Amazon.com
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Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Amazon.com on 12/13/2011 12:36:02 MST Print View

This really is "Chaff," but as a frequent user of Amazon, I found this article shocking, to say the least:

http://tinyurl.com/6wn98dl

I am done with Amazon unless they improve their working conditions.

Stargazer

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Not sure yet... on 12/15/2011 07:52:52 MST Print View

I don't have much of a problem with any of that except the heat. Making people work hard while at work isn't really a bad thing. Now there is some implication that they are basically using, abusing, and replacing their workers but it appears there is no shortage of takers and at $10-$12 bucks an hour I can see why. My brother runs two restaurants and they pay less, work as hard I'm sure, and a lot of it is greasy/messy/hot work (they are BBQ restaurants).

I think OSHA will see to it that the working conditions are safe. For now I would wait and see that OSHA and other agencies do their job and make sure there are safe working conditions.

I just don't think boycotting is going to have the intended consequence because the overall demand for cheap products online is not going to end. This is a result of a business with thin profit margins.

I am open to hearing more of your argument on this though. Maybe I am leaning too far one direction. Really opens the discussion of employer versus employee, profit versus how you treat your workers. It seems like what is happening has gotten slightly tilted in the employers favor.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Not sure yet... on 12/15/2011 07:57:14 MST Print View

I have a big problem when faceless conglomerates and corporations treat humans like a disposable commodity.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Amazon.com: Backlash over Price Check Offer on 12/15/2011 15:14:48 MST Print View

An interesting article I heard this morning:

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/12/15/amazon-main-street

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Amazon.com: Backlash over Price Check Offer on 12/15/2011 16:18:34 MST Print View

so let me get this straight .... some people dont want the consumer to find LOWER prices on the same item (were not talking about a cheap made in wherever substitute here) ....

can you imagine a company saying "please dont compare our prices with another competitor, shut down all comparison sites" ...

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Amazon.com on 12/15/2011 17:04:19 MST Print View

Soon shops will have to charge an entry fee refundable upon purchase.
I know that it will sound like a stupid idea to most however "most" don't buy stock, pay rents,pay for staff to stand around and give advice to people that buy on line from warehouses...
Franco

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Not sure yet... on 12/15/2011 17:18:07 MST Print View

I take what ex-employees say with a pretty big grain of salt in cases like this. My company puts a lot of stock in exit interviews and the like and it's amazing what people will say after they were terminated or pushed out the door for outright poor performance. I'm certainly not saying Amazon is innocent though. Common sense tells you 110 deg heat is ridiculous to work in, never mind the fact production is going to be poor when your people keep passing out from heat exhaustion.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 12/15/2011 17:20:48 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Amazon.com on 12/15/2011 17:26:31 MST Print View

Soon shops will have to charge an entry fee refundable upon purchase.
I know that it will sound like a stupid idea to most however "most" don't buy stock, pay rents,pay for staff to stand around and give advice to people that buy on line from warehouses...

-----------------------------------

Franco, many brick and mortar business are going to fail and be replaced by online vendors. To be honest, most of them need to go away. They provide no valuable service to the consumer other than collecting money and stocking a limited inventory.

There will be retailers who shall remain viable in brick and mortar facilities because they have customer oriented, well trained and knowledgeable employees who provide extra-value to the products they sell. The key is understanding how to determine the customer's needs, offer corresponding products based on need, present the product(s), explain its features and benefits, demonstrate it, offer options, be knowledgeable about competitive alternatives, overcome objections based on need, and ask for the sale. This is not new, professional sales people have been doing it for centuries.

Heck, in most stores I go into these days the person waiting on me cannot even make change correctly. A few years ago I went into an recreational equipment store looking for a double-walled titanium cup. No one knew what it was, nor knew where to look to see if they had one. Well they had one, I found it, I bought it, and I never returned again.

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Not sure yet... on 12/15/2011 17:43:07 MST Print View

Travis,

Hate to burst your bubble but that is exactly what everyone is, a commodity, that can be bought and sold by individuals and corporations with the capital to do. Just the way things are setup.

Just look at sports players as a highlighted example. We just don't make nearly as much usually, but the concept is the same.

Either you are the one doing the buying, selling and trading or you are the one that is being bought, sold or traded. Normally in a smaller company you have tighter relationships involved, but when the corporation gets larger, responsibility is often passed and bonds are broken much more easily.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Using B & M locations as your showroom on 12/15/2011 19:40:35 MST Print View

>so let me get this straight .... some people dont want the consumer to find LOWER prices on the same item (were not talking about a cheap made in wherever substitute here) ....

Well, shoot. That's not the point here. It really is reprehensible to depend on the brick and mortar facilities, especially when they are small businesses, to provide a showroom for the goods you sell and then undercut them on the price and eventually, perhaps, run them out of business. Personally, I try to purchase items locally when I can. When I can't, I always use the cottage manufacturers on line.

I don't mind paying more if it keeps good people in business. When my local Borders bookstore went belly up recently, I mourned the loss. I knew those folks well, and they knew me. How many times did people look at books at Borders and then save a buck by buying from Amazon on line?

The Ohio Wesleyan bookstore was recently outsourced to a big bookseller because students were buying their books online, mostly from Amazon. Typically, my students were buying old, and hence worthless, editions of books to save a few dollars.

Stargazer

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: Not sure yet... on 12/16/2011 06:36:18 MST Print View

As an employee I expect to be treated as a commodity. My only job is to make my company more money than I cost them. I think any courtesy I get is a result of their appreciation of my ability to make them money, nothing more.

When your job function is easily replacable, not very specialised, and you are unwilling to move or expand your abilities, you can't really expect an easy job with a high level of job security be given to you. I would suggest those people use it as a stepping stone, save up and move to a better area or get more training/education and transition up the ladder to.positions where they are more valuable and therefore receive more courtesy for what they do.

At the same time Amazon needs to provide safe working conditions.and reasonable expectations.

Edited by TylerD on 12/16/2011 06:41:31 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Using B & M locations as your showroom on 12/16/2011 13:19:45 MST Print View

The Ohio Wesleyan bookstore was recently outsourced to a big bookseller because students were buying their books online, mostly from Amazon. Typically, my students were buying old, and hence worthless, editions of books to save a few dollars.

people vote with their wallets ... yr students just did what most people would do when presented with an alternative... however unless yr buying text books ... an older edition is not really different from a new edition and is frequently cheaper

if the stores provide great value, and people valued that service ... then they would simply buy from the store at a higher costs

there a climbing shop at squamish that i buy a decent amount of gear and services from ... simply because they provide a service for climbers beyond sales (example, as a spot to return lost gear) ... however the owner knows that i wont pay more than what is at MEC, and he matches the price accordingly ... as long as the prices are equivalent im happy to send business his way

i remember years ago when i was into audio, this was when online sales were just starting to happen ... executives from some of the audio companies would come onto the forums and tell us not to buy online as it cut out the retailers, and that there was no warranty on online sales ... the universal response was "lower yr effing prices if you want sales, as we can buy 2 speakers online for the same one you try to charge full retail in a store" ... needless to say most people voted with their feet and wallets

im not in the business generally of subsidizing stores that cant provide better prices and service (and amazon IME does have good service) ... unless its my choice ... and only i should decide that ... not someone complaining about "dont compare prices"

i understand where you are coming from ... but at the end of the day i want to save money ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/16/2011 13:24:06 MST.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Think globally -- buy locally on 12/16/2011 13:28:20 MST Print View

Eric, that's the point. The bookstore WAS providing extra service: The exact books that my students needed instantly. My students were voting with their wallets, but in a lot of cases they were voting for the wrong candidates, as it were. As a result, the class, the students, and I suffered -- and the bookstore went out of business. Amazon has every right to do what it does, and you have the right to spend a few more bucks to support your local businesses -- or not. God help the economy if we don't do so.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Think globally -- buy locally on 12/16/2011 15:14:54 MST Print View

Thomas,

It is a changing world. It sounds like your store was providing extra service, however either the students did not know it, or it wasn't good enough in their estimation to purchase at a premium price that included the value-added service.

Sometimes the fault lies in the hands of the retailer who does not communicate the value of shopping with them, they just assume their customers know it, or worse they don't understand it themselves.

During the year I purchase a lot of gifts from Amazon. It allows me to research a lot of products online and even read product reviews. I am not burning up a lot of gas or spending days looking at products. At Christmas time I can buy that special present for almost everyone at one source, pay for it all at once, have it wrapped and shipped individually using the stored address book, and the deliveries are tracked and communicated to me automatically. For example, just last week I sent a birthday present to my son-in-law. No was at home to sign for it, and Amazon sent me a note with instructions on how to contact USPS electronically and reschedule delivery. Also, Amazon provides me a history of purchases. There is a lot of value in all of this for me. I can go back and see what I have purchased for my kids in the past too.

Now sometimes I research online and then go look at a product in a B&M store. I expect that product to cost more, and I will purchase it if the price is not significantly higher than online. 20% is not significant to me. 50% is. If I want it shipped somewhere and they can't do that for me, then Amazon is my choice. Price, value, and convenience add up to where I buy.

On the other hand, I have spent thousands of dollars with a very specialized retailer in my home town. What they provide goes way beyond what any online retailer could provide. Yes it usually costs me 20% more, but I have peace of mind and someone who will easily resolve any kind of problem that may occur. If they don't have it, they order it. They understand my wants and needs and are always on the lookout for things I may be interesting in purchasing. Everyone in the store knows my name and what I like, and they treat me like a king every time I enter the store. And I am not one of their big spending customers. They provide very personalized customer-centric service to everyone who walks through the door. They treat me special and are rewarded with my loyalty as a customer. If I see something online that is in the realm of what they sell, I do the opposite... don't buy online, but call them. So it can go both ways.

Years ago auto dealerships were scared to death of the Internet. But they found out that customers would research online, but most wanted to come in and kick tires; and good sales people can sell to tire kickers. Now most dealerships see the Internet as a mechanism to pull consumers into their showrooms, not competition.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
College textbooks on 12/16/2011 16:51:35 MST Print View

For many, many years, the college textbook industry has ripped off a captive audience. They charged 3 to 4 times what the book was worth, and changed editions every year (often with only very minor changes) so nobody could buy used books. Back in 1979, I had to pay $200 for the textbooks for a one-quarter economics course. The professors teaching the courses were, of course, completely unaware of the prices we were paying. When I told the prof for that particular course about the $200, he was horrified! Of course by that time it was too late. From what I've heard from those currently attending college, this situation still exists.

If amazon can provide some competition for the the college textbook ripoff industry, I'm all for it!

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Re: College textbooks on 12/16/2011 17:52:22 MST Print View

Mary,

I have to share my one up story. Insert all of the parameters of your story but make the professor of the class the author of the mandatory text books. Yes the situation still exist and in some cases has gotten worse.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Re: Re: College textbooks on 12/16/2011 18:03:38 MST Print View

I just didn't want to hurt the feelings of any college professors on here!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: College textbooks on 12/16/2011 18:23:52 MST Print View

I did two years of college in the late 60's and early 70's... text books were absolutely needed. Went back to school in late 80's and ealry 90's, text books not needed in 1/2 of my classes. I just went to the first couple of classes and then determined if I needed them. Didn't learn much new in most classes and graduated with a 3.72 gpa at a large Calif University. Now that is the sad part, and the professors weren't stellar so we can't give them credit either. That is why we are so far behind a lot of other colleges.

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: College textbooks on 12/16/2011 18:24:32 MST Print View

Dont get me wrong there were also instance were the professor was the author of the book and it was great, A: the book was extensively used in the class B: It was not reprinted each year. C: Cost was not astronomical

I disliked the mandatory books that were reprinted every year that were rarely used in the class. The books had no resale value and and could not be purchased used either. And you just had this feeling that the prof was bending you over a little bit.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Amazon.com on 12/16/2011 18:50:06 MST Print View

I worked at a job for a couple of years in a warehouse and my packing table took the brunt of the south sun. It was sweltering all summer and freezing in winter. I learned to dress for the weather. I stayed hydrated. I had a fan to cool myself off a bit. I worked hard and I worked fast, packing orders as quick as I could. That is how packing areas go.....

Eventually my boss put a heating system in - ooh-la-la and insulated a couple of the metal walls. That was like living it up.

Lots of places have cruddy working conditions. Not everyone gets a cushy desk job with A/C and a plush chair to sit their butt in. Just saying.