")
There's one important nuance missing in all this and that is that the Fleet contractors, those who own and operate the ProMaster and MB step-vans, they are "independent operators" who are sole suppliers, totally beholden to Amazon. I suspect it is extremely limited to what extent they can leverage any power against amazon, aside from of course striking the means of production, likely forfeiting their work.
The arrangement makes these events, to my mind, look like a much bigger sacrifice than it would in a normal market. I mean, just like you said, they up and closed shop rather than keep milking this cow! Maybe it's a bit sour.
From what I can gather, the fleets are assigned routes and duties, and are prohibited from using their capital (The blue Amazon fleet vans) for other business prospects, obviously. This makes sense because it says AMAZON on the Van, and the Drivers wear Amazon uniforms. But these are ostensibly independent small businesses.
Amazon, I believe, does front the capital expenditure for the vehicle acquisition, and they also require the maintenance to be accomplished on schedule or they levy a fine. The Operators take all the busines and insurance and training and health risks, and I'll bet there is no stipend for "PTSD from 5 more unreportable near miss accidents today." I worry that there is nobody with this kind of fleet logistics experience overseeing these operations.
When Amazon decides to re-organize routes, the truck operators may find they are operating at a now reduced revenue stream, with no alternative but to acquiesce. Their fixed expenditures don't change too much, and while they still need to maintain the fleet and make choices about that, their payroll, etc with the added uncertainty of whether or not Amazon is gonna throw them a bone, I have witness that they are cutting corners.
They can't liquidate the vehicles, because they are now drastically devalued from normal depreciation, Amazon branded (probably bonded somehow) and these things are pretty banged up. Also, I digress--the ProMasters kind of suck, but they do seem to keep cranking for now.
It may be that perhaps those operators who cannot adjust to the required efficiency in operations should go under, forfeiting their start-up capital, but Amazon deigns the start-up worthy or not, and bequeaths the start up cash to these guys and gals. Amazon can leverage their incredible reputation, stock value, and cold-hard liquid cash to get the best deal on credit in a market where the interest rate is Zero. I don't know what the operators pay--but becha it ain't zero.
I feel uncommonly conflicted about this arrangement.
I remember when this program came out and it was an exceedingly bad deal on the surface. I was surprised to see anyone buy into it.
I have no actual firsthand knowledge about this program, but I wonder if part of it was an appeal to (for lack of a better term) some people's ignorant individualist optimism (e.g. the idea that other people will fail because they're slackers, but they can succeed because they're smarter, can work harder, etc.).
Amazon could do whatever corporation thing they have to do to spin up a new business unit (to avoid this is probably why they are doing it in this honestly scam-ey way...but hey) and take on the payroll, benefits, training, compliance and overall insurance risk. Then, they can organize these "Logistics Companies" into something that looks more like a property management firm.
1) They need to create a national fleet account to charge and manage the vehicles services
2) They need to run the payroll and sign the check for their driver employees and warehouse logistics people
3) Create a property management agreement and designate a sort of foreman for the warehouse distribution operations. The existing Amazon delivery partners are well positioned to do this.
4) Make clear the relationship and own the vehicles. If they do not want to own the vehicles, they can make the "Logistics Companies" be like an Enterprise or Hertz self-branded fleet company.
5) Engage in a dispatch and planning program, and surely delegate this role from Amazon to the local logistics outfit.
This will afford a lot of flexibility and take the burden off of Amazon of managing the dynamic local environments that they clearly don't want to touch.
The fact that they don't do this leads me to believe that they really just want a bag man to take the blame when some old lady take an Amazon smile to the side of her walker and splatters on the pavement.
Sorry for the grim ending. I really, really worry that the captain of the ship is some kind of overheating GPU in us-west.amazon.com or something worse, like an Iridium-connected Alexa skill in the ceiling fan of the ship head on "The Flying Fox".
I guess this is one way to get around regulation of Uber-style independent contractor regulations. I have no idea why someone would start a company this small doing a commodity service with Amazon as your only customer, especially considering Amazon's reputation.
People can find other work.
If suckers are happy, they aren't suckers. Of they aren't happy, they should refuse the job.
Amazon can pay for what they need or shut down.
The answer may simply be spreading the word.
No, markets don't self-regulate. Companies won't stop working with Amazon across the board, and those that do will be replaced by companies willing to work for less, because they're full of people willing to work for less.
We know that's how this works. We know that people and organizations alike (since they're run by people) under this system don't have libertarian principles, let alone the will power to stand up for them.
Most people do not, in fact, feel the sense of righteous indignation needed to make such decisions, nor the ability to freely disassociate from sources of income, because they'll quite literally end up out in the street if they do, so they go along with anything, and rightly so, because survival comes first.
The only force that has the ability to stop powerful corporations from exploiting people in this way (hiring those willing to work under terrible conditions, for terrible pay, etc.) is the state, with its monopoly on violence, by quite literally threatening the executives of the corporations with death or prison time for not complying.
But the same libertarian-minded people who think the market self-regulates also stand against using state power to control the corporations by force.
So here we are. The Profit Motive destroying everything, and a fervent group of people fortunate enough to have the wealth to make independent decisions to disassociate with parties that provide their income lecturing those who don't have that luxury about how they too should make such decisions.
The linked article is an example of the market self-regulating.
This is incorrect. Amazon controls the market, as the indie contractors are created out of Amazon's pockets, and Amazon solely determines the operational practices, business demand and contractual rules.
If you, by "Free Market Self-Regulation", mean "Monopsony Risk-Arbitrage by a Multinational Giant" well, now I'm on board.
Unemployed workers starving to death with their families due to lack of income would also be an example of the market self-regulating.
The market self-regulates, but it often self-regulates to optimize the wrong thing. The people who celebrate that self-regulation usually leave that qualification out, or just deny it completely.
The drivers are evidently employed in some way that makes their market rate that high.
It what way has it self regulated? Amazon could setup a new set of captive small businesses to exploit and nothing will change. It's not like they were actually dependent on these people in any way. It seems like they're running a model that's at least partially about exploiting their vendors' hope and ignorance, and there's a sucker born every minute.
If you start a business with Amazon it's probably a good idea to google other companies experiences.
They're big enough to work around the problem. Take advantage of that a bunch of drivers are suddenly without work, find another company willing to work with them, and soon enough things are back to the way they were at the start.
> No, markets don't self-regulate
Black-and-white fallacy, with a mix of Artificial Dichotomy
> I struggle to grasp how this kind of libertarian vision of the world can possibly be maintained
Appeal to fear, with parts of Ad Hominem (libertarian used in a derogatory sense)
> Most people do not, in fact, feel the sense of righteous indignation needed to make such decisions
> But the same libertarian-minded people who think the market self-regulates
Ad hominem and Appeal to prejudice
tldr; troll is trolling
I am not advocating for Amazon, just wondering if this move is sustainable for the employees while Amazon gets (theoretically) strong armed.
It takes some time, but things will balance. If Amazon is not able to get the product to the consumers, the consumer will leave for the competition that is a bit more expensive, but can.
Shipping is crucial to Amazon's business model. The last mile problem is the vulnerable jugular of the e-commerce industry
This is also why dock-workers unions have historically been very powerful.
I'm certainly not defending Amazon in any way, but trying to understand why so many people are in this position, and this seems like a reasonable explanation.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what the answer might be, except that no one is going to like it in the short term.
Amazon outsources the insurance, health, org, and most of the business risk to these sole supplier contractors. They can choke them to death and just say, "Welp, time to fund another one" until they get the results they want.
Only Amazon can determine which results are acceptable due to these arrangements.
"In April, Amazon announced it would reduce the amount it paid for drivers from $17.25 to $16.00 an hour, according to the letter...Weeks later, Amazon announced a series of raises for its drivers around the country as part of a public relations push following a union drive at an Amazon warehouse"
"Currently, Amazon delivery drivers are expected to deliver upwards of 400 packages a day on 10-hour routes that often extend up to 12 hours."
400 seems crazy, I wondered about UPS. According to Google "At UPS, the average driver makes about 120 deliveries per day, says Jack Levis, the shipping giant's director of process management"
You can only squeeze people so far until they finally step away. The only reason it's being sustained is that people don't have alternative options in many cases and are esentially forced to do it. At some point people will find other options and leave you on your feet but as long as there's a steady stream of desperate people ready to be subjugated to ridiculous working conditions, this will continue.
What about customers? They seem to be happy to ignore how the sausage is made, to have stuff delivered to their doorsteps cheap and fast.
It's made me deprioritize Amazon when it comes to my online shopping.
"We don't like being a customer of the company that clubs baby seals but our customers would leave us if we didn't use the company that clubs baby seals so I guess we should pay up for some more clubs."
It's a pretty glaring example that "free markets" usually aren't, and often unrelated to government intervention. You have information, you have agency, and you have the thing that the other party wants (money), yet you don't feel free to move away from a supplier who you clearly view as unsuitable because that supplier has gained a market position so dominant through exploiting others.
0 - If I am reading too much into your comment, I apologize and don't mean to put words into your mouth.
Well, you can buy it from one of those 'green energy' companies... I dislike the marketing a lot (as though it isn't fungible and you are somehow getting different, greener electricity piped to you than your neighbour) but it does work in the sense that you can shift the needle by buying your (essentially just as not-green as if you paid (less to) anyone else) electricity from someone who has whatever commitment to fund green projects or buy the 'green wholesale' stuff or however it works.
(Not that I do that.)
The budget for one company I worked at's infra -- 4 full racks in two datacenters with power, network, and a dedicated site-to-site between them was $200k over five years plus $3k/mo ongoing costs. The upfront cost was tiny tiny -- they started with a router, two switches and 4 used supermicro blades. That lasted them the first 4 years of their startup. It took two FTEs to manage the full infra and provide a PaaS style thing to the developers.
Curious if you or someone else can expound further on this?
HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27581797
I called Amazon and they of course speak of them like they are some completely separate affiliate that has nothing to do with them. This is despite the fact they say Amazon and deliver only Amazon packages.
That's entirely the point: create a policy to cover your ass, put some schmuck under so much pressure that he's forced to violate it, then blame the schmuck when there's pushback (and try to present yourself as the good guy in the process).
This by design:
Amazon has repeatedly said in court that it is not responsible for the actions of its contractors, citing agreements that require them, as one puts it, to “defend, indemnify and hold harmless Amazon.” Just last week, an operations manager for Amazon testified in Chicago that it signs such agreements with all its “delivery service partners,” who assume the liability and the responsibility for legal costs. The agreements cover “all loss or damage to personal property or bodily harm including death.”
Amazon vigilantly enforces the terms of those agreements. In New Jersey, when a contractor’s insurer failed to pay Amazon’s legal bills in a suit brought by a physician injured in a crash, Amazon sued to force the insurer to pick up the tab. In California, the company sued contractors, telling courts that any damages arising from crashes there should be billed to the delivery companies.
The whole article was pretty shocking to read. I rarely, if ever buy stuff on Amazon now that I know how they've attempted to wall themselves off from responsibility of what happens with these companies.
The issue here is that Amazon is very strictly controlling the drivers, without (directly) employing them. By gig-economy voodoo they try to have it both ways.
Why? Is this just an assertion that there is no difference between big and small things, and that a single mistake is the same as building your business model on mistakes?
So please take up any complaints with your service with them and not our restaurant.
If you think that Amazon should be liable for the actions of their contracted drivers, you would likewise be liable for burning down and destroying your neighbor's houses.
I don't tell the contractor working on my house what tools to use, and the contractor working on my house has other customers besides me.
The Amazon delivery "contractors", though, do do all of the above.
40 packages per hour or 90s per package. No wonder the drivers pee in bottles and work unpaid overtime to keep their jobs.
Even if you lack empathy about the situation of the drivers, the choices Amazon makes can impact you or someone you love and care about very quickly.
It fits with the larger trend of corporations privitizing more profits at the expense of society as a whole.
I mean, sure, people are more likely to die in car accidents, but on the bright side Amazon can run more of their competitors out of business by driving down delivery costs! Great...
There’s a probability of an accident happening. And a probability of it causing a lawsuit and a probability of Amazon having to pay a settlement and a calculation of what that cost is compared to the savings of overtaxing drivers.
Bezos’ background at a hedge fund seems highly relevant to all this.
There's a difference between destroying someone's stuff because you hate your job and just not caring about someone's stuff because you want your job.
Because you need your job, even. It's not just a want.
Yes, obviously both the boss and the enforcer are bad for doing harmful things with an evil mind. That's just not the same as apathy.
What is the difference, when you said you destroyed the packages in each case?
Tossing a cardboard box just doesn't do much the majority of the time.
I've seen so many packages where the box is two sizes too big, and then a smattering of air pillows is added, leaving most of the space empty.
In cities, an Amazon delivery driver might be delivering 5, 10, or 20 packages to the same building.
And in those areas where Amazon is using its own delivery network, UPS packages (non-Amazon) will be far fewer -- often just 1 or a couple or none per day.
So it's not crazy. The Amazon driver might be elivering far more packages but making fewer stops. Also, a lot of those packages are the little white-and-blue padded envelopes, almost more like large letters than packages.
But 200-300% efficiency gains over businesses that have been profitably providing this service for years? Its exceptional enough to warrant being called crazy at first glance.
From the article,
"The two Portland delivery companies are demanding a cap at 250 packages and 150 stops per 8.5 hour route"
Which seems to indicate that they realize that some bundling will occur and accept it as long as there is an upper bounds on both metrics.
In the end a great deal of it comes down to volume per delivery location. If UPS is delivering 1 package per day per location, there's nothing they can do to optimize (except skip locations certain days, which nobody wants). It sucks for them.
Then Amazon comes along with 5 packages per day per location, and it changes the economics completely. By 200-300% is not unreasonable at all.
There's a fact that blew my mind when I first learned it -- that apparently UPS actually loses money delivering packages for Amazon, but makes more profit in the end because the added scale makes it even cheaper to deliver packages for other people. E.g., if it's already dropping off an Amazon package at a location, then it's suddenly much cheaper to drop off the non-Amazon package at the same time.
Then again my monkey brain sucks at statistics and considering the last year or so of my own home usage it is probably close to 1-to-1. And we try to avoid Amazon. So probably a lot closer to those numbers above than I'm comfortable to admit.
Probably not higher than 85% though. And of the rest, the next biggest category is packages from clothing stores like J. Crew, Nike, Madewell, etc.
(Also this isn't including groceries or DoorDash, just talking about traditional packages.)
As with most things like this, the numbers seem scary until you peel back the layers. Not a pass to Amazon as the rest of the article is damning in its own right, but a little less crazy than my initial thoughts.
Do you have any source for this? It seems like a really weird assumption to make, especially given that Amazon will already bundle multiple orders into the same package.
The 400 package number from the article is also specifically cited from this company and we have no idea whether that is a nationwide figure while the UPS comment implies that it is.
But you're still just making an assumption with 0 evidence. I would love to see a distribution of how common multi-package deliveries are, but we don't have that information, and I highly suspect that it's overwhelmingly one package per delivery.
It seems like an exceptionally bad assumption that Amazon is regularly shipping 3-4 items individually rather than bundling them up. After all, they are basically a logistics company at this point.
If we're just making assumptions here, you may as well assume that most Amazon deliveries are to apartment buildings, where the driver just leaves everything at the front desk, there are 200 packagers per delivery, and the driver is only making 2 stops per day.
Also, Amazon has a large number of different warehouses that products are shipped from, and it's quite common for different items/orders to not ship together either for that reason or because some items' availability would slow down the others.
That’s not always been my experience. Just last week, I had three separate orders, all made on the same day, arrive in three separate packages.
Amazon can pick and choose where they have contractors make deliveries (e.g. non rural areas with higher population densities). UPS serves almost everywhere. Additionally, we don't know what hours UPS drivers work in comparison to Amazon drivers.
Anyway, that's what cheap labour does, it leads to stagnation. Why invest in to improve the state of the art when you can throw more bodies at the problem?
There's also the other problem: Jeff Bezos strip-mines the workforce and takes the gains to Washington. Meanwhile his underpaid employees can't invest in their own communities.
Heck, I’ll do one better. Why not pick 1890?
“Workers should be paid less today than in 1969” is a sort of crazy thing to say out loud, but here we are.
That seems like tortured analysis. If you take 1989 which was 20 years after your date, the minimum wage adjusted for today would be $6.78.
And there is no reason whatsoever that pay has ever been or should be tied to productivity. Humans haven't evolved to become better or faster or more adept in a workplace. We have technology. I don't see why I should pay employees more than before because simply because I also invested in some technology that makes allows them to get more work done with less effort. I see no logic in that at all.
"Humans haven't evolved to become better", and neither have CEOs, even though their pay has soared.
As far as "should," yeah, I think pay ought to be on that level. I think it would probably lead to faster growth.
The only tortured analysis is the idea that workers, who are trained for and use more advanced technology, should not get paid according to the productivity they bring in, but their bosses (who didn't invent that technology) should. There's no logic there, either. It's just bargaining power. And if you (as a--hypothetical?--employer) see no reason whatsoever that workers should be paid more when their productivity is higher is exactly why we need a minimum wage to require it.
The only one of these that Amazon has any right to dictate is delivery times (and what they will pay for that delivery). The fact that Amazon has direct control over the contractor’s worker’s pay, and even the ability to fire those workers, is very shocking to me.
Remember, this isn’t a situation like Uber: these are not contractors to Amazon, but employees of independent delivery companies.
I'm so tired of this dumb gig economy that isn't long term sustainable.
The gig economy is good in theory - being able to work a few extra hours freelance when you need some extra cash, but giant scummy companies are trying to pretend that this is what they offer in order to screw over their full time employees.
This isn’t a gig economy thing and there are no contractors / 1099.
Two businesses can put whatever contract provisions into their agreement that they want to as long as laws aren’t being broken.
> In April, Amazon announced it would reduce the amount it paid for drivers from $17.25 to $16.00 an hour, according to the letter.
When what Amazon pays doesn’t cover the statutory minimums, the contract delivery companies have to make up the difference.
If I tell IBM that I am not paying $100 an hour for their crappy consultants and will only pay $20, I still don't employ their consultant.
> In April, Amazon announced it would reduce the amount it paid for drivers from $17.25 to $16.00 an hour, according to the letter. This meant Amazon delivery companies were paying even more for drivers' wages.
To me, it just seems to be a reimbursement rate, not what the driver actually makes.
Reminds me of Papa John complaining giving his employees healthcare would make prices go up 14 cents per pizza. Seriously? Who cares about 14 cents when ordering a pizza...
Amazon's entire value to me is fast delivery. Definitely not lowest prices, and definitely not quality.
According to the article, so far it’s only two delivery companies in one city, not an actual large trend across the country.
When negotiating with providers and vendors at scale, it’s common for some of them to give “no bid” responses or withdraw from negotiations if they don’t think the contract will be worth their time. The only way to find true market rate is to negotiate until some vendors or providers decline or withdraw, which is more or less what’s happening here.
If Amazon was unable to find other market rate delivery companies or unable to deliver the packages themselves, they’d pay more. The article has a heavy anti-Amazon angle, but this is just what market rate price discovery looks like at scale. Amazon deliveries haven’t ground to a halt in the city, so presumably they have a cheaper solution than using these two companies that would only work for higher rates.
> I'd rather have a happy safe driver than a miserable one at the end of his or her rope
> Amazon’s entire value to me is fast delivery
My understanding is that the pace/quantity of deliveries is what makes the drivers miserable so if you want the drivers to be happier and not stressed then relaxing the delivery standards would have the most impact.
Do we really need most of the stuff sold on Amazon delivered in 2 days or less (or even at all)?
With that extra dollar per order, drivers can be paid decently and at a safe pace. 10 deliveries in an hour is an extra 10 bucks per hour, for example. And of course they can hire more drivers to take the slack, since more people would be applying to this better paying, nicely paced job.
But perhaps my head is in the clouds.
So many of the items I order don't need fast shipping and I would gladly take slower shipping (and I do any time the option is available to me). Yet, a lot of the time, the slowest shipping available is next day for something that could come 2 weeks from now and it wouldn't make a difference to me.
Basically, they need to expand their no-rush shipping feature. It's a good idea, just not available that often.
Shareholder ideology can be used to justify all sorts of things, though.
Proper back-handed compliment! I'd agree, but adding on that 'customer service' is a key part of their value offering. To me (n=1), it's their moat. I'd be gone without it.
Walmart online has a nice return system similar to AMZ - actually even better as they will send a pickup to your house for most things. But if you need a human, good luck getting anything done.
Amazon absolutely competes on price. I've seen it myself. If Amazon sells something for a buck cheaper, lots and lots of people will go to Amazon for that something and maybe pick up something else from it's recommendation system they forgot they wanted, etc.
I mean, that's just you and your ethics as a person. Capitalism demands relentless and permanent profit, so capitalist culture is middle-managers doing exactly the opposite of you. Worse, they're in a rat-race against other middle-managers to see who can save the most money. So the system is designed to make sure workers don't get decent wages, feel safe, or happy. The system can't be for relentless profit and kindess to employees, unless pressure from the outside via regulations or collective bargaining. I think the idea that good hearted people at these companies should just generous is a little naive. The good hearted most likely don't get into positions of power and even if they did, they're still playing the same oppressive game everyone else is for their own paychecks. Its greed and short-sightedness, and oppression all the way down.
That is to say, morals can exist even in cutthroat capitalism when consumers demand it. If only people were as pushy about human treatment as we are about animal treatment. We won't buy eggs from chickens stacked together in a box, but have no qualms about buying Iphones or clothes made by humans stacked together in a box.
No it doesn't. Plenty of companies go years without making profit.
Also capitalisms demands are just that, demands, its not a guarantee. If company x can't compete, it will quit. If it thinks it can weather a storm because it will be able to compete in the future, it will. Its not generosity. Its just profit-seeking.
Leaders work every day to create a safer, more productive, higher performing, more diverse, and more just work environment. They lead with empathy, have fun at work, and make it easy for others to have fun. Leaders ask themselves: Are my fellow employees growing? Are they empowered? Are they ready for what’s next? Leaders have a vision for and commitment to their employees’ personal success, whether that be at Amazon or elsewhere.
I'd love for that PR person to drive the route one day and see if they can meet the quota. I can't help but to hear a lot of contempt in her statement.
Not so much words, but the attitude it displays. It lies and stretches the truth to make it look like these companies are behaving irrationally and destructively and that Amazon is the good guy who cares.
It shows contempt for those companies, and contempt for the listener (because they expect us to believe it)
> We’re doing everything we can to support the affected employees
Why aren't you doing the janitors job for a week everytime you think the bathrooms look a bit untidy?
They collect information in a domain (such as delivering stuff to places in a region). They build a detailed map of "easy to deliver" and "horrible to deliver" locations in that region.
After that, they take the "Easy to deliver" places for themselves and get a 3rd party to agree to deliver the rest, typically based on some rate scheme that is coarse to assume "average delivery pain" when in fact they're getting only the impossible delivery list.
He has 70 employees who love working there. In the last 6 months he has had only 2 people leave, and one due to their family moving.
He has a military background and he protects his people like they are his own unit. He deals with all the shit that Amazon throws down at him and builds his own processes and procedures to deal with things like day-to-day route variability.
The drivers work 10 hours a day 4 days a week. He will go in every morning and tweak the routes that the AI designs so that they can finish their 10 hour route in 8 hours, he still pays them for the full 10. Sometimes they will get done in 6 hours and run another route and make 2.5x their wage on the day.
He says the internal Amazon dashboards that track his company performance break due to his numbers. And everyone is making very, very good money with full benefits.
I’ve seen the numbers and anyone losing money running one of these shops is just doing a very poor job hiring, training, and managing the process.
I scoffed a year ago when he told me he was leaving his job to go do this. Since then I’ve eaten my words.
Amazon definitely wouldn't like to optimize that away.
A lot of managers swear if you take too heavy of a hand in making changes it will screw up the model and you get worse and worse routes each morning.
There is apparently an art form to making these tweaks each morning that gently optimizes the routes in a way that doesn’t perturb the model.
I couldn’t tell if this was just mysticism surrounding the black box algorithm or if the manual route changes are actually being saved and perhaps being over-fit in subsequent runs of the route solver.
Why is the consumer or shareholder being asked to solve a legislative problem?
Buying consumer goods shouldn’t be a political statement. It’s just ignoring the actual problem of insufficient legal protections for workers.
If Amazon can orchestrate a scheme in which they subcontract deliveries to absolve themselves of the responsibility for employee health and safety, that is a legal issue, not a “I gusss I shouldn’t order dental floss off Amazon” problem.
I can boycott Amazon immediately, with only a small effort.
I encourage you to do both.
I don't need a lot of things, and I just buy local, or for tech, sometimes Newegg, or again, a local outfit. Hit up Costco once a month, too.
At first it was a conscious choice not to use Amazon, but later it just kind of doesn't matter anymore. If they didn't exist, it wouldn't matter to me.
This was also over the Christmas period, so when I returned it I was asked to pay customs charges (thanks brexit), and it took the guts of a month from the initial order to refund.
You don't know in advance whether you're going to have that sort of experience with a manufacturer, or whrther it will be easy, but with Amazon they accept returns at a post office and you send it to your own country which skiets all the issues above.
In Switzerland I can give any returns just to the postal guy that comes by everyday anyway. Couldn't be more comfortable than that. I rarely have to return anything tho
The ease of the process of doing that varies mightily with sellers.
> In Switzerland I can give any returns just to the postal guy that comes by everyday anyway.
That is definitely not the case in either the UK (pre brexit even) or Ireland. You need to drop the package off, and depending on the seller their preferred return method may be on the opposite side of the city to you, or they might let you drop off at a supermarket.
Anecdotally, the store experience here from Walmart, Target and Best Buy have provided contactless parking lot delivery via app throughout much of the pandemic.
Can't speak for Walmart but Best Buy has a price matching policy and the typical corporate return policy which works fine for me but I'm sure has been annoying for many, just like all corporate policies.
It's so strange to me how defensive people can be over corporations when people are told about the option of boycotting. Just...keep shopping there? It's fine. You don't have to boycott and a mob isn't going to judge you if you don't.
That doesn't mean you have to pretend it's because it's this like inherently impossible thing. It's a capitalist economy and Amazon has won you over. You feel they provide the best options and there aren't any viable alternatives.
In my area there are...but it's just Best Buy and WalMart. "Oh boy, really fighting the power by switching from Amazon to Walmart /s"
I go to Best Buy. Never been crazy about that either but I still don't know at what point we all decided waiting two days was somehow preferable to driving for 10-15 minutes to grab a new PS4 controller or whatever.
Suggesting that it isn't a noble effort to boycott a clearly unethical corporation though just because you don't want to do it honestly just stinks of insecurity over the fact that you buy things from a company that isn't exactly turning out to be ethical.
The situation is far more complicated than that and ultimately each of us get to pick our battles day in and day out. You don't have to pick this one - that's fine.
You also don't need to defend a massive corporation on the basis of their competitive advantage in order to make yourself feel better about not boycotting. Sometimes the point of boycotting is that the competitive advantage has come at some other cost to society which is deemed to be too severe. Do you not agree that Amazon has crossed some ethical lines lately? Because _that_ is the discussion we should be having.
Amazon can, will and certainly already has been known to defend themselves using their vast fortune. Please stop helping them or if you're going to at least go fill out a job application and get paid to do so.
Every item on Amazon is available somewhere else. Every retail / online shopping experience can be contactless these days. You might have to wait 5 days instead of 2 for a package but that can be okay.