If you live on planet earth right now then you are inside your apt. like I am, watching Netflix. Chances are you’ve seen one of the Amazon commercials that just came out on Hulu or Netflix displaying the safety precautions that Amazon’s warehouses have been taking to protect their staff against Corona. The virus, not the beer. Employees smile and nod, all the while with their medical masks on, going about their joyous day at the glorious fulfillment centers of Amazon. So desperate Amazon was, in attempts to share its efforts of safety to the world, that it displayed commercials on its top streaming rivals. Oh, the tea. (insert side smirk emoji here)
Amazon, the company owned by the unformidable Jeff Bezos (whose RT net worth is currently at $137.2 BILLON) has recently been under hot water for failing to provide masks for his essential employees. After several staged walk outs, PT employees fighting for PTO, many sick employees- some with confirmed cases of COVID, and complaints that were going unheard, four senators, including the likes of Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker contacted the CEO urging him to take matters more seriously, and provided necessary supplies. Within Amazon’s fulfillment centers there are on average 125,000 full time employees. That means if even 1/4 of those employees are sick it will spread 12 times faster than it would in an average large sized warehouse (or mall). Amazon has repeatedly denied claims that employees were sick with COVID, and their concerns were being ignore stating “Nothing is more important than the safety of our teams.” Riiighhtt, those senators were just calling you to chat about the weather.
Amazon owns and licenses many private label companies all over the country, some which include apparel. Speaking as someone who personally works in the fashion industry, and who has countless vendors all willing and able to hop on the much-needed trend of reusable masks, I know how opportunistic and yet speedy the powers of manufacturing can be. How is it, that a company that has several private label fashion brands dedicated to the same resources as the rest of the industry is unable to supply them to its workers? How is it, that a company that has made so much money selling absolutely anything cannot purchase the same products for its most valuable asset? Its employees. It was only after stacking bad press, and hospitalizations that Amazon felt the need to convince the world of the safety precautions it’s taking to keep its employees safe. Employees that are keeping the trillion dollar business open. The efforts to shoot a commercial, possibly even breaking the rules of social distancing to do so, were more important than simply leading by example as the big conglomerates of the world ought to. You know, being leaders and all.
What really pushed the world over the edge and caused a viral uproar, is when Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos created a relief fund for inde-pedy delivery services that are working in the era of CORONA. Amazon, the company that is valued over 1 trillion dollars as of today started the fund with 25 million to be split into grants (tax write off for the corp.) which was probably the company’s first good deed, only to subsequently offer up the option of promoting and accepting “donations” freely. What Amazon failed to see was the tone def nature in which this was communicated. If I wanted my cousin Sarah(for example) to be supported financially in this hard time I will just venmo her $, send her a check(I don’t have a cousin Sarah- but you get it.), or I would donate to feeding doctors, making masks, or supplying children with iPads so they can continue school remotely. What I’m not doing is donating it to the largest company in the world, whose voice and tone is not one for the people.
At the end of the day, the workers inside the warehouses and distribution centers of Amazon are working on the front lines because they need to, or they have to. They are just doing their jobs. They are just supplying us with toilet paper, thermometers, at home nail care sets, baby toys, vibrators, and books. They didn’t do anything wrong.
Not that Jeff Bezos grew up doing manual labor of any sort, but I’m I am not sure how the face and name of a brand that was started by someone hardworking and dedicated to his goals, who now makes $2,489 per second, could not be a little bit more dedicated to his employees. The humans that enable him to be successful. What are a few 100,000 medical masks when human lives at stake; do we need our 2-day delivery that bad?
There have been no noteworthy statements from Bezos since the unleashing of good deeds via streaming became live in attempts to erase an undesirable corporate past. For now, we can only hope that the reality of CORONA, and the times we all find ourselves in, get through a little, whether the skin is thin with despair or thick with billions of dollars.
It will all be OK, Oni~
If you would like to read more here is another great article by The Verge.