Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The new retail life

I suppose that whether you consider these to be Signs That The Apocalypse Is Here or Evidence That The Recovery Is Not Jobless depends on your point of view. At any rate:

  • Condoms, iPads, and Toilet Paper: A Day In The Life Of An eBay Now Deliveryman
    The concept behind eBay Now is simple: Order goods online to have them delivered to your door in about an hour. The company has partnered with a growing list of big-box retailers, such as Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot, where customers can purchase everything from tablets to vacuums to laundry detergent. For a $5 fee (not including tip) and $25 minimum order, eBay Now's "valets," which include couriers traveling by foot, bicycle, and in some instances car and taxi, will personally deliver the items to you.
  • I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave: My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine.
    Anyhow, regardless of whether the retailer itself or a 3PL contractor houses and processes the stuff you buy, the actual stuff is often handled by people working for yet another company—a temporary-staffing agency. The agency to which I apply is hiring 4,000 drones for this single Amalgamated warehouse between October and December. Four thousand.
  • Amazon unpacked: The online giant is creating thousands of UK jobs, so why are some employees less than happy?
    People in Rugeley, Staffordshire, felt exactly the same way in the summer of 2011 when they heard Amazon was going to occupy the empty blue warehouse on the site of the old coal mine. It seemed like this was the town’s chance to reinvent itself after decades of economic decline. But as they have had a taste of its “jobs of the future”, their excitement has died down. Most people are still glad Amazon has come, believing that any sort of work is better than no work at all, but many have been taken aback by the conditions and bitterly disappointed by the insecurity of much of the employment on offer.
  • Inside Amazon's Warehouse: Lehigh Valley workers tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace at online retailer
    Both permanent and temporary employees are subject to a point-based disciplinary system. Employees accumulate points for such infractions as missing work, not working fast enough or breaking a safety rule such as keeping two hands on an inventory cart. If they get too many points, they can be fired. In the event of illness, employees have to bring in a doctor's note and request a medical waiver to have their disciplinary points removed, those interviewed said.
  • The Window: Watch the Rebirth of the American Car in Tesla’s Stunning Factory
    The red robots filling the building provide an eye-catching contrast to that stark background. They’re fully automated production systems using the latest technology, and that ensures not just a high level of quality, but the ability to adapt production techniques to be even more precise, more flexible, and more efficient.

    But while machines are great for repetitive tasks, humans are smarter. And that’s why Tesla made a big investment in its workforce. They’ve employed some of the best technicians in the area to help build the Model S, and the final product proves that you can perfect the man/machine balance in a production facility.

Perhaps Robert Hunter said it best, 45 years ago:

Got to get down to the Cumberland mine
That's where I mainly spend my time
Make good money/five dollars a day
Made any more I might move away

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