Working for Amazon: Better Than Sex, Worse Than Hell (Part 2)

These narratives were assembled from oral and written contributions from Employees J, K, and L, three individuals with recent Amazon warehouse work experience.  All three provided general information, while K related the personal experiences appearing in today’s episode and J yesterday’s.  Employee L contributed editorial suggestions to both parts.  All three employees reviewed the final draft for accuracy and fidelity to their experiences.

I’d like to start out by emphasizing that the thing I found most unique about Amazon was their extremely impersonal management style.  Getting the job was shockingly easy.  No interview – just watch a video telling you how the work is hard but rewarding, then chew on this drug test thingy for 90 seconds or whatever.  Wait a couple months, boom, you’re hired.  Most of us were hired through temp agencies – I was different, I signed up with Amazon directly, but they still had me stop by the temp agency.  So you didn’t have to have any formal qualifications – but at the same time, it was striking how many of the workers had college degrees.

Leaving the job is easy, too.  During orientation, they told us we can quit any time we feel like it and they hope we decide to do other things with our lives besides work at an Amazon warehouse.  I’ve heard that us getting hired through temp agencies makes it easier for them not to pay us unemployment if they fire us, but I don’t really know how that works. 

If people work there long enough (like 14 months or so) they even sometimes get offered cash bonuses ($2K or more) to quit.  It might have been because it was getting close to the time when, if they got laid off, there would have been a legal obligation to pay them unemployment.  However, the managers told us the reason was to make sure everyone who was there had a good attitude.  In any case, we could definitely be treated worse – I’m pretty sure that Amazon’s competitor WalMart does NOT make these kinds of offers.

I hardly ever see my manager – just a few minutes per shift, plus if my pick rate ever falls too low, I might have to have an awkward conversation with a human about it.  There are very few managers per worker, and although I’m not certain, I don’t think they get paid much more than us.  Each year, without fail, the whole managerial staff is replaced.

It’s impressive how the job is organized so as to make time pass more slowly than in any activity I’ve ever participated in.  It’s sort of like how time slows down when you go running.  Or like being trapped in a room with no air.  Or…

Honestly, that’s not a helpful way to deal with it.  Better to avoid thinking about time, avoid thinking about my life, and in general avoid thought.

The meaning of the series title

So why is working for Jeff Bezos better than sex, but worse than hell?

Well, it’s better than sex because there’s no interpersonal conflict, it’s freely available to anyone who wants it, and it’s even more intensely shameful.

As for being worse than hell, maybe you’ll understand once you complete the same task 50,000 times with a scanner monitoring everything you do.

Reminiscences

I’ve met a lot of cool people working here.

A woman from New York told me that back in the day, “when the men ran things,” things were more chill, but “now, with all these women in charge,” the rules are enforced and things suck.  I tried to think of something to say in response, but couldn’t come up with anything.

A black lady I knew was working both a nine to five job and the night shift here in order to make extra money.  I’m not sure how she functioned this way, but she seemed to manage.

Until she didn’t.  She finally got so sick from lack of sleep that her daughter had to call an ambulance.  She ended up losing all the extra money she made by working two jobs instead of one.

A couple had been working together at the warehouse, and when peak season ended, one of them was going to get fired.  The random algorithm decided that it would be him, not her.  She went to HR and pleaded for them to let it be her, since given everything their family does, it would work out better if he was the one working.  They were like, sorry, if we were ever to buck the algorithm, it would set a dangerous precedent.

Some people here have worked in other warehouse jobs, and they say this one is worse.  Talking like that pisses off one of my more muscular coworkers.  “If you don’t like your job, quit!” he declares.  “If you don’t like your life, kill yourself!”

What I learned

I needed money to pay off my debt load, and Jeff Bezos came through for me.  He provided me with honest hard work where I could earn a salary in line with other warehouse jobs.

I admit that with all the questionnaires and the cameras, I did sometimes feel like one among many of Jeff Bezos’ pet human psychology projects, working for His amusement and curiosity and not just His profit.  Maybe I’m only thinking this because I recently watched this speech He gave at Princeton where He said He thought we’d “decode” the human brain soon.  That sort of creeped me out.

But I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.  Life doesn’t owe you anything.  As a wise man once said, if you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t like your life, kill yourself.

Note from Naked Capitalism:  No, don’t! Don’t let bastards like Bezos win.  If you are getting worn down, talk to someone, ideally in person, such as the Samaritans or a church or someone you know.  

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72 comments

  1. jrd2

    If you don’t like your job, change your job. If you don’t like your life, change your life.

    1. ambrit

      Everyone who says this, without a serious dollop of irony, obviously hasn’t thought this all the way through. The inevitable follow up to the first two quips is; “If you don’t like your society, change it.”
      That “change” can take many different forms, some quite “disruptive.”

      1. diptherio

        Change what you can, suffer what you must, and pray for the wisdom to know the difference. Problem is, for some people, their life and their job are something they can change, for others it is something they cannot. It seems unlikely that anyone can tell which is the case for another person.

      2. CroakTheSquattingToad

        “If you don’t like your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss, kill him”

    2. nonsense factory

      If you don’t like the family you were born into, change your family! Find some wealthy people, get yourself adopted. Then you too can inherit wealth. Great idea isn’t it?

      Aristocracy has always been the primary enemy of democracy.

      1. Bunk McNulty

        Mark Twain: “The key to success in life is proper selection of your parents.”

  2. Moneta

    I have not met very many multi-millionaires who thought life didn’t owe them anything.

    Whether they were born with a spoon in their mouth or worked hard, they typically believed they were special.

    1. Northeaster

      As someone who worked for a law firm featured in “The Panama Papers”, I can assure you most of the super wealthy out there inherited it. While the media might glamorize individual self-made wealth, they are in fact very few. It is old-school family money, generational, and it never leaves the inner circle sans a few bucks in various trust disbursements.

      1. inhibi

        I can also attest to this. American multi-millionaire’s love to insert themselves into the self-made myth. It does happen sometimes. To athletes and musicians. The other 99% were usually born into wealth, inherited wealth, and went to a top school because of their wealth.

        Working hard is also relative – staying at an office for 10 hours to make your $300k/year is not my idea of working hard. Its my idea of being a corporate shill. A single mother who works two jobs – now that is working hard.

        A great downfall of American society is the increasing glamorization given to the wealthy. They are given talk shows, sponsorships, book deals. Its getting insane! Its almost like nowadays just being wealthy is good enough to be in the public eye.

        1. RUKidding

          Ha ha. I know a couple who are currently going through a divorce. Husband always acted like a self-made man, who “worked so hard” for his very wealthy life-style. I do believe he worked hard, but he was also white, male, tall, handsome, very smart… and best of all: married into money. That last little trivial detail was never mentioned. Angry divorcing wife – a trust fund baby – has given me the skinny that her father paid off husband’s college debts, plus provided them with a rather large down payment on their first home, which they sold for a very tidy profit.

          Then the father-in-law gifted both his daughter AND the son-in-law annually (for most of their marriage) to the tune of $10k to $14k per year each.

          This guy is the classic “libertarian” who bitches and whines incessantly about taxes and how unfaaaaair it is to have to give on thin dime to support others. Why should HE have to pay for public schools when he chose not to have kids. Blah blah blah… you get the picture. All portrayed as if HE seriously achieved his very high flying lifestyle all on his own by pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

          99 times out of a hundred, this is what you’ll find. Either the person was born into wealth or they got a lot of help along the way through various means.

          But of course, only they “work so hard.” Everyone else is a major lazy slacker with their hands out expecting free stuff.

        2. ben

          For athletes you can’t use fake rules to fake it.

          You hint at the main problem – you can “earn” 300K but you are not *creating* 300K of value. Most corporate activities *appropriate* wealth rather than creating it.

          Until we restore the link between rewards gained and value created our system will continue to get worse.

          Many of the rich don’t want to have this fix in place because they have no talent and as such would get average pay were they not able to cash in on connections and wealth.

  3. Anonymous

    Soon robots will replace these workers, so labor will add more value elsewhere (of course retraining will be needed)

    1. Foppe

      Add value where? In China, they’ve de-technologized a lot of highly capital-intensive production because it’s more expensive than using people (given the size of their labor pool and the lower wages / costs of human reproduction, the first a consequence of their use of eminent domain, etc., to force people to move to the cities, where they will be ground up — i.e., given how capitalism works).
      It may be that robots are preferable here for political / control purposes, but ultimately, this logic won’t hold.

      1. Dead Dog

        Amazon is a job and business destroyer.

        They are working on automating all these picking jobs.

        Humans are just too costly and unproductive.

    2. redleg

      A market needs buyers and sellers. Replace enough labor with robots and the economy collapses from lack of buyers.

      What makes sense for one employer, replacing workers with robots to increase productivity, can do enormous damage when everyone does it.

  4. craazyman

    this isn’t as bad as the one yesterday. Lots of people make sex less shameful by getting drunk in bars. Maybe that’s the way to make the Amazon job less shameful. Drunk.

    it sounds like it might be hard to work drunk. But that seems like a defeatist attitude. For a company as innovative as Amazon you’d think they’d like to find employees who have the skills, attitude and discipline to work drunk. Why settle for less talented workers?. That way when ‘supervisors’ scream at you or flame you with condescending criticism you can flip them the bird and tell them to go fkkk themselves. It’s not that you won’t work, but you want to work drunk because you’re good. If they understood that, they’d be better at THEIR jobs!

    Of course if you’re a retiree, working drunk isn’t as easy as it would be if you’re 25. Let’s face it. Pounding 5 or 6 beers down while you run 12 miles isn’t something you can do well past a certain age. So maybe you’d need an office job at Amazon if you’re retired. Or you’d have to be a supervisor. It sounds easy to be a supervisor, telling people they can’t do this and they can’t do that. Even being the Amazon doctor drunk probably would work. “No, there’s nothing wrong with you. Get back to work or you’re fired.” How hard is that? And if you feel any shame at all, then a) you’re not qualified to work there evidently or b) it’ll be good to be a little drunk.

    Also, as long as we’re rambling, it occurred to me this morning — I wonder how many of the pink pussy hats from the walk last month came through Amazon? That would be hilarious! If you were a drunk redneck walking 15 miles a day boxing pink pussy hats for the march. Think about that for a minute! it makes you want to write a script and make a movie. it could be hilarious, if you do it rite

    1. craazyboy

      “If you were a drunk redneck walking 15 miles a day boxing pink pussy hats for the march. Think about that for a minute!”

      This is so sad it almost makes me want to cry like a baby snowflake! The poor drunk rednecks! I have empathy after all!

      You have motivated me to personally take action and do my part to alleviate redneck pain and abuse. I’m ordering quantity one sex toy dildo, one fake mustache, one pair of fake, black, horn rimmed glasses, and a tube of super glue to glue these items all together.

      If I’m lucky, a redneck with an IQ north of 100 will pull my order and realize it’s a message from a Bernie Bro – glue this stuff together and you have the prototype for the Redneck March funny face dildo nose, fake moustache and glasses mask. Get your warehouse brothers to pull the rest of the stock and make their funny masks. DO NOT ship them to me – I have neighbors. Wear them and march on Washington DC!

      1. craazyman

        You wonder what a social scientist would make of this situation.

        First, would they order their office supplies, computers, pink pussy hats and dildos from Amazon? Or would they just let the university do it? Probably they’d let the university do it for them and not think about it at all.

        Then, how would they model the Amazon warehouse? Would it show up as a model factor? Or would it be the dependent variable? That’s a deep thought. You could almost imagine a multifactor model with pink pussy hats, rednecks, beers per day, liquid net worth starting at $100 and going down to about -$100,000, marijuana purchases, tattoos, anxiety and depression, meth usage, a scale of “total human desperation” — maybe as a Z-score based on survey questions.

        And Then the dependent variable can be days worked at the Amazon warehouse.

        You could do all sorts of social science. then you could either go march against President Trump or you could go to a cocktail party. Either way, you’d be fine.

      2. craazyman

        dude they’re modding me. This is censorship!

        Aaa tiii caaa! Aaa tiii caaa! (that’s an old one if anybody gets it. haha)

        1. craazyboy

          Took a minute for an old aged, fried brain cell to wake up, but here it is?

          Attica Prison riot
          The Attica Prison riot occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, United States in 1971. This riot is one of the most famous and important riots during the Prisoners’ Rights Movement. The riot was based upon prisoners’ demands for political rights and better living conditions.

            1. craazyboy

              Oh yeah! That just woke up an old fried brain cell from 1975. That was a great movie. The kind of movie that would scare old people over 30 back then. They just didn’t understand angry, belligerent young people.

            2. ambrit

              Oh my! I remember how much I liked that movie. There are so many “gems” out there hiding in plain sight.
              What will this “generations” Attica meme be? “Am-a-zon!” It doesn’t sound quite right, does it.

    2. clinical wasteman

      it sounds like it might be hard to work drunk. But that seems like a defeatist attitude. For a company as innovative as Amazon you’d think they’d like to find employees who have the skills, attitude and discipline to work drunk
      The City of London found them for decades, centuries even, although Lloyds Bank, like the state-owned commie enterprise it has been since 2009, recently banned it.
      The real mystery is: how do City headhunters so consistently discover the world’s most boorish, aggressive drunks? Those Social Skills Incubators at private, single-sex English boarding schools + Oxford/Cambridge are truly the envy of the world.
      Curious too that the City is the one part of inner London without rigid bylaws against public drinking and countless cops/”Community Support Officers” and CCTV cameras to enforce them (selectively, of course). And also the only place where all ages have the drinking/fighting habits of 13-year-olds. And where cocaine is the only other drug they understand.
      True story: for reasons too odd to go into, there’s a wonderful left/counter-culture archive depository/organizing centre (Mayday Rooms) on Fleet Street, directly overlooking the Goldman Sachs offices in the old Daily Express building. Late one night a couple of years ago some friends and I were on the top floor there, trying to avoid looking out at the usual Friday spectacle, i.e. a couple of bulky youngish Goldman alumni* stripped to the waist, pink-faced and snorting, getting ready to beat each other to the traditional bloody pulp. Until, that is, a much younger African man (Zimbabwean, it turned out) tried to walk past quietly on his way to somewhere else. At which point the banker-brawlers instantly forgot their quarrel and — without exchanging a word — started badly beating the passer-by instead. He was almost too shocked to defend himself, and in any case the assailants’ combined weight was probably four or five times his own. The posh barbarians only desisted when someone ran out from Mayday and stopped them, at considerable risk to himself. The victim of the racist attack understandably took a while to be convinced that this wasn’t a third attacker joining in the no-fun, especially because the boors (aspiring Boers?) apparently didn’t want to punch a white man (other than each other). One of them ran away; the second was foolish enough to loiter and smirk until the cops arrived, whereupon his piteous bleating about his ruined career, family, etc. could easily be heard across the street.

      *No, I can’t be 100% sure they were from Goldman: could very well have been from KPMG just up the street, or maybe one of the white-shoe law firms around there. But GS is by far the biggest office on that block and must provide something like half the drinkers in the surrounding pubs. And these two did seem to be making a point of staging their original slapstick duel right in front of the Goldman building, as though they needed to be seen (and filmed) there for … no idea really — a “hazing” ritual? a bet?

      1. clinical wasteman

        Please excuse the solipsistic self-reply, but this fell so perfectly into place that it had to be reported. (“I am only escaped to tell thee”, etc., and I swear I’m not making it up.)
        Right after I posted all that stuff about City hooligans and their regular Friday night bloodletting, the revolving ad revolved on the exceptionally modest, unobtrusive (NOT sarcasm!) NC ad sidebar.
        And what came up next was an ad for this London Metropolitan Police recruitment campaign:
        http://www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/directentry/
        The tagline is: “You’ve already led, now LEAD!”
        It’s less clear in the police website link, but in the actual ad it’s unmistakable that the London-wide police force is specifically targeting City/financial sector/other MBA-type executives and is offering to promote them to Superintendent rank immediately on joining. Not sure what the US equivalent would be, but it’s a very high rank, with the few holders responsible for life-and-death (guess which they seem to prefer) decisions. Below are all the multiple grades within the Constable, Sergeant and Inspector levels; above — I think, but please correct if wrong — are only a few Chief Superintendents and the Commissioners who are personally in charge of whole cities or regions.
        Example of a Commissioner: Cressida Dick, freshly appointed as head of all London police. She who was directly in charge of the murder of Jean-Charles de Menezes after four lethal transport bombings in 2005. De Menezes had nothing whatsoever to do with the bombings or the bombers’ nihilo-salafist milieu, but this light-but-not-alabaster-skinned young Brazilian man had been deemed to “look like” a bomber (with “Mongol eyes”, said a “surveillance officer”), and was duly staked out, chased all over South London (his friends say he may have thought he was running from immigration cops) and eventually shot seven times in the head plus once in the shoulder after being completely immobilized (held down flat on the floor by the shooters) but before being warned, in Stockwell Station. (Near where I lived at the time: one of those places where police routinely see all young, imperfectly white or not-white-at-all males as guilty parties.) That mistaken identity should result in summary execution is unforgiveable enough, but Commissioner Dick’s particular culpability lies in ordering the hit squad to shoot to kill AFTER the unarmed “suspect” was already as captive as a person can be. It’s technically a war crime to shoot prisoners in a war zone; what does that make it during putative peace? A police commander who fails to issue orders NOT to do this effective appoints herself ad-hoc Hanging Judge.
        The shooters walked away from an “open” inquest verdict; no action was ever attempted against Dick.
        Then in 2011 there were riots, and some people wondered why.

      2. craazyman

        Wow. That’s the dark side of a Martin Parr photo book.

        Actually that made me think a real photographer (like Martin Parr) should do an Amazon Warehouse photo essay. Lee Friedlander did a Factory book and a 1980s book on office workers. Both were imbued with his essential humanism and sense of humor and both were beautiful, they weren’t sad or despondent really at all. You’d wonder what guys like that would do with “The Warehouse”. God Forbid somebody like Eugene Smith would get let in there.

        If they did let somebody in there, there’s no doubt they’d have bought them off in advance. So it’s probably not likelysomebody whose work you’d want to see would ever get let in.

        1. ambrit

          Hey! You’re an upper quintile mover and shaker. Just take a job in one of the Amazon “Jungles” and do a body cam POV essay. Upton Sinclair would have taken this one on without demur.
          Personally, I think that the subject matter would be appropriate for work by, oh, Duchamp for instance.

  5. paul

    “If you don’t like your job, quit!” he declares. “If you don’t like your life, kill yourself!”

    Straight from Jurgis, at the start of ‘The Jungle’

    1. Liberal Mole

      I guess I can predict the wise co-worker’s decision when he is older, unemployable, with sick children/spouse/parents in a house the bank is about to foreclose on.

  6. Roger Smith

    If you don’t like your job, get another one! Once you realize life is one gigantic bureaucratic mechanization of hopelessness and decadence designed to enslave you while enriching scum sucking cretons like Bezos, burn it all to the ground.

    1. jrs

      If you don’t like your job get another one, it too will probably suck!

      (of course in many cases where one can it does make sense to get another job, it may be better in some ways, however in very basic ways they are all the same – capitalist workplaces were not designed for the worker after all. Plus there is the problem of incomplete information, it is very hard to tell whether a new job will actually be better or worse as companies are not upfront with all the information one would need to make a truly rational decision – the hours, the abusive conditions, etc.. So it’s always kind of a gamble)

  7. vlade

    “It’s impressive how the job is organized so as to make time pass more slowly than in any activity I’ve ever participated in”
    Maybe should hire Dunbars?

      1. Mark Alexander

        Thank you for the Samuel R. Delany reference. I’m dating myself here, but I became a huge Delany fan in high school right around the time that story first appeared.

        1. Mark Alexander

          It also occurs to me that working in an Amazon warehouse might be described by another Delany story title: “We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line.”

          1. ambrit

            Oh, you put me to the test!
            Off on a tangent though, I would consider the conditions described to also accurately be described by a work by J. G. Ballard; “The Wind From Nowhere.”
            Glad to see that the Old Masters are not forgotten. Sadly, writers, like the Gods in a Fritz Leiber story, tend to exist only so long as someone worships them.

            1. Mark P.

              ‘Sadly, writers … tend to exist only so long as someone worships them’.

              Hey, Delany’s still alive and still has independent corporeal existence.

              1. ambrit

                Gadzooks sir! Of that I was grotesquely unaware. My apologies to the “Old Master.” I grovel sir, I abase myself.

  8. curt

    Side note: One of the insidious effects of being hired through a temp agency is that you can’t even put the company name on your resume. After all, you were never hired.

    Corporate culture is strangling us all.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      When did “employed on contract by…..” become illegitimate language in a resume? Or “employed via third party contract by….”? Or the like. I always made sure the “end user” was somehow identified in the language in my resume.

  9. roadrider

    What a success story for the techo-libertarians. Dehumanize work so that those that have can consume more worthless junk faster and cheaper and parasitic squillionaires can get even wealthier and buy off more two-faced political grifters who will slobber all over them, grant them preferential tax status so that local, brick-and mortar businesses are wiped out and proclaim them the future as they destroy jobs, lives and communities.

    “if you don’t like your job quit”

    Yeah, sure. As if anyone would put themselves through that torture if they had other choices.

    In another time and place Bezos could have been Adolf Eichmann.

  10. jefemt

    Enlightening and depressing two part article. Thank you! It would be useful and convenient to have a link to part one embedded in part two. By the way, show of hands of those who buy very little on line, and have nevah, evah bought from Amazon Anyone?

    Starve the beast, vote with your pocket book… eschew stuff, Minimalize…. And Bezos owns the WaPo? Gawd, these are bizarre dark times.

    1. Susan

      My son worked for AmazonFresh in Seattle as a “manager.” It was as bad for management, as all the head office wanted to know each week was who will quit and who to fire. Yes, all based on the “algorithm.” He worked 10 hour shifts in a refrigerator. Lasted 9 months. Hated it. The description of his work helped me understand that it is truly what I’d imagined it had to be. That company is indeed the “invisible” Walmart. It’s soul crushing. Yeah, I never ever purchase anything from Amazon. And rarely if ever read WaPo.

      1. berit

        On principle I never buy anything from Amazon. We still have locally owned bookstores in my small town in southern Norway – and very helpful staff at the local library. Once in a while I order a new or special book from the The Book Depository, but know nothing about the company, if people are treated as people, not like disposable robots…?

        1. H. Alexander Ivey

          Sorry but I just have to put in my 2 cents here for ABE books (www.abebooks.com). It’s a network of used bookstores (often selling new ones too) where I turn to for my on-line book purchases. Only books, but that is a start, for non-Amazon purchases.

          And to show my true snobbish background: no book purchase is “eschew stuff”; well, not if you have a big enough house…

    2. Outis Philalithopoulos Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion, jefemt. The two parts now link to each other.

    3. JustAnObserver

      Not quite nevah. Just once in early 2008 I used it to buy a book. Given what was going on then and had been for a year or more I decided that it was time to re-read JK Galbraith’s “The Great Crash of 1929” & I couldn’t find my previous copy.

      Irony #2: It took a long time to arrive (*) & it finally arrived on the day JP Morgan announced that with Fed support it was acquiring the carcass of Bear Stearns for $2/share.

      (*) Message from Bezos-land was “due to increased demand shipping of this item is experiencing some delay”.

    4. AnnieB

      Have no excuse, but thanks to the articles will rein back my Amazon consumerism. Hope the article spreads far and wide. Thanks.

    5. jrs

      The problem with buying anything in stores is all they carry is cheap Chinese junk anymore. There are whole stores with almost nothing that isn’t made in China. I guess buying online from a manufacturer is an option.

  11. PKMKII

    They were like, sorry, if we were ever to buck the algorithm, it would set a dangerous precedent.

    The Algorithm shall not be questioned! The Algorithm is all-knowing, all-powerful, with purity of objectivity and purpose! ALL HAIL THE ALGORITHM!

    1. diptherio

      Translation: we might get questioned for going against the algo; we definitely will not be questioned if we go along with it.

      1. Pickles

        “Maybe you could fire me, instead,” Carol suggests.

        The manager laughs, twitches, looks at the door, at the ever-present security cameras. Beads of sweat form on his forehead. “I’m sorry, Carol, but we can’t ignore the algorithm.” He leans forward, face contorted, and whispers. “Are you insane? It’s watching us, even now!”

        An electronic eye in the corner of the room dilates, zeroes in on the manager’s face.

        The manager swallows, his throat suddenly dry. His scanner beeps, text flashes across the screen. “I’m sorry, Carol. The algorithm demands a sacrifice in the name of Lord Bezos. Report to row 544B and pull a sacrificial dagger.”

  12. Michael C.

    Such a sad world we’ve created since we’ve made profit our God. I’m an atheist when it comes to that too.

  13. timotheus

    Too bad Engels is no longer alive to write, “The Condition of the Working Class in America.” He could cut and paste parts.

  14. Sally

    “They were like, sorry, if we were ever to buck the algorithm, it would set a dangerous precedent.”

    Slowly but surely nobody must be allowed to think for themselves. A world of bland automatons. From Bezoes warehouses, to the trading floors of the hedge fund managers on Wall Street. When the markets start to fall and these algorithms kick in and push everything downward its funny how they have to short circuit and un plug the trading computers. Never seems to happen when the market is going up. LOL But we mustn’t buck the algorithms!!

    I am more suspicious of this new breed of West and East coast hippie type businessman than the old type. At least the old type didnt pretend to be doing it for the good of mankind, and everything was just awesome with….” new cool features.”

  15. flora

    This series has me mentally comparing an Amazon warehouse job with the corporate job in the movie ‘Brazil’ and with the factory floor job in Fritz Lang’s silent movie ‘Metropolis’. Distopia.

    ‘Shift change’ from Metropolis:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLMp46Ojy5o

    Metropolis had a scientist who thought he’d decode the human brain and create “Maschinenmensch” – AI robots – too.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZShc8oshtU

    I didn’t realize how bad things are in the Amazon warehouses. It’s suprising how closely these stories parallel distopia science fiction. Where is the heck is OSHA?

    This series is necessary reporting and very interesting. Thanks for posting.

  16. Anonymous

    I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods on the economic value of an education. Would this guy not have been better off not going to college? He says either in this piece or the prior one that he was seriously reconsidering his decision to major in English. Does he think majoring in economics would have made any difference whatever?

  17. Not my usual name

    It was a bit different in an Amazon warehouse in the UK a couple of years ago; for starters, they had many ways to get rid of you, no need to bribe you to leave. I can provide a great many words on the topic if you like.

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