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The dark side of Amazon

Let me preface this post by saying that I use Amazon, a lot; more than I would ever like to admit or think about. The lure of next day delivery and cheap necessities is perfect for people with busy lives. ?  I can’t remember the last time I went shopping (properly) or had time to pop out for the odd bits and pieces that are often hard to find. Amazon does, quite often, save the day for me and almost everyone else I know.

However, this intangible way of shopping means we’re more disconnected than ever from the process of purchasing, and the story behind the product. With two-hour delivery slots from desktop to your desk at home, the value we place on things is being degraded daily.

There’s a darker side to the seemingly endless convenience and savings ?; perhaps not for the consumers, but definitely for the businesses and workers behind it. The sheer army it takes to make the Amazon beast keep marching has dehumanising consequences. An undercover reporter recently discovered that the seemingly slick operation at one depot was ‘a soulless world of backbreaking toil, petty rules, low pay and Orwellian surveillance’. Despite this, we are all too enamoured with the convenience, cost effectiveness and charm of the platform.

And what about the consequences for small business? Is it just going to wipe them out? High competition, high selling fees, and order management are big issues; if a similar product is 15% cheaper than you, how do you compete? ? ? The brand story and soul is lost on the platform, and credit isn’t given to the business, as Amazon is the front for it all. Grey, grey, grey.

It’s a classic case of David vs Goliath, and guess who’s winning?

Last week, I wrote about fast and slow consumption. I’m trying in earnest to consume as ‘slowly’ as possible (and might have started a business because of that!), and a big part of this is being more aware of the process and origins of my products. Consuming slowly is consuming consciously, you feel good before, during and after your purchases. ?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with Amazon, please do share them below. ?


  1. Nigel Tolley

    Worse? Amazon don't even pay tax in the UK! How can we compete against a company that sells products cheaper then a business can buy the item from the wholesaler or manufacturer? You can't make some of this stuff competitive for the cost of shipping, and then Amazon ships it for "free" anyway. Total nightmare.

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