Lessons Learned: Amazon Warehouse Conditions

Like most of you, I have been a big Amazon shopper. After seeing a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, I was shocked at how warehouse workers have been treated and some of the challenges they face each day. Course this is just one opinion, so let’s dig in on this topic.

Below is the episode for context.

To summarize, workers are walking miles around 15 to 16 miles a each day just to go from one aisle to the next in record time to make sure they can fufill your order in time. So much so that they can’t take bathroom breaks because they would lose time, fall behind and can’t keep up. And this is all with a two day turn around. Just think about a turnaround within hours! The machines setup to assist workers are sometimes causing damange more than helping. And the list goes on.

Amazon of course responded to this episode, saying that they were disappointed with the segment and John was “wrong”. You can read the article from Variety here. They point out that John’s team did not visit the warehouses for a tour but that Amazon is also not denying the facts he presented.

So why is this a lesson learned? Because not everything is what it seems. Are all the stories true? I’m not sure, but usually when there is smoke there is fire and the shipping timelines Amazon has presented has always made me wonder a little. It is good to know more about the things you are purchasing, whether it is coming from an ethicial source or not. Where was it created? What is it made of? What did it take to get the final product in my hands?

So what does this mean?

Will I stop shopping at Amazon? No, unfortuately, there are some items I cannot find anywhere else. So you might ask, “What can I do to help if I’m not going to stop shopping there?”

  • Think before purchasing. I practice “mindful shopping” now, and think, do I need this?
  • Can I find it local instead?
  • How urgent is it really? Consider the date you choose for shipping.

No company is perfect and as humans we are far from perfect, but knowledge is power. The more you know the better you can decide for yourself how you want to move forward.

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My name is Kate and I'm a world traveler looking to make a positive impact by reducing my waste and single plastic use.