If you want to eat the rich, stop feeding Amazon.

If You Want To Eat the Rich, Stop Feeding Amazon

I’ve been waiting for years for Americans to stop feeding Amazon. We had a good chance last week. Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama had the opportunity to form a union. But it didn’t go well. It wasn’t even close. By a margin of two to one, warehouse workers voted against it.

It’s a really disappointing outcome. But it’s also not surprising. Labor unions are weak in America.

You know who isn’t weak? Amazon.

The world’s largest retailer is one of the most powerful entities on the face of the planet. And their union-busting policies are robust, well-funded, and prodigious.

According to many reports, they paid $10,000 every day to anti-union consultants who created an environment of pervasive secrecy, fear, and misinformation. Amazon spies on its employees and fires labor organizers. Bessemer workers were bombarded with anti-union messages in every private space from bathroom stalls to their personal phones. They forced their employees to attend several hours of anti-union propaganda meetings every week filled with ominous warnings about the “union threat” to their jobs. And they fired organizers, made fake social media accounts, and even changed traffic light patterns. They even flat-out told workers they’d lose their jobs if there was a union—all for the single purpose of discouraging the workers from using their constitutional right to organize with each other.

And it worked.

I knew it would. Story after story has made it incredibly clear that Amazon doesn’t give a flaming hot shit about the well-being of their employees. To an extent that is downright cartoonishly villainous! And they don’t have to, because they won’t face any consequences for it.

No legal consequences, because everything they’ve done is perfectly legal. 

And no business consequences, because despite everything, you’re still shopping there.

The power consumers don’t have

There’s a popular—and somewhat true—sentiment that there is no such thing as ethical consumption or ethical participation in capitalism.

To an extent, we totally agree. Today, we have the tools to research everything we buy and evaluate its comparative merits over every possible competitor and alternative. But that doesn’t mean we have a mandate to do so!

We lead lives of impossible complexity. When I need lotion for my cracked and nasty hands, I often find myself staring at an aisle full of products locked in analysis paralysis. “Does it work well? Does it smell good?” That’s pretty much all I want to ask myself.

But instead I’m poring over it like it’s the Voynich manuscript, and my life depends on deciphering it before I leave the store. “Was it tested on animals? Are the exfoliating beads biodegradable? Is this packaging recycled? Does this company donate to any politicians I loathe? Are these ingredients ethically sourced? Why does it say ‘paraben free—dafuq is a paraben?!

Eventually, one of the nice custodians at Target will find me in the fetal position and gently sweep me out of the closest exit with a push broom. I hope the gutter I land in is nice.

It cannot be the responsibility of individual consumers to scrutinize every aspect of everything they buy. Companies are the experts in their industries and products. They need to take enough pride in their work to do the bare minimum for us. (Or submit to the will of regulators who will do it for them.)

That said… consumers do have incredible power. And some decisions are easier than others.

The power consumers do have

Every dollar spent is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. And sometimes people don’t vote—or, as was the case in the Amazon unionization vote, won’t vote in their best interests—because they’ve already capitulated to a narrative that they have no power. I understand the feeling of hopelessness. But hopelessness serves to maintain the status quo.

I think we’ve all seen enough headlines to gather that Amazon is an unusually mustache-twirling, cat-petting, evil-ass company. Stories like these have been in every newspaper, every year, for at least a decade:

Stop feeding Amazon

I’m speaking to those of you who know it’s bad to shop at Amazon, have the means and resources to stop, but keep doing it anyway: you know you ain’t doing right. It’s time to change your ways and align your spending with your values.

If you have access to all of this information, but you won’t stop feeding Amazon, you’re actively helping them to exploit their workers, run small businesses into extinction, and fill our oceans with unnecessary waste. You’ve communicated that you have no expectations of the businesses you frequent. They can run around like assholes and you won’t mind a bit.

Those pricey anti-union lawyers were paid for by your laundry detergent and your batteries.

Someone pissed in a bottle so that you could watch the season two finale of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

I think you forfeit your right to decry the monstrosity of people like Jeff Bezos if you have the opportunity to stop personally lining his pockets, but choose not to.

And I know it’s harder for some to quit the convenience (more on that in a sec). I also know it can be a little overwhelming to quit something cold turkey without guidance or useful alternatives (more on that below as well). Don’t just slide into our comments to decry the impossibility of quitting Amazon. At least not before you consider how easy it can be for some of us.

Income inequality is a horrific problem that’s actively damaging all of our lives, every day. It’s killing people. And it’s not caused by the spending habits of individual consumers. But it’s growing more deeply entrenched with every case of Amazon Basics Ultra Toilet Paper you ship to your front door.

I play a role in Amazon’s upsetting market dominance. It’s a tiny one. But it’s one I’ve finally started to own.

Next time a warehouse worker passes out in the choking heat of an unventilated warehouse, I don’t want my three-pack of cotton sport thongs to be what paramedics find clutched in his unconscious hands.

So, I quit.

I stopped feeding Amazon my money. And I realized a lot when I did.

How I stopped feeding Amazon

To be clear, I count myself among the very people I’m criticizing. In fact, I’ve ordered way too much from Amazon over the years. In fact, here’s a record of my purchases.

  • 9 orders in 2015 
  • 17 orders in 2016
  • 39 orders in 2017
  • 56 orders in 2018
  • 53 orders in 2019
  • 21 orders in 2020
  • 0 orders in 2021 (so far)

As you can see, from 2015 to 2018, Amazon was successfully training me to use them as the default retailer for everything. They made it so easy! I’m ashamed to say it took many years of stories about their unethical business practices, horrible environmental impact, and looming monopolistic status to make me question my participation in Amazon’s success.

By late 2019, I vowed to start using Amazon only for purchases where I truly couldn’t find the product anywhere else on the market. Obviously the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a few unplanned exceptions. But for the most part, it worked. My order history became a strange melange of freeze-dried strawberry powder, vacuum filters, and an extra large baseball cap for my partner, who is blessed with a handsome and abundant head.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get my purchases down to a flat zero. If I get through this year with one or two orders of oddments, I’ll still consider it a huge success. Amazon can’t turn a profit on sporadic, niche order patterns.

The real price of convenience

The convenience of Amazon is more life-changing for some than others.

If you’re disabled, or a single parent, or working three jobs to make ends meet, or living in a food desert, saving time and effort on errands may feel like a precious gift. If parents of a new baby want to sit at home and order absolutely everything through Amazon, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at them. I refuse to minimize the reality that it was easier for me to quit shopping with Amazon because I have the luxury of free time.

But that said… Amazon may have once been an indispensable tool for people in your situation. But is it still the only game in town?

Although their prices used to be the cheapest, the price of Amazon products has slowly crept up over time. On average, most items cost less at big box stores and local chains.

I’m just old enough to remember when home delivery was a rarity. But today it’s a standard offer for any retailer. And the coronavirus pandemic didn’t have many net positives, but here’s one: It normalized the shit out of curbside pickup! You have other options.

Here’s more on what has changed during the pandemic and… it’s not pretty:

Amazon has built its entire business model around changing your habits. They want to be your default retailer for everything, so much so that you to forget how to shop for stuff any other way. There’s a ton of interesting data suggesting the time and money you perceive to be saved is actually sucked up by browsing more and buying more. So even if Amazon has felt like a godsend in the past, give quitting them a shot.

You won’t miss them

I truly don’t miss Amazon.

Quitting felt great for a lot of reasons. Yes, I feel better about my choice to support local retailers and about my lessened environmental impact. Yes, I’ve been spending less and buying less because every single product in the world isn’t always at my fingertips.

But mostly? I’ve just come to understand that Amazon is a totally shit retailer.

Their convenience masked a lot of serious problems I would never tolerate from another business.

Amazon is an ugly, clunky platform

Amazon’s search function hasn’t been improved since, like, 1997. (If you’re a design nerd like me and you want to know why, here’s a juicy breakdown.)

In general, there are too many products for sale. I just searched for a rather niche item: floral print dog leashes. The search returned over 1,000 products. This obscene amount of choice overload isn’t helpful. It makes shoppers feel stressed and miserable.

Ads clog up the search results. They’re repetitive and often off-topic, and I’m annoyed at how they follow me wherever I go.

It’s stuffed full of garbage products

Amazon has no consistency or quality standards for the products they offer. Looking for something on the site feels like wading through a river of shit the length of the actual Amazon river. (The same thing is happening to Etsy and I’m RENT ASUNDER with disappointment.)

Despite their well-known issues with counterfeit products, Amazon has expressed little interest in combating them. Even before I made my anti-Amazon vow, I’d grown gun-shy about making purchases for exactly this reason.

Customer feedback is broken 

Amazon’s review system is totally hacked. Customer reviews used to be one of the most valuable aspects of the site. Now, they’re utterly worthless. As many as 42% of all reviews on Amazon are fake.

And reviews aren’t the only way unscrupulous companies have gamed the system. They’re getting good at collecting positive reviews, then switching the products offered while retaining the old (good) reviews.

And why on God’s green earth have they designed a program that rewards people for answering product questions without auditing their answers?! I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen a legitimate question (“Q: Is this product wool?”) answered with a ridiculous non-answer (“A: I’m not sure.”)

I’m tired of them trying to get me to shop more, spend more, and think less

Amazon uses a lot of tired, manipulative sales tactics. Take the “cross-out price.” Even when the product is selling for more money than ever, they pretend you’re getting a great deal by crossing out a mythical “normal” price. It’s like they think we don’t have access to the rest of the internet.

Free shipping felt like an amazing perk, until I stopped using it. Then I realized how much it was pushing me to make purchases I truly didn’t need.

Don’t get me started on Prime. Prime has always felt like transparent bullshit. It’s a subscription service where you pay for the privilege of making faster and more frequent impulse purchases. I was not shocked at all to learn that Prime subscribers spend more money, buy more things, shop and order way more frequently, and spend more total hours mindlessly browsing product page after product page.

Personally, my life is much better without it. Try it and see for yourself.

Your action plan

If I’ve moved you to use Amazon less, here’s a few actions you can take.

  • Stop feeding Amazon by shopping and spending less overall. We have a whole article on Proven Tactics to Avoid Emotional Impulse Spending.
    • If you’re feeling really masochistic, look up all your past Amazon purchases. It’s pretty depressing to see all the stuff you thought you needed and question how much of it you actually use and love today.
  • Stop feeding Amazon by buying used things instead. Got another one on this too: Almost Everything Can Be Purchased Secondhand. This is a great way to keep unnecessary trash and item transportation costs down.
  • Stop feeding Amazon by feeding your local economy instead. Nine million small businesses in America are afraid they won’t survive to next year. A lot of them went into debt during the pandemic, and it’s a make-or-break time for them.
  • Stop feeding Amazon by consciously rejecting their conveniences.
    • Cancel your Prime membership. If you’ve already paid for it, put a calendar alert in your phone for the week before your subscription ends. Cancel it before they can bill you for a new cycle.
    • Turn off one-click shopping and unsave your card information. Reentering it gives me extra time to consider if I truly need what I’m about to buy.
    • If you can’t quit cold turkey, at least try to lower your purchase amount and frequency. Every little bit helps.
    • Support continued unionization efforts. The fight’s not over. Amazon works really hard to keep rallies and votes out of the spotlight, but they’re happening all the time, in many cities and states. Follow @SupportAmazonWorkers for ideas.
    • Pin this article to flood Pinterest with our vile socialist SJW propaganda!

39 thoughts to “If You Want To Eat the Rich, Stop Feeding Amazon”

  1. Thank you so much for this! I absolutely agree that so often the onus is unfairly put on consumers over corporations, but many of us have choices. I’ve never been a Prime member and I refuse to give Amazon my money and I do not shop on Amazon. It’s a small thing and you are 100% right, once you get used to it, it’s so much easier to find things secondhand, local or to not consume as much.

  2. Great article! We’ve started buying books from https://bookshop.org/, which connects with local bookstores and gives them a cut of the sales. We figure, the $1-$2 extra we may pay for books don’t make a dent in our savings (thankfully, we’re good savers), but it makes a difference for the local bookstores.

    I think you should have a Part 2 article where you discuss various other places where consumers could shop and feel good about it. For instance, Costco pays its employees well and they have diapers, Target gives to charity and they have diapers (and if you have their Redcard, then you get free shipping on any purchase), etc. Some people just have an itch (and hopefully the funds!) and need some guidance. There’s too much info out there and that leads to analysis paralysis (like you mentioned). Maybe commenters could provide you with enough examples that you don’t have to do too much work to get that article written!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. This is a fantastic idea for a follow up article, Vida.

      I try and go through this process

      1. Don’t buy
      2. Buy used
      from an independent, local store
      from a local location
      from an independent, nonlocal store
      3, Repeat that flowchart to buy new

      But, that’s not everybody’s reality – I’m privileged, too.

  3. Love the post–though I am not blameless either (and will shill the occasional book for those sweet 4 cent Amazon affiliate payments). I rarely use Amazon because I rarely shop in general, though for someone who is lazy and forgetful it has most benefitted me in sending nearly-forgotten birthday gifts to geographically distanced relatives. I will occasionally sign up for Prime for a month around holidays and end up spending more simply because I have Prime. So, without Prime, I’m not only saving myself from the monthly/annual charge, but I’m also saving myself from buying stupid crap I don’t really need.

  4. I feel the exact same way about Amazon! The amount of money Amazon made throughout the pandemic was insane and just seemed wrong to me, especially given how terribly they treat their workers. So, I cancelled my prime membership a few months ago and haven’t bought a single thing from them this year so far, and have no plans on doing so in the future.

  5. Yes, yes and yes! I may be hopelessly biased because I never joined prime, and find the number of “cheap or unregulated sh*t from China” products on the site completely off putting.
    Target offers 2 day shipping for most of their items (food may be exception here) with orders over a certain amount. I hear Target has much more people friendly policies from a friend in the HR industry.
    Walmart (probably also evil) offers about the equivalent for shipping time once you hit a cost threshold, as Target.
    Vitacost is an excellent place to get your specialty food and health products and often runs sales or other discounts.
    Chewy for pet food.
    I reduced the number of household cleaners I use and now buy the three to four cleaning fluids I need at Target, Home Depot,Walmart and refill bottles from there.
    I guess what I am saying is I feel Amazon can be easily replaced for household items and even specialty items by other retailers. And I hope people give it a try. There are far better ways to shop than on Amazon.

  6. great post! and i am happy to say we have been amazon free for 2yrs!!!! n-o-t-h-i-n-g from those f$%!ers!!!
    everyone says – well they sux, but what choices do we have? there are SO many better choices – we dont have to be held hostage in how we spend our $$!

  7. I’ve been trying to quit Amazon for about 2 years and now that I finally graduated and got a big girl job (thanks for negotiation tip articles, they helped a lot!!) it actually looks feasible. Not gonna lie, moving from a 20k person town to a city with 500k+ people helped a lot too.
    But honestly, removing the choice paralysis is amazing. Not worrying about “But was this the BEST option?” But rather “This was the best option presented to me and I supported a small business so it’s fine.”

    I’m looking around right now at local farms to get a CSA and do some community supported agriculture. Etsy is also becoming a go to but I have to make sure to order things way in advance.

    1. Rural living definitely makes it trickier (currently living in a town of 17K) … or it makes it easier, because then you just … don’t buy things. For some of those daily necessities (deodorant, socks) I definitely end up at Walmart a lot more in a small town though.

  8. I feel like I’m kind of halfway on this, because I’d like to quit Amazing completely, but there is 1 thing I still haven’t been able to give up – and that’s ebooks.

    I have a metric shitload of Kindle ebooks. I moved back and forth between countries 3 times in the last decade, and had the joy of studying advanced English as a foreign language while living in a non-English-speaking country. Then I was broke for a good few years, and I’m very good at finding cheap ebooks for pennies.

    I know that realistically, I won’t be able to move back to exclusively paper books, because my flat isn’t the Tardis and is therefore not bigger on the inside. I probably just need to draw a line under that Kindle collection, and buy a different e-reader once my current one breaks, which won’t be long now, then start getting my ebooks from somewhere else. For now, I tell myself that at least no one needs to pack those books into boxes in a warehouse, but let’s be real, this excuse is only going to make me feel better for so long.

    (I know you’re going to suggest the library. And I honestly try to remember to check my library catalogue before I buy anything. Nine times out of ten, they don’t have the book I want. Underinvestment in public libraries is one of my possible supervillain origin stories.)

    1. archive.org is a great resource for finding books online from libraries all over the world – I always check the site if my library doesn’t have something.

    2. Kobo is a great alternative if you want to buy ebooks! They’ve got a ton of great ebooks, and also audiobooks. They’re through Rakuten, which so far as I can tell is not affiliated with Amazon. If you’re also an audiobook person, Libro.fm is awesome and will give you a discount if you’re switching over from Audible. Happy reading!!

    3. Have you tried Libby? Lots of Ebooks that do NOT show up when you search your library’s website. It also has the advantage of being able to link multiple library cards – I have library cards linked from like the last 5 cities I lived in, which gives me access to the Ebook library of libraries in said 5 cities.

      1. Yeah, Libby is my go-to. I live in London, and I have cards for like 4 different boroughs, but it’s still hard to find stuff. I mean, it makes sense. Libraries are maintained by local governments, and local governments’ funding is gutted. Before Covid, my nearest library was struggling so much that they didn’t even have staff in every day, just some days. Of course they don’t buy a lot of newer books.

    4. There’s also an awesome browser extension, just called “Library Extension” (https://www.libraryextension.com/) that you can add, and it looks at the books on the webpage you’re viewing and will check your associated libraries, including some public stuff like scribd and archive.org, and let you know which might have it. I also share library accounts with my mom and sister for ebooks. Tor.com usually gives away a free ebook every month in kindle and mobi formats.

      One other tool I really like for ebooks in Calibre. Open source (by nerds, for nerds) and it organizes your ebook collection. Of course, I would never advocate for violating DRM or any other protection that is definitely there to serve the content creators, but Calibre can also do conversions between file types. So, if you wanted to convert your free Tor book so it is readable on your kindle, Calibre could help you with that. Formatting isn’t always perfect, but the capabilities it offers are a delight.

  9. I basically agree with everything you wrote. The amount of money and power Amazon has is totally out of control. Those of us who have the privilege to shop elsewhere (i.e. locally) should stay away from them. I’m really glad that I have the option to stay away (although I’m European, which makes it a lot easier for me than for Americans).

  10. Yes! I feel really fortunate to be able to spend a little more to support small businesses when I can. In the beforetimes I tried to buy local and pre-owned as much as I could. Since I’ve been shopping online more I’ve found a lot of new places in trying to avoid Amazon. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt! :)~

    Progressive Shopper (https://progressiveshopper.com) has been helpful weighing options and finding alternatives.

    Also can we just normalizing paying for shipping? It’s simply not free.

    I’m not perfect though. Would love to cancel Prime but I can’t convince my partner. The best I can do is be an example and refuse to watch anything Prime with them. Womp womp.

  11. Thank you for this. I couldn’t agree more and do not support Amazon. It’s amazing how many people I know that would never shop at Walmart but who love Amazon, presumably thinking they are a good small business alternative.

    Whenever I ask people the last five things they ordered from Amazon, 9.9 times of 10, they will admit to having received multiple packages that week and not be able to cite more than maybe two items. Clearly they don’t need or value the majority of what they order from Amazon.

  12. We’ve been doing a lot more target.com shopping and getting things at our local grocery store that we wouldn’t usually get there, but also smaller retailers. Some favorites: Jetpens for stationery, nuts.com for specialty items (and nuts and candy), Penzey’s (a truly wonderful company– try their Justice spice blend on hummus!) for spices, chewy for pet food, vom foss for olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a teashop in the city near us that we used to visit, a gamestore in the city near us we used to visit, etc.

    Really we need more federal regulation for this natural monopoly, and for Facebook too. I’m not sure what political activism could be done to push in that direction, though getting rid of the filibuster is a good start and then overturning citizens united via legislation so that rich companies don’t have more power than all the voters.

  13. Oh geez, thank you for this piece. A relative had an antiquarian and used book business, and I have… feelings… about Amazon. You inspired me to look over my records and I spent (only?) $151 on Amazon last year, but confess I have been codependent during the pandemic with my partner’s Amazon Prime account. So far I can’t get them to cancel it, though I have gotten them to deny selecting next day shipping and at least have things arrive on a timeline that hopefully requires fewer graveyard shifts for the warehouse and delivery staff. Baby steps.

    Can I add that I also hate how it’s become normalized for people to give each other Amazon giftcards as presents? I’ve seen them at office holiday parties, children’s birthdays, freaking everywhere. I’m all for not gifting people specific physical crap they don’t want, but if you are going for the more open-ended route, I at least would gratefully accept cash or a check instead. Or food. All the food.

    These days I often use Amazon’s site to research items, then buy the same thing used on eBay. Very satisfying. And Etsy for craft supplies. If I may make a random craft/sewing supply sourcing suggestion, check out ShopJunket on Etsy. She sources everything secondhand, refuses to airship anything because it uses more fuel than ground or boat shipping, and is basically an awesome anti-Amazon. Finally, never underestimate the power of your local Buy Nothing or Freecycle group.

    1. ugh the amzaon giftcard gift! my partner sent an email to his family telling them we dont shop there & to please not send us giftcards…their response…ummmm then we still got the gift cards. Finally last holiday season he was specific & said get us giftcards to a certain place and they did!

  14. After giving up Amazon start looking at the other companies owned by Amazon also Includes Zappos, C-Cleaner for your computer and a myriad of other companies too! It’s tough to look everything up, but worse to support Amazon through its other companies! I have begun to pay the higher price and the shipping just to avoid Amazon’s greedy grasp Hang in there

    1. Yes! i mistakenly ordered from zappos – got the amazon packaging, did 2 seconds of research & crossed them off my list! the societal cost to shopping at Amazon is just like walmart, they undercut the prices on their merchandise but society has to pay for their ills…i feel lucky to be able to buy a *slightly* higher priced item than buy from them!

  15. This is a great article. I worked in independent bookstores for 13 years, so I’m already predisposed to hate Amazon and try to find my items elsewhere. It’s easier because I live in a big city, but it’s sometimes fun to figure out who sells my niche items. The thing that frustrates me is when I find a product on the manufacturer’s website rather than going through Amazon, but they fulfil all their orders through Amazon, which I find out when I get the same Amazon box.

  16. Thank you for writing this article. I’m totally with you. I’m not 100% off Amazon, but I try to make it a last resort for the oddities that can’t be found elsewhere. I rarely buy ebooks, but I’m still trying to figure out how bookshop works with my kindle for ebooks. (I know. Next, I need to figure out how to extract myself from kindle.) I second what another commenter said about doing a Part 2 of where else you can find stuff. I used to rarely shop at Target, but pandemic + had a baby meant Target has become our go to for all the stuff there aren’t easy small business options for. Etsy has been great for certain items when needing to purchase. I still love the used market and finding ways to get around buying or find a more easily procurable substitute.

  17. Great article. I agree with everything your wrote.

    I was scarred for life by the Sears catalogue, so I avoid any kind of on-line shopping unless it’s absolutely impossible to find elsewhere. As I am blessed to live in a big metropolis, that happens very rarely.

    But buying from Amazon is only one side of the coin. The blood on my hands if from owning Amazon shares. Not directly, of course. But I own a whack of S&P500 ETF shares and thus I own Amazon shares and profit (gulp) from their tactics.

    I have not been able to resolve this conundrum (yet). There are funds out there that are socially this, and value driven that, but I’ve looked into those and have been underwhelmed. Some have criteria that are a joke, some have criteria that don’t align with my values (I have no problems whatsoever profiting from alcohol, for example) and they all charge high fees for……… I’ll stop ranting now.

    If I were to win the lottery jackpot, I would totally switch to impact investing and only invest in companies that I have personally chosen. But to do that and remain diversified, well, it would have to be a pretty large jackpot.

    Of course, if we could convince everyone to stop using Amazon, the company would drop out off the S&P500 list and my problem would be solved!

  18. My shopping history with Amazon goes back to at least 2006 – college books! The appeal of using Amazon circa 2012 to now, however, was that it was so much more convenient and less soul-sucking than shopping at other big box stores. Spending two-plus hours of my life to drive to a Target on a Sunday and spending hundreds of $$. Ugh. So Amazon.

    But now… something to think on – great article!

    1. Yes, that’s a good question, and it’ll be much harder to stop using companies that use AWS (e.g. Netflix and Twitter) than to stop shopping at Amazon. I’ve seen that AWS accounted for over half of Amazon’s profits last year.

  19. Just set up cancellation for my prime membership. I’ll miss the free sub I got through Twitch, but it’s a small price to pay. Prime is such bogus, too; they used to offer it to students for free (or really cheap) and now it’s $120 a year.

  20. I live in Australia and Amazon only recently began to ‘properly’ sell items here quite recently. I never understood the appeal until seeing every other ‘influencer’ announce they bought this and that on amazon and got it delivered the next day. Then I started to hear about the horror story of what it was/is like to be one of their workers and thought ‘ up!’, never ever will I be supporting THAT! I completely understand that during the panini it was/is easier, not to mention safer to place an order on Amazon. But I think its worth it (environmental, human rights etc) to look and buy elsewhere. Amazon earned record profits during the peak of the panini and did they share this with any organisations that were struggling? They had ample opportunity and resources to do so? Here in Australia we generally don’t have next day delivery for anything, don’t have curb side pickup and aren’t as ‘reliant’ on online shopping for access to products. I’d rather vote with my money (however also acknowledge I come from a place of privilege to be able to do so.)

  21. I have a slightly different take on Amazon. I work for a big company who won’t even interview you if you don’t have a 4 year degree in the right field.

    Years ago, I met a guy who started as an Amazon warehouse worker. He had no degree but coded for fun and was fascinated by the robots they were starting to use. One of his supervisors noticed and let him start messing around and programming the robots. In 2 years he went from a minimum wage box pusher to a well paid robotics programmer with NO DEGREE. He was so proud to work there and be Called a robotics guy, and was very grateful to his employer.

    Now, this was about 6 years ago so things may have changed but at the time it made me feel good supporting Amazon. Having come from poverty myself, I was blown away that career paths like this even existed and thought Amazon was great for promoting someone based on skill alone and not pedigree. (I thought debt crippling college was the only way).

    All the crazy quota BS is the result of a big company trying to keep stockholders happy. It’s not just about earning billions. You have to grow, grow, grow or perish. I concur that it is a high stress work environment and not fun. (My big company used to also be a stock market darling, until it wasn’t .)

    Here’s what else I learned working at a company like this..bad press does drive change, so these articles are important. Our managers called it “the newspaper test”. Don’t do stuff that you don’t want seen on the cover of NY times.

    I do hate all the Chinese garbage products you have to sift through and prices aren’t as great as they used to be, so I’m using Amazon much less now. Walmart is getting better and I am supportive of their efforts around bringing jobs back to the US and some of their green initiatives. They are another one who started to change once the press got bad but there is still room for improvement. It saddens me that you can work there and still qualify for food aid that you then spend at the store. It’s like serfdom. Why are we subsidizing this? Maybe if we start by shopping at stores that offer the highest cashier wages?

  22. Thank you for putting this in no uncertain terms. My household is totally guilty of this. We have Prime and the Prime rewards credit card, but my husband and I will be discussing this article and our options to wean ourselves from Amazon.

  23. Such a friggin’ well written article, I’m with you all the way.
    1 purchase in 2020
    0 purchases in 2021
    So many online options direct with local shops as you mentioned or straight to the companies you want products from. Thanks for putting this together

  24. A couple years ago when I cancelled my Prime subscription, it was $120/yr. I told their customer survey that it was too expensive. Before I was allowed to cancel completely, a message popped up “If $120/yr is too expensive, how about $15/month?” I was so pissed! Does Amazon really think I can’t do basic math?! (Yes, I know that’s exactly what they think)

    Anyway, I only made one Amazon purchase in 2020 and none in 2021.

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