Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Secret Lives of Amazon's Elves

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the supply-meets-demand dept.

Businesses 202

theodp writes "If Amazon is Santa, says Gizmodo's Joel Johnson, then the 400 folks living in RVs outside the Coffeyville, KS fulfillment center at Christmas time are the elves. Amazon didn't always lure in 'workcampers' from the RV community with the promise of free campgrounds and $10.50-$11 an hour seasonal jobs. 'Amazon had a bad experience busing in people from Tulsa,' explained tech nomad Chris Dunphy. 'There was a lot of theft and a lot of people who weren't really serious.' Workers from Tulsa were adding a 4-hour round-trip commute to a grueling 10-to-12 hour shift, Cherie Ve Ard added. 'They'd get there exhausted.' The work wasn't exactly what Cherie had envisioned."

cancel ×

202 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30559936)

just dropped a smelly obama. too much pork I guess!

All the elves were already dismissed (-1, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30559998)

They couldn't meet their quota of 140 XBoxes an hour, and had to see their specialist for their dwarfism, but Amazon penalised them a point anyway. But they're okay with it. 14 miles a day on such stumpy legs is a killer!

eh, I'm not crying too hard (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560000)

They accepted terms of employment. A willing employer got a willing employee. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this, if the employees are unhappy they can always get another job, no shortages of those!

Re:eh, I'm not crying too hard (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560072)

You must be new to the USA.

Re:eh, I'm not crying too hard (4, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560278)

He's being ironic with the plenty of jobs. His point is that morality and workers' rights should be set to whatever the market will bear. Since jobs are in demand, it is possible (and ethical) for companies to offer less desirable jobs.

Re:eh, I'm not crying too hard (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560954)

He's being ironic with the plenty of jobs. His point is that morality and workers' rights should be set to whatever the market will bear. Since jobs are in demand, it is possible (and ethical) for companies to offer less desirable jobs.

So you are saying if the economy was better - amazon wouldn't have people packing boxes and picking out items from the shelves?

I think what you meant to say might have been to offer less desirable pay.

Re:eh, I'm not crying too hard (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561006)

I'm only trying to interpret his comment. Consider the middle ground of Amazon finding its jobs less in demand (due to more jobs due to better economy) and needing to increase demand by making more lenient policies, paying more, or both.

Personally I think it's disgusting and thought we had laws against that sort of thing (the 12+ hour days, getting fired for sick leave, overtime at normal rate, excessive quotas, etc) after the Walmart case, but don't know enough to comment fully.

Re:eh, I'm not crying too hard (5, Insightful)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561520)

"Personally I think it's disgusting and thought we had laws against that sort of thing (the 12+ hour days, getting fired for sick leave, overtime at normal rate, excessive quotas, etc) after the Walmart case, but don't know enough to comment fully."

But that doesn't seem to stop you from commenting anyway....

On the positive side at least you express your ignorance.

In general employers have to legally do the following:

Pay overtime for hours worked over 40 hours (non-exempt).
Pay minimum wage.
Provide a lunch period (probably at least 20 minutes) if you work over a set number of hours (probably 5 or so hours).
Provide a break of at least 10 minutes per so many hours (generally per four hours). If you have breaks in your work time that add up to this time, you do NOT have to be provided any specific break time.
A safe work place free from known hazards. No discrimination due to sex, race, etc. See basic work posters.

Various states have greater requirements. The best place to look for those requirements is on the state web page of the appropriate enforcement agency.

The following is not required:
Sick leave
Vacation
Holiday
Time off of any kind (outside of legally mandated FMLA, worker compensation, etc.) Yes, this means they can work you seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Insurance
Pleasant work environment
Reasonable quotas
Etc.

Except where required by law, as noted above.

All of those nice things that people THINK they are entitled to are just that, ENTITLEMENTS. They were negotiated via (union) contract and became standard in the industry or are used to attract superior talent or are done because employers WANT to.

In any case, the working conditions described at Amazon are not bad. Pay is roughly twice minimum wage. Twelve hour shifts, six days a week at peak times would not be unusual-the positions exist to ship the product for Christmas. The attendance/break policy is somewhat petty but considering the typical warehouse/temp employee, not surprising. In any case, having worked in environments like these, these policies are often rather flexible (or ignored). And people whining about heaving lifting in a warehouse, well, DUH!

Basically people are whining that they have to work their asses off for $11 an hour. Most of the crappy stuff that employers do to employees is perfectly legal (and vice versa). Welcome to the real world.

Try to avoid buying things from Amazon. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30561526)

Story summary: Amazon managers decide to sink the company by becoming famous for abusing people.

Certainly from now on I will try to avoid buying things from Amazon.

They could have offered shorter shifts.

Robots (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560030)

Aren't industrial robots able to do most of the packaging tasks Amazon needs done? Given the enormous size of Amazon in terms of books sent, even just one plant catering to the US automated with robots could well make a significant impact on costs/delivery times/etc. Restricting automation to just ordinary books could be a great way to demonstrate methods to calculate the optimal packaging/arrangement per order.

Re:Robots (0)

BrightSpark (1578977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560148)

Yeah, but little girls from Whoville keep getting stuck in them when the Grinch breaks into their secure boxing section - I've seen it on TV so it must be true!

Re:Robots (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560152)

Robots cost too much when compared to low-paid human labor. Also, robotics in such plants are still mostly experimental. I worked at several plants similar as described in the article. They were trying to introduce robots in one of them.

One robot was designated as "beer master". Its sole purpose was to pick beer crates. It usually jammed up at least twice a day. Most of the time it stood idle as the guy on forklift duty couldn't keep up with it.

The second robot (if you want to call it that) was extremely large. It was designed to handle (store, pick, sort and package) anything box-shaped. In the 6 months I was working there I never saw that machine running, aside from a few test runs.

Those very computers that decide the most optimal packing tend to screw up royally when one of the white collars upstairs feeds it the wrong dimensions. I remember my load being considerably oversized on more that one occasion due to someone missing a digit. Nor can they decide if the "this side up" marker can be safely ignored in order to make the load more compact and/or stable.

Robotics (for now) can only operate efficiently when their task contains few variables. Unless designers stop thinking up weird-sized packages and consumers stop mixing products around, the human factor will most likely remain.

Re:Robots (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560494)

Robots cost too much when compared to low-paid human labor.

You know, humans can build robots.

tend to screw up royally when one of the white collars upstairs feeds it the wrong dimensions.

And robots can do white-collar jobs.

Oh, who am I kidding. Americans won't get robots until they are imposed on us by foreign owners. Everyone has convinced themselves that the ideal career involves getting an overvalued degree at some worthless state college, then sitting in a cubicle all day attending meetings and generally doing nothing in an attempt not to upset the delicate corporate balance between the various overpaid idiots in charge of screwing up various aspects of the production process, all the while hoping that we find an excuse to bomb or overthrow the developing country du jour before the company is put out of business by lower-paid overseas competitors.

Re:Robots (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560904)

If robots worked as well as humans, we would not be using humans. Robots fuck up all the time. They are not nearly good enough to perform anything but strict sequential instructions. You need more than that in warehouses etc, and the thing that is killing warehouse jobs in the west is not new world efficiency, it's new world low wages. Manufacturing is a lot simpler than distribution, but it is still not simple robotically, nor cheap. Put simply : Robots do not increase efficiency in 99% of the applications they supposedly could because they are stupid.

ps. I do often work in a tyre warehouse

Re:Robots (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561220)

Even if a robot worked 100%, it doesn't mean all humans are useless. Moving parts wear out, metal expands and contracts out of calibration, heavily loaded parts get fatigued, screws work loose, lubricants degrade. So, no matter how good the robots are, they need to be put offline to be recalibrated, replacement parts installed, bearings repacked and regreased.

Of course, minor adjustments may require major software modifications. I'll use the common tape robot as an example. Say one is made to take AIT cartridges. To make it work with DLT media would take a major recalibration, if it would even be possible.

This isn't to say robots are important, but in no way they can completely replace humans, as someone has to service them when (not if) they fail.

Re:Robots (3, Insightful)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560790)

At the end of a conveyor belt, a worker took castings, turned, and removed the sprue with a punch press.

A salesman came in and said that there were neat advantages with a robot : It would never come in late, organize the shop, chase your wife, or sue. They bought one.

What was not mentioned was that the robot was perfectly willing to have its hand in the way of the press.

Now the worker takes castings and walks around the robot.

Re:Robots (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560174)

Robots might make sense to handle their routine volume, but the holiday rush is probably cheaper to handle with humans which don't require the large capital expense.

Re:Robots (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560470)

Robots might make sense to handle their routine volume,

I think not. From what I know of industrial robots, they can do repetitive tasks, but have no adaptability. Good on assembly lines [youtube.com] , but useless when even the most basic decision-making is required.

I have to wonder what Amazon was thinking, building such a labor-intensive operation four hours from the nearest major labor pool.

Re:Robots (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560628)

Taxes?

Re:Robots (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560708)

I think not. From what I know of industrial robots, they can do repetitive tasks, but have no adaptability. Good on assembly lines, but useless when even the most basic decision-making is required.

I don't think that's true anymore, if you can make a reasonable parametrization of the task then robots do it. Like they can handle any x*y*z package within reasonable bounds but not oddly shaped stuff and things like that. We might be far away from the general household robot, but they do have a lot more sensors and rely more on those than the old "blind" robots who'd to the same operation no matter what was happening.

Re:Robots (2, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560802)

but useless when even the most basic decision-making is required.

So don't let them make any decisions. Stick a bar code on everything as it comes in and weigh it. Let the robots do the multi-mile treks around the factory, and all they have to be smart enough to do is scan a bar code and double-check the weight.

Robots are used at Newegg [anandtech.com] , for instance. It's just that sizing the costly capital equipment for the peaks probably would increase the payback period by quite a bit! Better to use seasonal workers.

I have to wonder what Amazon was thinking, building such a labor-intensive operation four hours from the nearest major labor pool.

It looks like they took over a former Golden Books warehouse. I have no insight, but a glance at the map shows that it is smack in the middle of a bunch of area population centers - kind of the center of mass of Wichita, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Springfield.

Re:Robots (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561130)

OK, I stand corrected on the robots. Though "robot" is probably the wrong word.

I have no insight, but a glance at the map shows that it is smack in the middle of a bunch of area population centers - kind of the center of mass of Wichita, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Springfield.

Did you miss the part about workers not being able to handle the 2-hour commute from Tulsa? According to Google Maps, Wichita and Springfield are 3 hours, and OC is 4. They may be in a part of the country with a lot of population centers, but they're not close to a single one of them.

Re:Robots (0, Offtopic)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561136)

That's funny, I always wondered what Hitler did before he got into politics.

Re:Robots (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561252)

Back in the 30s, lots of guys had toothbrush mustaches. My grandfather had one. Der Fuhrer made them unfashionable, along with racism.

My family used to have this big photo of him hanging in the front entry. Once somebody asked me why we had a picture of Hitler. Which was sort of funny, because the photo was his official portrait as the head of a Jewish fraternal organization.

Re:Robots (1)

sean_ex_machina (1026748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561502)

I have to wonder what Amazon was thinking, building such a labor-intensive operation four hours from the nearest major labor pool.

Distribution centers are often located way out in the middle of nowhere because that's where the cheapest land is. They don't need to be near a major population center unless they are looking to staff the place with skilled labor, which they aren't. After all, the Coffeyville area certainly does seem to have enough of a population base to support Amazon's operations most of the year.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560292)

Aren't industrial robots able to do most of the packaging tasks Amazon needs done? Given the enormous size of Amazon in terms of books sent, even just one plant catering to the US automated with robots could well make a significant impact on costs/delivery times/etc. Restricting automation to just ordinary books could be a great way to demonstrate methods to calculate the optimal packaging/arrangement per order.

Wow! I'm sure all these billion dollar companies are so grateful that they have all these Slashdoters to show them the inefficiency of their business in a 30 second post!

There are plenty of reasons robotics wouldn't be more cost effective than just hiring cheap labor... Installation price, R&D price, maintenance price, electricity, capital depreciation costs, insurance, etc.

What is the point of this article? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560064)

Local hippie couple heads to the heartland and learns about hard work.

Seriously, wtf is the point of this article?

Re:What is the point of this article? (3, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560156)

I used to work for Amazon. Their fulfillment centers are pretty impressive. Before I started working there I would have never realized that so much though, planning and technology went into packing the right stuff into the right boxes. If you would have RTFA you should have gotten to the point where that little bit was discussed.

The other interesting thing is to use RVers to handle some of the seasonal demand. In some ways it is a little offensive though. RVers typically aren't looking for a steady paying job, but end up doing a little work at Amazon "for the experience" (ie they thought it might be fun). While there are lots of people out there that have no job, and have real bills to pay, and mouths to feed. But if they are offering $10/hr and people without jobs don't want to commute 4 hours a day for it, I guess that's just the free market being fair about it.

Re:What is the point of this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560346)

Actually, many RVers do depend on these seasonal gigs to pay their very real bills and keep food on the table. People who take on these sorts of gigs just for experience of it are an exception to the norm in the workamping community.

How it's done, and has been done for a century. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561246)

Their fulfillment centers are pretty impressive. Before I started working there I would have never realized that so much though, planning and technology went into packing the right stuff into the right boxes.

The basic system is a century old and was invented at Sears, Roebuck and Company, the first really big mail order operation. They had several city blocks in Chicago for what they called "The Works", their fulfillment center.

In the "schedule system" at Sears, orders came in, and each order was assigned a assembly bin for a 15-minute window. Picking tickets were generated for the various departments, each with the bin number and 15-minute window. The stock pickers in each department started on a new batch of tickets every 15 minutes, and as they picked items in their department, they attached the pick ticket to the item or a basket containing it, and sent it to the order assembly area by chute, conveyor, or pneumatic tube. At the order assembly area, incoming items were routed to the appropriate bin. At the end of each 15 minute window, each assembly bin was dumped to a basket, which went on a conveyor to the checking and accounting section. There, the items in the bin were matched against the order and the bill totaled up. The baskets then went to the packaging and shipping section and out of the Works.

Amazon's plant works about the same way, except that their computers know what's in inventory, so they don't have many "fails", where an item can't be found. They don't have to work to such a rigid clock-driven timetable, because the computers know when an order is fully assembled, and can allow more or less time depending on the complexity of the order. The basic concept, that a set of orders is being picked at any one time, picking orders fan out to departments, and items come back to an assigned bin for checking and packaging, remains the same.

Re:What is the point of this article? (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560194)

What else do you want from a Huff Post article? That's where you go for this sort of thing. Complaining about the Huff Post being whiny is like pointing out factual errors in a Michael Moore movie or pointing out that rushlimbaugh.com seems to have a bias.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560654)

How about reading it?

There's hard work, then there's doing this. But when you're talking about 10 hour days, with ludicrous packing quotas, limited breaks, low pay, and grueling intensive labor, we're talking about abuse. Sometimes, some jobs take 20 hour work days, but usually the pay is much better. While on one hand, this is what they're willing to work for, on the other hand, they don't have many options and that's pretty fucked up that they're abusing this situation like this.

Re:What is the point of this article? (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560834)

How about reading it?

I did. I often read the Huff Post... it's good to keep up to date on perspectives of other people, even when it's not always in agreement with your own. People are hardly ever evil or crazy - they just don't see the world in the same way.

But when you're talking about 10 hour days, with ludicrous packing quotas, limited breaks, low pay, and grueling intensive labor, we're talking about abuse.

Oh, please. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you now and just fall back on a Libertarian yarn... if it is such a bad job, then why were people driving to it 4 hours a day? Why are people camping out in their RVs for a month to take this horrible, temporary job? They aren't abusing some captive source of local poor workers - people are actually coming in from pretty far away. These people are making several times an hour what the people who assembled your computer make in a whole day. Are there better jobs? Sure. But you can do a lot worse, and I won't agree that this one crosses some line of acceptable work conditions - especially given the temporary nature of the work.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561334)

Listen you heartless Paulite, they are abusing captive sources of labour. Yes, my computer was probably put together with, or uses components that were assembled with worse working conditions than this but that doesn't make this any better.

The job isn't particularly glamorous, the job isn't very well paying. My guess is, given the economic conditions, THEY CAN'T FIND BETTER JOBS. And after the new year, they're going to be out on their asses.

10 hour days with 2 bathroom breaks? Insane, unattainable goals? 11/hour? Have you even ever made 11 an hour in your life? Do you know how hard it is to live off of 11 an hour?

Fuck that shit.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560966)

I work 9 1/2 hour days, with 1/2hr lunch, manual labour and driving, every day for 48 weeks a year. I get paid very little over minimum wage (must be about 10$ an hour, I've not checked the exchange rate recently). I used to code for a living, but I got bored of that. I enjoy my job now.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561670)

"There's hard work, then there's doing this. But when you're talking about 10 hour days, with ludicrous packing quotas, limited breaks, low pay, and grueling intensive labor, we're talking about abuse."

I've read the article. And I have worked in busy distribution warehouses in peak seasons.

This is: long days, high quotas, limited breaks, intensive labor, good pay for the work and area.

This is not: ludicrous quotas, low pay, grueling labor, abuse.

I've worked harder, longer and for less pay in worse conditions and didn't consider it abuse. This is an example of people expecting an easy job and then finding out that they were going to have to work their ass off. And they weren't happy about it. If you think this job was abuse, try construction, especially laborer and roofing positions.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561698)

140 X-Box 360s in an hour is a bit over 2 a minute. I'm assuming the packing people are in one place. That would not be very hard. Just do 5-10 at a time or so.

Re:What is the point of this article? (1, Informative)

IhateMonkeys (874193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561282)

All I got out of it was that two yuppie hippie-wannabes figure it would be cool to work for Amazon for a month. What they realized was that RV campsites are dirty and Amazon doesn't pay squat for temp help. The only two words that can truly describe these two "experience junkies" (WTF that means) is douche and bags. What a bunch of whiney crying brats. "I can't twitter that I saw a Bill Clinton corkscrew" Oh the humanity!!! If I saw you twittering at work either you or the phone is going out the window. Most likely both. If these two sorry excuses want an experience and a job, come work with me. How does the desert of Iraq sound? How about no twitter/cellphones? Or heavily filtered internet? You might actually like the living units as they are pretty similar to what you are living in now. Oh did I mention that the job is 7 days a week 12 hours a day? Right now Im on my 93rd straight day of work. But I have a vacation coming up in another 30 days so Im good. You two up for it? Didnt think so. Go back to your pathetic lives.

I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (5, Informative)

saturndude (609090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560076)

Driving 45 minutes each direction (northern KY, near Cincinnati Airport). (And yes, I rode the motorcycle to work Dec. 24 -- just ask Chan, Ian or Jim. They all saw me). Safety tips, announcements, and stretching. And the day begins. I've been there (CVG1) for 18 months, and I'm still amazed at all the products we carry.

I'm making more money than I ever have before (I'm 43), the work is steady, benefits are nice (including the exercise I get working), and everyone has a good sense of professionalism. As for firing you for taking off sick (Huff. Post article), um, sorry, no. Not here. (See, someone does read the articles before posting!) Cheating on overtime? I'm going over my financial records right now, and the occasional mistake does get corrected. And I take off for the Men's room whenever I need to.

Fascinating article, though. Always wondered about our other operations. Sorry some of the campgrounds aren't so nice, hopefully that will improve.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (3, Informative)

saturndude (609090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560096)

Oops, sorry. I drive 45 minutes each direction from a HOUSE. And 6 PM until 2:30 AM five nights a week (until 4:30 AM in the busy season) suits me quite well.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560120)

Do you have a day job too?

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561152)

If you can hack getting off work at that hour, good for you. I never could.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (-1, Flamebait)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560142)

You're 43 and your highest paying job ever is stuffing boxes for Amazon? Have you ever considered furthering your education?

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (4, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560164)

While your point is well taken, holding a graduate level degree isn't any guarantor of a higher salary. I know several people who finished grad school and never broke $50K a year (they're in their 40s and 50s now). There are also jobs that pay six figures but don't require anything more than a high school diploma or equivalent.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560172)

Not everybody wants the same things out of life, and I've never thought it in good taste to explicitly or implicitly insult anybody's honest work, regardless of what it is or who they are.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (0, Redundant)

EllF (205050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560186)

Not everybody wants the same things out of life, and I've never thought it in good taste to explicitly or implicitly insult anybody's honest work, regardless of what it is or who they are.

Seriously, this.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560374)

If there were more people like you, the world would be a better place. Seriously.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560410)

Thank you for straightening them out. I have a well accomplished friend that may be joining the Kentucky crew soon, if they have openings.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560562)

Amen. I "enjoy" renovating my house. Most people would sooner shoot themselves than do drywall and subfloors. But if you told me that would be my career I'd be pretty damn unhappy.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2, Interesting)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560608)

Our local radio station ran a competition years ago: The crappiest job.

A girl(I presume teenager) rang in and she won. Her father made sacks. He sewed the bottom of them. I was about 14 at the time, and at first I laughed. As she mocked her father more I stopped laughing. I'll never forget it, and I Iearned a lot about humanity in 2 minutes that day.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561398)

What did you learn? I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30561700)

I'm not the poster you replied to, but that girl was mocking the work that provided her sustenance and the man who did it. It is extremely bad form to mock those you depend upon as inferior. I've seen a poster here mock welders, for example. That poster almost certainly was dependent on some of those welders, at least for their transportation to their so-called superior work.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (5, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560260)

You're 43 and your highest paying job ever is stuffing boxes for Amazon? Have you ever considered furthering your education?

That way he can be the best educated box stuffer at amazon. Those who believe the high paying jobs are coming back in any quantity have another thing coming... The truth is that the median income [wikipedia.org] in the US is actually much lower than people seem to realize. $13.50/Hour is the median income. There are whole swaths of the United States where $11 / hours is actually a "desirable" job as opposed to the minimum wage jobs that are otherwise available. We have become a service industry country, and have given all of the "high paying" jobs to foreign nationals because otherwise our corporate masters would have to pay for real benefits and a meaningful pension plan. Corporations have abdicated their moral responsibilities for their employees. As long as our justification is the almighty dollar, this situation is only getting worse. I am not one to advocate socialism in any form, but capitalism only works when those who benefit from the system perform their social responsibility towards their employees and treat them right. The people who reap the profits have to take a backseat to the common good of all, otherwise the system collapses and no-one gets any profit. The only viable way to ensure that every employee exercises their responsibility is through regulation. We have already seen what happens when they are allowed to operate on their own recognizance. Every industry that has been allowed to function without regulatory oversight has found a way to bubble. This situation can logically only result in an ultimate burst which threatens the stability of our entire economy. It is a publicly sanctioned pyramid scheme, where a select few early adopters make money and everyone else gets screwed. When are we going to collectively put a stop to it. Do we have to see 90% of the population below the poverty line before we will wake up and see it for what it is?
-=Geoskd

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560438)

In the middle of an argument criticizing capitalism you say:

I am not one to advocate socialism in any form

This illogical undercurrent of anti-socialism is a big reason why America is where it is.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561460)

Not all of us believe in strong, top-down "obey us, citizen!"-style governing, which socialism depends upon. Capitalism, with informed and active consumers, should (or at least, could) do anything socialists want as an emergent byproduct of consumer collective action, without the "might-makes-right" and "I'm morally superior to you" leftist chestbeating.

If large groups of individuals cannot collectively gather and mutually agree to provide each other with healthcare, protection, etc, then they do not, as a group, deserve it.

Maybe people are too stupid to be informed and active consumers--I'd agree--but then again, if they're stupid stupid to mutually and collectively leverage their own bargaining power, they're in no position to vote for the people that tax them and can stick them in jail...!

Political science in 8-bits (3, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560550)

I am not one to advocate socialism in any form, but capitalism only works when those who benefit from the system perform their social responsibility towards their employees and treat them right.

That IS socialism. --And anybody against it deserves to be treated like a slave because slavery is *exactly* what they're asking for. The primary argument against socialism always boils down to this: "Mine! I don't want to share!"

Great. When all the little capitalists are starving because somebody greedier has won Monopoly and turned the world into slave-land, I'll remind them when they come asking for a bread crust. "Look around you! This is YOUR fault. Are you beginning to learn yet why self-service doesn't work? --Or do you want to be stupid livestock for another dozen life times? We WILL repeat this until you learn."

I'm all for idiot FOX viewers being punished for being idiot FOX viewers, but I am not content when others have to put up with the fallout from the knuckle-dragging propaganda-swallowing moronics of the pack man.

Humn. Pac Man. I just got that. That only took twenty years. --The pie-shaped dude is the archetypal pack animal, locked into a state of stupid because his genetics make him easy to subjugate into a ridiculous life-long race after crumbs through a rat maze. The Ghosts. . ? Ha! That actually makes sense too, but it's an idea too alarming for most people to deal with so I'll pardon myself from trying to explain.

What a depressing metaphor. Sigh.

Happy New Year.

-FL

Re:Political science in 8-bits (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560614)

capitalism results in an improved standard of living, this has been repeated all over the world over the last 50 years. sure it's not a perfect system but it's the best we have for now.

And the argumenets against socialsm aren't about not sharing, they are about others not pulling thier own weight in society. after all why should i work hard only to have the benefits of that hardwork given to someone who works less?

Re:Political science in 8-bits (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560956)

Socialised capitalism (Various European nations, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc) has had far more positive benefit to the standard of living than the raw, unfettered capitalism of the USA, which has been stagnating for the last 50 years or more (unless you happen to be in the top 1% economically, then you're laughing). Sure, a lot of these nations don't have their middle class all living in McMansions mortgaged up until their eyeballs bleed, but the overall standard of living accross all levels of society is higher.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (0, Flamebait)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561004)

Only an idiot who has no idea of what they're talking about would call what the US has "unfettered capitalism." It may be less socialized than Europe but it's still so far from pure capitalism you'd need to be certifiably retarded to not notice. I'm actually amazed you can even type given such a severe disability.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561494)

When people say the USA is unfettered capitalism, it is a demonstration that "capitalism" no longer means anything.

Capitalism, or rather, the free market, is hated by schemers because it does not provide a top-down mechanism for social control to inflict one's personal preferences and beliefs on the general population.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30561656)

Unfortunately, even in the "free market", the capitalist classes contain just as many "schemers" who inflict their personal preferences and beliefs on others, customers and employees alike.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561032)

It's technological progress that results in improved living standards. It has nothing to do with capitalism. Soviet Union improved its living standards tremendously from 50s to 80s. So did many other non-capitalist countries.

By the way, capitalism died in 2008. The U.S. may let its rotting corpse slowly destroy its society entirely, or it may embrace progressive policies like Europe and even lead the way to a better society.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561072)

Capitalism results in an improved standard of living for those with money. However, "standard of living" does not imply happiness, once you hit a certain threshold. The happiest societies are the ones with the least disparity in wealth. The trend is very very obvious - larger disparity, more unhappiness.

So what to do? Aim for money, or aim for happiness? Capitalism works, it creates wealth, but unbounded it does create unhappiness. Capitalism has always been bounded anyway, otherwise we'd have a shed load more monopolies than we do now. We need to bind it more to allow societies to thrive within it.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561338)

wealth makes people unhappy? i'd argue the problem is that so many people don't know how good they've got it, and THINK they know what unhappiness is. capitalism is the best way there is to get the wealth out there for more people, after all everyone has the opportunity to create their own wealth under a captialist society. it's only when you add things like copyright,patents and an out of control court system that lets the big guys bankrupt the little guys who can't afford high priced lawyers that you get problems. none of these things are anything to do with capitalism, they are infact peoples attempts to subvert it.

what we need is less interference in the free market, less protection of large companies and less incentive for people to try litigate the competition away.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30561458)

US does not follow pure capitalism. In a pure capitalist system the following would be allowed,

    1. Microsoft would have a complete monopoly over OS. Monopolies are the *desirable* end result of pure capitalism.
    2. There would be no minimum wage, worker's rights, maximum hours, etc.
    3. There would be no Medicare and Medicaid (fuck the poor, the old and the frail)
    4. You would be denied access to health care, even in emergency, unless you could prove you had insurance or could pay for the medical help.
    5. Public schools are relatively recent addition - private only.
    6. Lack of social mobility

I could go on and on and on. There are nations around the world where all of these are possible, yet they do not enjoy better standards of living.

The only system that allows for maximal wealth generation is a system that is *stable* and allows for social mobility. And a stable system requires rules (a.k.a. laws) that prevent capitalism *and* communism from taking over. Furthermore, these rules cannot be changing at a whim of whoever is running the country. And that is the system that Canada, US, western Europe enjoyed for the last half-century.

Mexico and UAE are examples of countries that follow more pure capitalist philosophy yet they fail at generating wealth. The reason is they do not have laws protecting the worker from being exploited. This results in lack of social mobility and *that* is the reason why they fail.

On the other hand, you have examples of countries like France. France laws are stable, but closer to the social side of the spectrum. Yet, France is doing quite well. Regulations have allows it to avoid the mess from subprime mortgage mess that happened in US and UK. But then in France you need 20% down and have a job to buy a house.

Now, if you want *pure* capitalism without interference from government, please move to Somalia. Somalis can verify they have enjoyed 100% pure capitalism for 2 decades now.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (3, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561622)

Each side of this debate (socialism vs. capitalism) really only gets half of the picture.

Higher living standards are achieved by only two methods: resource conservation and technological progress.

The way capitalism encourages higher living standards is via hoarding. Hoarding is not necessarily beneficial. Resource conservation and technological progress are beneficial. But hoarding is the means to the end. Allowing capitalists to hoard tends to encourage conservation and, in theory, technological progress. This raises the baseline living standards of the society, over time, in exchange for a large gap in living standards between the hoarders and the resourceless classes.

Socialism, on the other hand, can also result in higher living standards but via the opposite means. Instead of hoarding, socialism encourages redistribution. Besides the immediate direct raising of living standards of all citizens, by redistributing raw materials, human input (both labor and intellectual) is maximized. This encourages technological progress, at the cost of quicker resource depletion. Done correctly, redistribution can even encourage conservation.

What we have in America is called a mixed-economy. Not quite free-market capitalist, not quite commie-socialist. Capitalists are allowed to hoard, to an extent. Socialists are allowed to redistribute, to an extent. The entire thing is, of course, a complete clusterfuck. Instead of redistributing renewable raw materials, mixed-economy "socialists" redistribute finished goods and labor. Instead of hoarding limited raw materials, mixed-economy "capitalists" hoard worthless paper money. We end up with the worst of both worlds, resource depletion, forced labor, impoverished underclasses dependent upon the state, technological progress that can barely keep up with population growth, and stagnation in living standards.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560814)

Enslaving your fellow man is not the point of capitalism. The point of capitalism is merely to reward people investing in capital (like factories, or post-secondary education, or server farms, or hog farms, or orchards, or houses, or wheelbarrows, or telecommunications networks) by allowing them to profit from the use of that capital. When you allow this, then people invest in that capital, and you get a lot of stuff done - more so than you would from mere labor, the other component of getting things done. But anything else in excess of this isn't really about capitalism anymore: it's just selfish materialism taken to extremes. That is destructive, and abusive, and wrong.

And anyone who says that "greed is good" needs to be bonked upside the head. No, greed is not good. Greed is useful. That's different. It's useful for this: it drives people to go out and make worthwhile things happen, so that they can make money satisfy their greedy impulses. It drives people to invest in capital, in loans and and bonds and equities in companies which will ultimately pay them back and make their investment as worthwhile as possible. These companies bring new things to people, or bring old things to people better, and everybody wins. (Except when they don't, because the market is imperfect, and some people definitely win more than others, like our favorite people in the world: CEOs.... and they get away with it because of market inefficiencies, and we should probably consider how to actually effectively deal with the situation rather than just assert partisan rhetoric about the matter one way or another).

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561474)

I think most people that say "greed is good" is precisely because "greed is useful" in the way you say it is.

Nonetheless, it is a stupid term, because "greed" usually implies theft and unethical means of acquiring property, which is not really what the Ayn Randers advocate...

Re:Political science in 8-bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560930)

Great. When all the little capitalists are starving because somebody greedier has won Monopoly and turned the world into slave-land, I'll remind them when they come asking for a bread crust.

I know I'm probably on the wrong site to defend capitalism but WOW, just WOW.

There is a healthy balance you know, pure socialism pulls everyone down to the lowest common denominator -- it's an economic tragedy of the commons (Why should I work when I can get all the same benefits from welfare?).

OTOH, pure capitalism basically leads to a caste system with a few rich families controlling everything.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561036)

And when all the little socialists are dying of disease because no one wanted to spend 12 years becoming a doctor only to get as much reward as the guy who became a janitor I'll be sure to come around and laugh at them.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30561104)

I am not one to advocate socialism in any form, but capitalism only works when those who benefit from the system perform their social responsibility towards their employees and treat them right.

That IS socialism.

You're displaying your ignorance. Socialism is when the state controls the distribution of resources. If an employer decides to treat their employees right and pay them well, that's still capitalism because it is a private individual and not the government making the decision. You don't even seem to understand the basic thing that define socialism vs capitalism, that being state vs private ownership.

I've got a friend who was quite convinced that he was a socialist. He owned his own equipment and worked as a contractor. He was quite surprised to realise that he naturally turned to capitalism as a method of achieving his goals. He had though that because he wasn't materially greedy that he was a socialist, yet he didn't want the government determining his prices or the equipment he could own or the industry he worked in.

The primary argument against socialism always boils down to this: "Mine! I don't want to share!"

Nonsense. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1 [go.com] Conservatives give on average 30% more than socialists. It would seem they believe in personal generosity rather than forced redistribution. Conservatives want to be generous with their own money. Socialists also want to be generous with conservative's money.

In my opinion, the system you advocate will eliminate personal generosity, breaking down the relationships that make us a society. You want to replace generosity between people with subservience to and dependence on the state.

When communism collapsed in the USSR, who took over? The black marketeers (capitalism was illegal). China, presumably learning by example, legalised capitalism so the current rulers could partake of it rather than being displaced by the illegal capitalists. Learn the lesson: the government will be controlled by the successful capitalists, regardless of political structure. This is the case in monarchies, dictatorships, democracies, socialist and capitalist economies. Legally or illegally it will be so. The proper response is to maximise the power of the individual at the expense of governments and corporations and to decentralise government power making access to a national system of corruption much more difficult.

The result you want is only to be had by implementing the exact opposite of the political system you propose.

Re:Political science in 8-bits (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561516)

The primary argument against socialism always boils down to this: "Mine! I don't want to share!"

And the primary argument for socialism is a gun to someone else's head telling them this: "Yes you will."

Next time you find someone else sleeping in your bed, you better let them stay there, because "it's mine!" is no longer a valid argument for you to ever use.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560572)

my god what a rant man, what is a paragraph?!

let me tell you a little story about regulation. once there was a company that was looking at giving it's employee's an extra perk, it was worth quiet a bit to the employee's in return for an extra hours work per day. And then in comes the guberment, stamping it's feet and stating in no uncertain terms that is wasn't allowed, and no you can't run your own business or work on your own terms, because it's regulated.

i can't say too much more because i was actually involved, but i can assure you that getting the government to regulate every facet of business is NOT a good answer.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560656)

There are whole swaths of the United States where $11 / hours is actually a "desirable" job as opposed to the minimum wage jobs that are otherwise available.

There are also places where a 1-bedroom apartment is $200-$400/mo instead of $2000. It's relative.

The people who reap the profits have to take a backseat to the common good of all, otherwise the system collapses and no-one gets any profit.

I don't know about that, but a number of CEOs need to take a back seat to their shareholders and not give themselves multimillion dollar bonuses they don't deserve.

Every industry that has been allowed to function without regulatory oversight has found a way to bubble.

Yeah, especially the flower industry. Those Dutch tulip bulbs were something else, eh? .... silly generalizations aside, though, seriously: "regulation regulation regulation" is a poor silver bullet, not always all that effective at bubble-reduction. In fact, if you do it wrong, it can contribute to the bubbles and make things worse. (No, Fannie Mae and the government's push for lots of subprime mortgages did not cause the bubble all by itself. Yes, they helped make things worse.)

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561358)

I don't know about that, but a number of CEOs need to take a back seat to their shareholders and not give themselves multimillion dollar bonuses they don't deserve.

CEOs aren't responsible to the shareholders. They are responsible to the board. And the requirement to be on the board? You have to be a CEO and invite the CEO you want to be on the board for to be on your board. So boards are full of CEOs and ex-CEOs for the same companies that have that CEO and ex-CEOs from that company on their boards. This means you are voting for raises for the person that gets to vote on your raise next week.

And you think there's something wrong with that? That's Capitalism at its best, you pinko commie.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560730)

That way he can be the best educated box stuffer at amazon. Those who believe the high paying jobs are coming back in any quantity have another thing coming... The truth is that the median income [wikipedia.org] in the US is actually much lower than people seem to realize. $13.50/Hour is the median income.
-=Geoskd

Median HH Income is 45k, which breaks down to >20/hr, not 13.50.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560880)

That assumes only one individual per household is earning income.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561102)

What the hell is your point? The median income has GONE UP over the past 40 years, inflation adjusted. In other words thing are BETTER now than they were 40 years ago by your metric. And before you say anything, this holds true even if you include more workers.

As for bubbles, trying to stop them with regulation is like killing your wife because she might one day cheat on you. Long term, the economy comes off much worse than otherwise since you need insane regulations to stop them. After all, is it actual economic growth or a bubble? Better be careful and nip it in the bud just in case. Poverty for everyone might be equality but it sure as hell isn't a good thing.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561228)

Corporations have abdicated their moral responsibilities for their employees.

In all honesty, if our best hope is to rely on corporations to live up to their 'moral responsibility,' then we are in trouble. The truth is, companies have no more moral responsibility to provide jobs than I have moral responsibility to buy 'red' aids-awareness merchandise. I agree we should all try to take care of each other, but we should do it in a way that works: primarily focus on trying to help people rather than trying to force our morality onto others.

Every industry that has been allowed to function without regulatory oversight has found a way to bubble.

This one is definitely a misdiagnosis, are you going to regulate everything, to the price of tulips? Anything that can be traded for a price can become a bubble if you don't regulate the prices, but price controls have been shown to be bad for a number of reasons, both in theory and practice. Bubbles are formed around products for which the value is hard to determine. If people don't know the true future sales potential of an internet company, or don't realize that an AAA rated security is really made up of NINJA loans, then there will be a massive bubble. Couple that with the federal reserve actions for the last decade and a half, and you have a ton of people desperate to find something to invest their money in, willing to believe that these risky markets are indeed good.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561434)

As long as our justification is the almighty dollar, this situation is only getting worse. I am not one to advocate socialism in any form, but capitalism only works when those who benefit from the system perform their social responsibility towards their employees and treat them right.

That's a completely subjective judgment and the whole point of a capitalist system is that worker/employer come to a mutual agreement. Fair is whatever both sides agree is fair.

The real problem is consumer (and worker) complacency.

Do we have to see 90% of the population below the poverty line before we will wake up and see it for what it is?

What?! The poverty line is (usually) a relative estimate. If you want to see "true" poverty, like in Africa, you'll be much harder pressed to find it.
You say you are not one to advocate socialism but your rhetoric is pretty similar to the standard arguments for socialism. The whole point of a capitalist exchange is both sides benefit, otherwise, said exchange would not take place. Gigantic profits are not a problem. How they are acquiring it, however, may be.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2, Interesting)

saturndude (609090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560274)

I have a bachelor's degree and some other credentials (also learned HVAC at night school), but not a lot of experience in either field.

I don't "sell myself" well at interviews, but Amazon (and partners) have the web presence (and logistics) to sell stuff efficiently. I'm happy to be here.

If I get more confidence, and the right opening comes along, well....

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560434)

I made more as a plastic extruder operator on shift work than my brother in law was making with a degree in software engineering and 5+ years experience in the field. If you factor in the years I was earning money while he was a full time student, it will be a long time before his education pays off economically compared to the two day forklift course my job required. Having now purchased some of my own equipment so I can work for myself, it is unlikely that he can ever match my hourly rate working for a company, however his stock options may make him wealthy.

That's not at all to say that I'm against education, I'm learning to program now, but to compare ROI, I will be better off to buy a truck than get a degree. Since I consider education an end in itself that's not necessarily always the deciding factor.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560466)

Ah, so that's the view you get from your parents' ivory basement.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560830)

Seen the job offers (or lack of) that college grads get? A recent career fair at a local university (accredited, one of the top small colleges, and had a good reputation) had the following jobs for its graduates:

Army. MOS, 11X regardless of ASVAB score. If you want anything other than being a grunt (praying that you bag an insurgent so you can claim their AK-47 so you have a reliable rifle), you have to wait a year+ for DEP.
Incoming calltaker at a bank.
Script monkey for a temp agency who serviced a PC company.
Commissioned sales for whatever crap, aluminum siding or whatnot. Can't find enough suckers, you go hungry.
Outgoing calls for a collection agency.

So, being an "elf" for Amazon looks good in comparison to what is available (and this is for people with a B. S.) Better to have a job than not.

The job market isn't going to be improving soon. The rate businesses are hemorrhaging jobs has yet to decrease, and this has to go to zero and turn negative if the US is to see any type of real recovery.

So, the Amazon temporary work may be something to snicker at, but for most of the country, they would be damn happy for *any* jobs at all.

Re:I'm in a good place with Amazon..... (1)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560682)

You don't happen to park in behind the Atrium do you?

Thankful for a couple of things (2, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560088)

- I'm thankful Amazon has this system down pretty much pat. There were a few toys my nieces and nephews REALLY REALLY wanted, and I was coming up dry on in the brick-and-mortar stores around here. Amazon listed them as "in stock", and I was able to order them on the 22nd with standard shipping - they shipped within a few hours and arrived on the 24th.

- Having read the article... I'm thankful Amazon had the policy of "employees can't carry anything in that is an item we sell". The idiot featured in this story talked about wanting to "tweet" about stupid crap (my description, not his) that he saw. Any policy - even a draconian one - that prevents some dullard from tweeting is okay in my book!

Re:Thankful for a couple of things (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560250)

I was rather amazed too, and I'd certainly love to thank all of these people that work on the floor at Amazon for making it possible, I ordered a Wii and a few games for my family on the 23rd, and had overnight shipping for the 24th. And thanks to Amazon and UPS the package got there on time, and we got it wrapped up for Christmas. All I had to do was click a button, it's rather amazing.

Re:Thankful for a couple of things (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560314)

Heh. Now I feel kinda bad for ordering mundane things for myself right before XMas and using 2-day shipping. (Prime is a God-send.)

The point is ?... (0, Troll)

Shadow-Copy (1194657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560256)

How does this make a Article?

Perhaps, there is some key point of etiology I am missing here?

There is no reason for you to "knock" Amazon. This article is just a suggested opinion other then probable fact ...

Re:The point is ?... (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560286)

I think its fascinating. Its a mix of the itinerant fruit pickers here in southern Australia and the RV borne populations popular in cyberpunk books by Bruce Stirling and Neal Stephenson.

Re:The point is ?... (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560934)

Its a mix of the itinerant fruit pickers here in southern Australia

Ah, you mean the backpackers.

Re:The point is ?... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560986)

Its a mix of the itinerant fruit pickers here in southern Australia

Ah, you mean the backpackers.

And a lot of itinerant country people who won't identify as backpackers. I met a few of them travelling around years ago.

Good job amazon (0)

dUN82 (1657647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560382)

Well done amazon, who went for the extra mile so customer like me don't have too. I think what amazon has done is fascinating and benefit the customer, who can get their on time w/o the extra delivery charge; the RV campers, who can get some extra buck themselves; and of course amazon itself. It is a very create idea, yet challenging form a business' perspective, I am glad to hear the general result has been positive. I think a lot more companies that are facing a fluctuated demand dilemma could be enlightened by such a idea. Well done amazon.

They like to be called "little people" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560514)

Please, some political correctness here. Little people, not elves!

So this is what its ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560542)

come to.

THIS is Amazon's "Cloud"!

What a waste ... Amazon is just a SLAVE SHIP!

It will be a happy day, happy hour, happy second, when I can call-in JB's Coords to a Preditor and watch his obileteration in real-time.

Coulda tried harder in TFA picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560582)

I cracked up when I saw the picture of Santa and an RV in Kansas... with large, red mountains in the background. They could have tried a little harder for some flat land RV pic to edit.

Chris & Cherie might not be welcome back... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30560724)

...because I'm sure they signed an NDA which they are now flouting.

Details of the internal design and processes of Amazon's distribution centers are probably part of Amazon's competitive advantage. It's tough to make money selling $20 billion worth of stuff at a few bucks per order. Try selling physical goods online sometimes - it's not easy. Effective order fulfillment processes (low error rates, cost efficient packaging, quick order processing) can easily be the difference between making money and losing money.

Re:Chris & Cherie might not be welcome back... (1)

StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30560922)

Any competitive advantage which relies on the silence of thousands of employees earning nearly-minimum wage with no benefits, isn't.

Re:Chris & Cherie might not be welcome back... (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561586)

"Any competitive advantage which relies on the silence of thousands of employees earning nearly-minimum wage with no benefits, isn't."

Those amazon employees make more than most retail and warehouse employees in the US. Certainly more than the small retailers. They do not have benefits because they are TEMPORARY employees. And if they could get benefits, they would actually be able to afford them, unlike the others.

Amazon's treatment of its employees is a step up in the US.

Re:Chris & Cherie might not be welcome back... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30561190)

It's tough to make money selling $20 billion worth of stuff at a few bucks per order.

I doubt that's where Amazon.com makes most of its money. Any company with that much retail volume can certainly negotiate favorable contracts with its suppliers. It's easy to imagine making lots of money from the float.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...