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(Salon)   Amazon is "worse than Wal-Mart," claims person who clearly pays full price for everything   (salon.com) divider line 147
    More: Unlikely, Wal-Mart, corporate citizen  
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9191 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jul 2013 at 9:37 AM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-30 09:11:04 AM
Incredible - it's as if these huge corporations make money by not paying too much for chimp labor.  You know, I bet fast food jobs, usually held by students due to the flexible hours, don't pay well because their profit margin is razor thin except on soft drinks.
 
2013-07-30 09:24:37 AM
So Amazon gets a monopoly on ebook distribution with a hand from the DOJ because they don't want to let Apple etc rape everybody on pricing?  Apple can match Amazon's pricing.  Hell it's all just bits and bytes.  Once you have the infrastructure in place, everything else is gravy.

/call me when I can go browse peopleofamazon.com and laugh at the pictures.
 
2013-07-30 09:43:19 AM
It seems the thing they are most worried about is the government's use of the Amazon cloud for storing data.  All I have to say is "at least it's an American company this time".   Of course it would be better if the Government developed it's own cloud solution, but considering what I've seen of Government IT departments (one or two people taking care of 100+ servers while also doing desktop support and troubleshooting code for programmers), I doubt they have the man hours to build their own functioning cloud.  I guess they could outsource the actual building of the cloud, but then who would maintain it?  It's not like they are going to hire more workers since there would be public outcry for the Government "wasting money" again.
 
2013-07-30 09:43:26 AM
Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.
 
2013-07-30 09:43:55 AM
It's not that wages are too low, it's that prices are too damn high.
 
2013-07-30 09:44:18 AM
BizarreMan:
/call me when I can go browse peopleofamazon.com and laugh at the pictures.

Pick up a copy of National Geographic.
 
2013-07-30 09:44:19 AM
It's funny they think Amazon's profits come from books.
 
2013-07-30 09:45:09 AM
I skimmed the article, but I don't see where Wal*Mart fits in here.  It's mostly about Amazon destroying book stores and book store culture.  And yes, that's terrible.  Walmart and its war on local retail stores as well as the US's major goods producers is also horrible.  But the real crime in this story is our investment in Tennessee, where you get the Mexico / China level of quality and service but pay the American-level wages.
 
2013-07-30 09:45:49 AM
"Book culture"? Books are not accessories, poser.
 
2013-07-30 09:47:04 AM
And Amazon felt confident enough last week - with Wall Street satisfied, bookstores reeling and the Justice Department going after publishers - to radically slash prices on many best-selling hardcovers to nearly unseen levels: $9.09 for Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In," $11.65 for Dan Brown's "Inferno." That's less than most paperbacks, and led one bookseller to call it a brazen "declaration of war."

"They've devalued the concept of what a book is, and turned it into a widget," said Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson, one of Amazon's most prominent critics.


A new hardback book for $11.65? Oh the humanity!!

What special concept does this person have for books? Beyond "we demand $25-30 for hardbacks, dammit"?
 
2013-07-30 09:47:45 AM
Remember that one time where Walmart announced it was hiring 7,000 workers for a wage well above the retail average, with health benefits, and tuition assistance that's not limited to subjects related to the worker's job?

Because I don't.
 
2013-07-30 09:48:13 AM
Truly, the only way to beat the laws of thermodynamics is with slave labor. Really.
 
2013-07-30 09:49:07 AM
In France, retailers are prohibited from slashing the price of books. The result? Paris is filled with bookstores -- adding to the cultural flavor of the city.
 
2013-07-30 09:49:46 AM

Russ1642: Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.


Our local Walmart recently got rid of the greeters/receipt checkers.

A week later they had security footage of a couple dazzling urbanites walking out the front door with $14k worth of laptops, and were asking local people for help in identifying them.

The greeters are back, since they can pay one for a year and still not hit $14k in salary to compare with one incidence of merchandise theft.
 
2013-07-30 09:51:16 AM
The mp3s I buy from Amazon are burdening warehouse workers? I...I don't know what to say. I feel terrible.
 
2013-07-30 09:51:53 AM
Amazon has a higher average pay, provides health care insurance for employees and has a stock plan that equates to about a 9% bonus.

//can't find any stats on the number of employees who work full time but qualify for govt bennies like food stamps but there is ample evidence that many Walmart do...
 
2013-07-30 09:52:24 AM
My experience is that locally run Mom and Pop stores suck. They have no inventory, no selection, and aren't as knowledgable as portrayed in the movies (Meg Ryan I'm looking at you). Big stores have everything, cheaper prices, are open early and late, and have the same idiots on staff.
 
2013-07-30 09:52:37 AM
"The companies war on bookstores and book culture"?

Really?  That's what you went with?
 
2013-07-30 09:53:38 AM

Speaker2Animals: In France, retailers are prohibited from slashing the price of books. The result? Paris is filled with bookstores -- adding to the cultural flavor of the city.


So because some people need a place to hang out that fits in with there intellectual self image, everyone else should have to pay 200% more for the latest harry potter and the sexy vampires book?
 
2013-07-30 09:54:09 AM

Nana's Vibrator: I skimmed the article, but I don't see where Wal*Mart fits in here.  It's mostly about Amazon destroying book stores and book store culture.  And yes, that's terrible.  Walmart and its war on local retail stores as well as the US's major goods producers is also horrible.



Not only that, but WalMart is heavily into censorship. Article, including the subtitle ("[Amazon's] ...war on book culture") was clickbait.

But the real crime in this story is our investment in Tennessee, where you get the Mexico / China level of quality and service but pay the American-level wages.

Have you read Chuck Thompson's "Better Off Without 'Em"? They aren't really American-level wages.
 
2013-07-30 09:55:05 AM

the opposite of charity is justice: What special concept does this person have for books? Beyond "we demand $25-30 for hardbacks, dammit"?


They much prefer Steve Job's price fixing model of business.  This free market competition crap is way overrated.
 
2013-07-30 09:55:22 AM

Speaker2Animals: In France, retailers are prohibited from slashing the price of books. The result? Paris is filled with bookstores -- adding to the cultural flavor of the city.


Despite our constant mocking, the French actually do many things correctly. That includes worker's rights, health care, job security, etc.
 
2013-07-30 09:55:22 AM
Mental note: never return to Paris.
 
2013-07-30 09:55:24 AM

GORDON: A week later they had security footage of a couple dazzling urbanites walking out the front door with $14k worth of laptops, and were asking local people for help in identifying them.


I didn't know WalMart sold MacBook's.  ;)

Gotta be more to the story than that.  Every WalMart I've been in, the computers etc have all been locked in cases and if you want something you have to get the electronics wonk to unlock the case or get the box from the back room.  They then walk you right to their register and ring you up.  That much value in laptops at has to be at least 10 or more.  You push a cart full of laptops through the store and nobody notices?
 
2013-07-30 09:55:56 AM
Nana's Vibrator: "I skimmed the article, but I don't see where Wal*Mart fits in here.  It's mostly about Amazon destroying book stores and book store culture.  And yes, that's terrible.  Walmart and its war on local retail stores as well as the US's major goods producers is also horrible....."


Really ?   You're struggling to see where Walmart fits in ?

...really?
 
2013-07-30 09:56:05 AM
What's amazing about Amazon is that Jeff Bezos has been able to keep his unprofitable empire going for so long that Wall Street continues to fund the enterprise. I admire any business model that saves me money at the expense of large investors.

In the meantime, Amazon has done a lot more to benefit people than Wal-Mart. Amazon isn't just a digital retailer; they're a marketplace. In recent years, they've moved away from carrying every item on the planet and have instead made strategic partnerships for fulfillment deals with manufacturers and niche retailers. They also directly facilitate consumer to consumer transactions so that people who have stuff and want to sell it can do so on a major website, and they drive prices down (and keep the secondhand or underpriced items offered by sellers from being too attractive) by offering free shipping on new products. If prices are too high for a niche market, Amazon is usually one of the forces bringing them down.

Unlike the Walton family, which is comprised of do-nothing billionaires who continue to hoard money at the expense of their employees, nobody is getting unspeakably rich off Amazon. The enterprise is so efficient and so geared at providing savings that the users benefit from the system most. The only company that even comes close to offering the same sort of consistent value is Costco, and Amazon can undercut even them by not needing retail operations. (Costco treats its employees much better than Amazon, however, and is a better corporate citizen all around.)

Wal-Mart builds giant stores, shovels a bunch of crap out on the shelves and then barely staffs its cash registers or its floors. Wal-Mart does little for the communities around it and has a parasitic relationship with suppliers. When Wal-Mart wants to build a new store, it does so by threatening local governments to get tax breaks and development deals. In other words, the same things the Salon writer quotes about Amazon are from Wal-Mart's playbook... except Wal-Mart is much worse because it isn't delivering the same level of value.
 
2013-07-30 09:56:49 AM

BizarreMan: GORDON: A week later they had security footage of a couple dazzling urbanites walking out the front door with $14k worth of laptops, and were asking local people for help in identifying them.

I didn't know WalMart sold MacBook's.  ;)

Gotta be more to the story than that.  Every WalMart I've been in, the computers etc have all been locked in cases and if you want something you have to get the electronics wonk to unlock the case or get the box from the back room.  They then walk you right to their register and ring you up.  That much value in laptops at has to be at least 10 or more.  You push a cart full of laptops through the store and nobody notices?


I don't have a lot of experience with Walmarts... but ours is sort of outside the city, is always clean and well-maintained, and the computers and stuff are not locked up.  The video game cabinet is locked, but laptops and stuff are just on the shelf.
 
2013-07-30 09:58:03 AM
My friend who is pretty involved with the writing community says that Amazon is pretty detested by a lot of authors.
 
2013-07-30 09:59:00 AM
He's right.  Amazon is using it's monopoly powers to put thousands out of work, and the low prices will quickly come to an end.
 
2013-07-30 09:59:08 AM

GORDON: Russ1642: Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.

Our local Walmart recently got rid of the greeters/receipt checkers.

A week later they had security footage of a couple dazzling urbanites walking out the front door with $14k worth of laptops, and were asking local people for help in identifying them.

The greeters are back, since they can pay one for a year and still not hit $14k in salary to compare with one incidence of merchandise theft.


Maybe they could spend that 14k on a camera that has better quality than a potato. Or they could pay someone who isn't pissed off at life to be the greeter.
 
2013-07-30 09:59:14 AM

Russ1642: Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.


Wal-Mart doesn't actually have greeters anymore, not really.  And receipt interrogation is pretty much a thing of the past, too, unless someone sets off the detector thingamajiggy.
 
2013-07-30 10:00:26 AM

degenerate-afro: but considering what I've seen of Government IT departments (one or two people taking care of 100+ servers while also doing desktop support and troubleshooting code for programmers), I doubt they have the man hours to build their own functioning cloud.  I guess they could outsource the actual building of the cloud, but then who would maintain it?  It's not like they are going to hire more workers since there would be public outcry for the Government "wasting money" again.


Working in Government IT, that doesn't matter.  They'll just pile it on the one or two of us, and tell us to make it work.
 
2013-07-30 10:01:18 AM
I went into Barnes and Noble the other day in an attempt to buy a book released only last year that wasn't paranormal teen romance or menopausal erotica. Good riddance, bookstores. You won't be missed.
 
2013-07-30 10:01:36 AM

Xanadone: Russ1642: Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.

Wal-Mart doesn't actually have greeters anymore, not really.  And receipt interrogation is pretty much a thing of the past, too, unless someone sets off the detector thingamajiggy.


I've always seen that as more of a Sam's Club thing anyway.
 
2013-07-30 10:02:18 AM
I had pretty much stopped buying and reading books until I bought a Kindle three years ago.

Which is especially odd since I used to work in a family-owned bookstore and typically read 3-4 books a week through my 30s.

If anything, Amazon has brought me back to books.
 
2013-07-30 10:02:19 AM
There's a ton of bookstores in my area that amazon doesn't seem to be hurting. Of course they all focus on different versions of Bible. But hey, at least we have book store culture!
 
2013-07-30 10:02:30 AM

bdub77: My friend who is pretty involved with the writing community says that Amazon is pretty detested by a lot of authors.


Why?  Why can't they just publish directly to Kindle & make a helluva lot more money, per book, than through dead-tree distribution?

//my sister's heavily involved in the writing community.  Her professors HATE ebooks, but have been completely unable to explain why, when ebooks are so much more profitable for authors.  The best explanation offered thus far is publishers act as content filters, preventing authors from putting more crap out to the world.
 
2013-07-30 10:04:26 AM

Russ1642: My experience is that locally run Mom and Pop stores suck. They have no inventory, no selection, and aren't as knowledgable as portrayed in the movies (Meg Ryan I'm looking at you). Big stores have everything, cheaper prices, are open early and late, and have the same idiots on staff.


Been shopping lately?  The big stores don't have selection (They're following the Walmart model) and they frequently don't have inventory, either.
 
2013-07-30 10:05:28 AM

Nana's Vibrator: I skimmed the article, but I don't see where Wal*Mart fits in here.  It's mostly about Amazon destroying book stores and book store culture.  And yes, that's terrible.  Walmart and its war on local retail stores as well as the US's major goods producers is also horrible.  But the real crime in this story is our investment in Tennessee, where you get the Mexico / China level of quality and service but pay the American-level wages.


People who love the written word cannot maintain a book culture on the internet, with words? :p
 
2013-07-30 10:07:36 AM
And Amazon felt confident enough last week - with Wall Street satisfied, bookstores reeling and the Justice Department going after publishers - to radically slash prices on many best-selling hardcovers to nearly unseen levels: $9.09 for Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In," $11.65 for Dan Brown's "Inferno."


And we see the horrible consequences of monopoly power come true: lower prices.

Wait, what?
 
2013-07-30 10:07:57 AM

BizarreMan: So Amazon gets a monopoly on ebook distribution with a hand from the DOJ because they don't want to let Apple etc rape everybody on pricing?  Apple can match Amazon's pricing.  Hell it's all just bits and bytes.  Once you have the infrastructure in place, everything else is gravy.

/call me when I can go browse peopleofamazon.com and laugh at the pictures.


1-media-cdn.foolz.us
 
2013-07-30 10:08:43 AM

Xanadone: Russ1642: Having an octogenerian say hi to you when you enter and then harass you over your receipt, that they can't read since it isn't size 20 font, when you leave will not make customers love you.

Wal-Mart doesn't actually have greeters anymore, not really.  And receipt interrogation is pretty much a thing of the past, too, unless someone sets off the detector thingamajiggy.


ALL of the WalMarts here in Edmonton have greeters, and they all check receipts. Do you think I was just making up crap? This is personal experience.
 
2013-07-30 10:09:37 AM
I wonder what the overlap is between people who call books "dead trees" and people who call the real world "meat world".
 
2013-07-30 10:10:42 AM

DubtodaIll: It's not that wages are too low, it's that prices are too damn high.


I thought the rate of inflation has been pretty well-behaved for a few decades now.   Meanwhile, minimum wage is notoriously horizontal, and companies can convert more revenue to profit by short-changing employees---so I'll take a wild guess that wages are indeed the problem.
 
2013-07-30 10:10:50 AM
Amazon is "worse than Wal-Mart," claims person who clearly pays full price for everything works in Wal-Mart's PR department
 
2013-07-30 10:11:07 AM

Lexx: bdub77: My friend who is pretty involved with the writing community says that Amazon is pretty detested by a lot of authors.

Why?  Why can't they just publish directly to Kindle & make a helluva lot more money, per book, than through dead-tree distribution?

//my sister's heavily involved in the writing community.  Her professors HATE ebooks, but have been completely unable to explain why, when ebooks are so much more profitable for authors.  The best explanation offered thus far is publishers act as content filters, preventing authors from putting more crap out to the world.


The biggest problem for him is that it hurts local bookstores who have to compete not only with big boxes like B&N but increasingly with amazon. It's the browsing mentality. And the local bookstores tend to be arm and arm with writers because they are used for things like signing events, a lot of the mom and pops do children's reading time, etc.

For the record, I disagree with him, I think he's just resistant to change and doesn't understand that the business model is at best a little outdated and at worst an anachronism. Libraries still exist and they read to kids, and I imagine they would be a good location for local authors to show up. Bookstores would do well to install and push ebook vending so a person could get an ebook easily for at or around the cost of amazon. Some of them do I'm sure. And some local bookstores still do OK.
 
2013-07-30 10:13:04 AM
The war on books and book culture?

I read MORE books than I did before Amazon.  I buy e-books on my Kindle and Ipad, and paperbacks on Amazon with the two-day free delivery.   Seems to me they've made access to books easier.
 
2013-07-30 10:13:27 AM

the_cnidarian: There's a ton of bookstores in my area that amazon doesn't seem to be hurting. Of course they all focus on different versions of Bible. But hey, at least we have book store culture!


Here in NYC it's a dying market, all the small stores are closing down, leaving only the chains and some of them are shutting down as well.
 
2013-07-30 10:13:53 AM
Didn't read TFA, but I do know some people that left where I work to go work in one of Amazon's warehouses and they came back after about a week begging for their old jobs back because of the horrendous working conditions and these were hardworking blue collar folks so if they were complaining it had to be bad
 
2013-07-30 10:17:07 AM

bdub77: For the record, I disagree with him, I think he's just resistant to change and doesn't understand that the business model is at best a little outdated and at worst an anachronism


^ This.

Bemoaning bookstores is a bit like bemoaning the loss of the buggy whip.  I'll take the internet over a bookstore any day.
 
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