In his new book Hired: Six Months Undercover In Low Wage Britain writer and journalist James Bloodworth goes undercover at Amazon to find out what life is like for those working in its warehouses. And while the online retailer says otherwise, it sounds as if its "fulfilment" centres are anything but.
“You carried around with you this hand-held electronic device which would monitor whereabouts you were in the warehouse. It was also a countdown timer, so as soon as you collected your item, because you spend most of your day scanning items and putting them in baskets, as soon as you scan an item the timer would flip and it would be counting down”, he explains. According to James, employees had to follow this timer all day. It’s the sort of gamification that Amazon would never want to see streamed on Twitch.
This is all part of what James describes in the book as Amazon’s strike system, where each employee earns a strike for all sorts of minor infractions - and if you hit six, you get sacked. What makes this particularly draconian - and hence the alleged peeing in bottles - is that these infractions can be incredibly minor, such as turning up 30 seconds late for work, or even (as James experienced in the book) calling in sick.
|Worked in a Photomat|
|The Ultimate Productivity Blog|
|Go on a Cruise to Get Work Done|
|The Man They Couldn't Hang|
|Cabbage Patch Clerk|
|“Research that could engineer dinosaurs back into existence within the next five to 10 years.”|
|“A man-powered machine that creates scarfs in 5 minutes.”|
|Fake Name Generator|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|“If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“The only thing worse than assuming that carbon removal will save the day is assuming it will save the day.”|
|What Computers See When They Watch a Movie|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“A machine meant to hurl rockets into space.”|