October 30, 2019
Gotta keep those delivery deadlines – no matter the cost.
A few years ago, I ordered some kind of extension cable or other knick-knack from Amazon. As I pressed the “confirm” button, the website expressly guaranteed it’d be delivered within 48 hours. I thought that was amazing.
But at that moment, I had a thought: how deeply do these people have to grind down their employees and subject them to unreasonable demands in order to meet those deadlines? How inhumane must this whole system be in order to be this ruthlessly efficient?
Then, the knick-knack arrived – 24 hours later. Right then and there, I learned to stop worrying about our menacing future and welcomed our dark corporate overlords into my heart.
But some are apparently less than enthusiastic about the whole affair.
In September, a 48-year-old Amazon worker named Billy Foister suffered a heart attack in a warehouse outside Columbus, Ohio.
A few days before, Foister had been reprimanded by a manager two minutes after placing an item into the wrong box. But according to a report from The Guardian, when Foister fell to the ground during the heart attack, it took 20 minutes for anyone in the facility to notice or call an ambulance.
Foister died, and Amazon is now claiming he didn’t die at work, and that it was a “personal medical issue” in an email to The Guardian. Shortly after he was taken to the hospital, “everyone was forced to go back to work. No time to decompress,” an anonymous Amazon worker from the same shift told the newspaper. “Basically watch a man pass away and then get told to go back to work, everyone, and act like it’s fine.”
It’s fine if employees want to die on the job. As long as they use the designated suicide areas, that is.
But these deadbeats having heart attacks all over the place just have a poor work ethic.
Since November 2018, six Amazon workers have died, many more have suffered serious injuries, and there’s been an increase in reported mental health issues. According to The Guardian, Foister’s death is the latest in a grim pattern of workplace safety issues at Amazon that have landed the company on a list of the country’s most dangerous employers.
In April, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health included Amazon on its most recent “Dirty Dozen” list, citing its high incidence of worker suicide attempts, overworked employees peeing in bottles to avoid punishment, and poor treatment of contract and temporary workers, which Amazon relies heavily on for all operations. The company made the 2018 list as well, and the Council argues nothing has improved since then.
“The e-commerce giant posted $11.2 billion in profits in 2018 while paying no federal income tax,” the report reads. “Despite these vast resources, there is little evidence the company has made a significant effort to address worker complaints about stress, overwork and other conditions which can lead to illness, injuries and even fatalities.”
It’s no secret that Amazon’s factory workers are often unhappy (despite those bizarre “Amazon Ambassadors” that popped up to defend the company on Twitter). Between 2013 and 2018, a Daily Beast investigation found that 911 was called to Amazon warehouses 189 times after reports of suicidal attempts and ideation.
Amazon’s high productivity quotas forces workers to pee in bottles to avoid bathroom breaks and risk injury working with the automated machines and robots — one of which sent 24 workers to the hospital after spraying them with concentrated bear repellent — which are stripping away human jobs and leaving those who are left in danger.
Or maybe Jeff Bezos knows something you don’t: that the flesh is weak, and must be replaced by the strength of cold steel and the unfeeling logic of silicon processors.
The future man of steel and circuit will need neither rest nor relief from nature’s call, and even death will be but a temporary break lasting no longer than a technician’s service call.
This is the man Jeff Bezos has in mind when designing his entire business.
Bezos cares nothing for the flesh’s feeble protests before his visionary program of ruthless efficiency.
Jeff Bezos isn’t in this for the money. He probably lives in a beat-up old apartment, driving a Honda Civic or whatever. Don’t quote me on that though. I’m just saying this guy is in it for the vision.
His girlfriend is the female equivalent of a 1994 Honda Civic.
I’m talking uploading your consciousness to the cloud – AWS soul hosting services, man.
I’m talking one-click delivery – to other star systems – except that the thing being shipped is just data, because everything is digital.
I’m talking Alexa nanobots flowing through your blood stream, sending your vitals straight to your doctor – as well as the NSA and Amazon’s own hormone monitoring AI core.
Every bottle of piss Amazon’s merely human employees fill on the job in order to be that little bit more efficient just brings us closer to that glorious vision. We’re getting closer, one bottle of piss at a time.
And those who unfortunately had to die in Amazon’s warehouses from overwork or whatever – well, those just couldn’t handle the majesty of the grand future Bezos has in store for all of us.
So what if Amazon’s now in the top twelve most dangerous employers or whatever. Such things pale in comparison to convenience of faster delivery times and an impeccable customer service experience.
Think about all that next time you hear about how horribly Amazon is treating its employees.