Over the last few days the news feed has been filled with stories regarding Walmart's decision to offer a two-day shipping subscription service in the Bentonvile Behemoth's quest to take down Amazon. This morning, reading Here's How Walmart Plans To Take On Amazon Prime I came up short at the first sentence of the second paragraph: Based on its current plan, Walmart will have eight additional massive warehouses around the U.S. by the end of this year. These kinds of Warehouses are why I like Amazon less than I do Walmart. Four years ago Mac McClelland went undercover for Mother Jones to work in an Amazon warehouse. Her story, I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave
"Don't take anything that happens to you there personally," the woman at the local chamber of commerce says when I tell her that tomorrow I start working at "Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc." She winks at me. I stare at her for a second. "What?" I ask. "Why, is somebody going to be mean to me or something?" She smiles. "Oh, yeah." This town somewhere west of the Mississippi is not big; everyone knows someone or is someone who's worked for Amalgamated. "But look at it from their perspective. They need you to work as fast as possible to push out as much as they can as fast as they can. So they're gonna give you goals, and then you know what? If you make those goals, they're gonna increase the goals. But they'll be yelling at you all the time. It's like the military. They have to break you down so they can turn you into what they want you to be. So they're going to tell you, 'You're not good enough, you're not good enough, you're not good enough,' to make you work harder. Don't say, 'This is the best I can do.' Say, 'I'll try,' even if you know you can't do it. Because if you say, 'This is the best I can do,' they'll let you go. They hire and fire constantly, every day. You'll see people dropping all around you. But don't take it personally and break down or start crying when they yell at you." Several months prior, I'd reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who's spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down. "We want you to go work for Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc.," they said. I'd have to give my real name and job history when I applied, and I couldn't lie if asked for any specifics. (I wasn't.) But I'd smudge identifying details of people and the company itself. Anyway, to do otherwise might give people the impression that these conditions apply only to one warehouse or one company. Which they don't.
The work goes downhill from there. There are lots of links to related stories in Mac's piece. Follow them around and maybe you're come to the same conclusion I have: you shouldn't feel so good about the money you save buying on the Internet. If Walmart workers feel put down when they're working out in public, imagine the experience when they're hidden away in some massive warehouse. This will not end well. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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