The Holidays Are So Fucking Sad, Part Three: "Work is the best medicine, Comrade Elf!"
Are you ready to boycott Amazon yet for the holidays and hit the independent publishers for your books this year instead?

Amazon U.K. is working its employees seven days a week through Christmas, forcing them to do 10-and-a-half hour compulsory shifts on weekends and insisting they walk 14 miles a shift in order to pack the precious cookbooks and bland video games of the UK's leisure classes. Additionally, workers are being fired for getting sick even with a valid doctor's note, because time is money. Business for Amazon is up 31% this year to the tune of something like 15 billion, even as the rest of the world's economy crumbles like coal at the bottom of a stocking (a stocking made of shit).

In addition to whipping their employees into a frenzy of constant work and stress, Amazon is pitting them against one another in teams and insisting that to earn a bonus they must pack 140 units an hour, and that everyone in the team must hit this mark for the bonus to take effect. A reporter went undercover for the London Times and recorded everything:

"When a spreadsheet showing productivity was put on the wall it showed that only one of the 25 "multi-large packers" â€" people who pack multiple items into each box â€" had hit their hourly target. Workers were told they could achieve a "bonus" of up to £35 extra a week, which would be paid in January, but to qualify, the entire workforce had to hit their targets."

More from this fucking article:

"Managers warned employees that surveillance cameras monitored their every move, and even though most came from eastern European countries, they were told to speak to each other only in English if anyone else was nearby."

("Yuri! I haff cyanide caplets in back teeth. I squeeze to die and then you suck my lips to join me when boss turns head to ogle Olga." "I heard that, Dmitri! You are fired!")

"Staff were warned that days off for illness, nonattendance or lateness would result in "points" against them. Any sick days, even if justified by a doctor's note, resulted in a point against the worker."

("Look, we hired you because you said you were not a pussy, Dina. Are you a pussy? Is that what you want Jeff Bezos to think? Do you want Jeff Bezos to think that all pregnant Ukrainians are pussies who can't handle the flu?")

"The area manager for packing, Christophe La Corne, told staff that overtime was "mandatory" and that he was going to be "strict" about enforcing it. He said he "did not want to hear people's excuses" about why they could not work the extra day."

("I don't care if tomorrow is CHRISTMAS MORNING. You be here at five AM to stuff Grand Theft Auto into bubble wrap while I glare and finger myself through the pockets of my suitpants.")

"One man, working as a "picker", told the reporter that he was "exhausted". He said: "I will never be able to look at in the same way ever again without thinking, 'Those poor bastards â€" what they go through'."

("Mommy -- why does it say "God is dead" in dried blood all over my new Hannah Montana DVD?")

"A spokesman for Amazon said anyone not willing to work "many hours" should not accept a job with the company. He confirmed workers would be penalised for being sick."

("Look: all the allegations are true. But we are the closest thing to Jesus and Santa Claus that you got, modern world! Are you gonna tell JESUS CHRIST AND SANTA CLAUS to shut down the magic shop and go on vacation?")

Personally, I've done eighty hour a week seasonal jobs before and enjoyed the opportunity to work like a fucking hound dog to avoid holiday depression and come away January 1st with a pocket full of cash and a head full of new stories about pain and misery. But I have to believe that not all of the people being tortured by Amazon in the United Kingdom are writers who appreciate the chance for squalor and camaraderie in the vapid modern age.

I have to believe some of the people working there have kids, and that those kids aren't getting parents for Christmas. Or they are getting coked-up, pissed-off, cry-themselves-to-sleep parents who beat them with wrapping paper tubes and call them ungrateful sponges to pass on that good old fashioned capitalist holiday S&M.

In other news, Jeff Bezos was named Publisher's Weekly's Person of the Year for 2008, in addition to sticking his tongue so deep in Oprah's ear about the Kindle that it came out her mouth and went into the clits, dicks, and assholes of the nation's most powerful Christmas shopper contingent: people who are home during the day and who may have never held a job in their lives.

Amazon is being evil all over the place lately, groping like a frenzied, punch-drunk porn star for new opportunities to create hell on earth. Watch out or Amazon will fuck you!

Someday we will all toil for Amazon in some capacity, but until that day comes, let's all have a little sympathy for the workers who are there already, setting the standard high so that we will have packing stats to beat when it is our turn. These heroic workers will be snatched up where they fall, wrapped in invoices, sealed in cardboard boxes, and delivered SuperSaver to cemeteries in 3 to 5 business days.

Posted by miracle on Mon, 15 Dec 2008 17:42:41 -0500 -- permanent link

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