Amazon and other e-commerce companies have vast order fulfillment warehouses filled with shelves full of goods. Traditional big-box retailers don’t have the same kind of operations, but are trying to compete with e-commerce companies in shipping items directly to customers’ homes and to stores for pickup. How can they compete without building fulfillment warehouses of their own? By turning their existing stores and employees into a vast online order fulfillment operation. [More]
Woodman’s Food Market, a Wisconsin-based supermarket chain, is going up against one the nation’s largest producers of household products, accusing Clorox of promoting anticompetitive practices and violating federal law by no longer allowing Woodman’s to sell bulk-packs of Clorox products to consumers. [More]
Amazon has almost 100 warehouses all over the world for storing and packing their merchandise that hasn’t been sold yet, but in recent months, the company has opened some new facilities. They’re a different kind of warehouse, called sortation centers. Yes, “sortation” is a word. Truckloads of packages that are boxed up and ready to ship come in, and pallets full of packages already sorted by zip code come out. [More]
Following the December 2013 death of a temporary worker at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey, the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has issued citations to five companies involved in staffing the warehouse, while also revealing that it is investigating another death at an Amazon facility in Pennsylvania. [More]
Most of our readers are probably too young to have even heard of “Harvest of Shame,” a 1960 hourlong CBS documentary special hosted by news legend Edward R. Murrow. It exposed the terrible physical and employment conditions of migrant workers on American farms. Today, there’s a different kind of mistreated invisible workforce all around us: the armies of temporary workers who power our warehouses and factories. Turns out that picking strawberries in 1960 has a lot in common with unpacking stuffed animals in 2013. [More]
Matt needed a new refrigerator, and he needed one quickly. Well, his tenant did, and he needed to pay for it. He saw that Sears had one available for immediate delivery, and even advertised on their site that they could help consumers out in appliance emergencies. Sweet! Only their definition of “in stock” differs from the real meaning of that term. The refrigerator isn’t in their warehouse. They can’t deliver it. They’re waiting to get more from the manufacturer, and have to leave Matt and his tenant in limbo.
Consumerist readers, and Americans in general, love having things shipped to us online, but resist paying for the actual shipping. But those aren’t robots pulling your stuff off the shelves shortly after you hit “submit order.” They’re real people, pushed to work at an impossible pace for middling pay, with mandatory overtime. Mother Jones writer Mac Mclelland briefly worked in one such warehouse this past holiday season, pulling books, dildos, and cases of baby food off the shelves. She wrote about the experience. It might make you think twice before placing your next massive online order. Or not.
When most of us make a purchase from Amazon.com or some other e-tailer, we rarely give much thought to the folks behind the scenes responsible for fulfilling your order at the warehouse. But several employees at an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania are trying to make people aware of the humans behind all those cardboard boxes after a summer of working through stifling heat.
He just laughed when I went through my story of frustration with the Sears service personnel and told me he had had 75 similar calls in the last 2 days. His bottom line: Sears is not sending him product and he has nothing to deliver.