I like to think of myself and my family as responsible shoppers and users of products. After all, we make our own laundry and bath soap. We grow a lot of our own food. We shop at thrift stores. We hang our clothes out to dry on the line in warm weather instead of using the dryer. We do not drive to work. We recently invested on solar panels. We do not use pesticides or herbicides in our yard. We do not shop at Walmart and seek to patronize locally owned businesses. The list goes on.
But it’s not enough. Still, changes need to be made.
I have been an online customer of Amazon since 2003. That’s 15 years of online shopping. From the convenience of my home I have ordered books (I love my Kindle), gifts, household and personal items at great prices and with Prime membership I’ve save a lot on shipping costs. If I need to return something I have been very satisfied with the easy process of doing that. This way of shopping has suited my schedule as I can shop at any time of the day without driving. A win-win.
Or is it?
Over the last few years I have become increasingly aware of some things about Amazon that have created a bad taste in my mouth. I learned about a year ago that Amazon will build a facility in Salt Lake City. What an economic advantage! More jobs, right? Right, except…..the jobs are 30 hours a week at 10 dollars an hour. Sound familiar? What other huge corporation does this?
I have also learned the Amazon recently bought Whole Foods. I have read that Amazon is quickly becoming an equal competitor of Walmart in the acquisition of grocery stores and other companies. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, is the richest person on the planet, with a worth of $100 Billion. Recent predictions are that there will be around 500,000 employees by the end of the year. If you take just half of the wealth of Bezos and divide it between 500,000 employees (future number predicted), that comes to roughly 100,000 dollars in wealth per employee in wealth. Imagine if Bezos gave that half of his wealth to his employees….
An August 2017 article in USA today describes the job growth that Amazon is creating. But….
The breakneck growth of Amazon is “upending” the retail industry, which accounts for one out of every eight jobs in the USA, says Stacy Mitchell, co-author of a recent report that concluded Amazon eliminated about 149,000 more jobs in retail than it has created in its warehouses.
“Amazon pays its warehouse employees 15% less on average than the prevailing wage of other warehouse workers in the same region, and it is experimenting widely with ways, such as temporary and on-demand employment, to erode job security,” Mitchell says.
The article also describes the troubled history Amazon has with the labor force, resulting in labor disputes.
Amazon is also creating its own shipping business, which will have a significant negative impact on the US Postal Service, which has been a contracted delivery service for Amazon.
The increasing information that is exposed about Amazon’s continued expansion in taking over the retail world at the expense of human beings and their ability to support themselves has resulted in my decision that I will not longer support Amazon beginning NOW (actually a few days ago….). So, I have made a personal significant change for 2018 and hopefully forever in my shopping habits.
I have unsubscribed from my Prime membership. I have deleted my payment method. I have made sure that all my ebooks (most which I got for free) for my Kindle have been downloaded to multiple devices, including on the hard drives on two computers. I will no longer purchase anything from Amazon. I will be deleting my account once I am sure there are no lingering things that need to be resolved.
I have been investigating and have found socially responsible book stores that have ebooks available for my devices, including open source and activist bookstores.
While I still have work to do to change some of my habits overall that affect the planet, I feel good about no longer patronizing a retail giant that has no interest in the planet or all its life.