The Effects of Amazon

Amazon is a fast and easy to use. But this convenience comes at a cost.


by Sydney Waldron, Writer

My dad was watching the Royals game when I asked him to order something off Amazon for me, and I was shocked when he said that our family was no longer going to buy anything from Amazon. At first I was really annoyed because I used Amazon for a number of things: school books, clothes and last minute gifts. After doing some research, I started to agree with my parents’ decision.

Amazon offer of one day shipping appeals to many customers, but the fast shipping comes at a cost. Amazon employees work long hours with few breaks. Many workers struggle to make harsh quotas. According to the Verge, workers said that they even peed in bottles because they didn’t feel they had time to go to the bathroom. 

This harsh treatment lead to workers striking on Prime Day June 15 many carrying a sign with the phrase We are Humans not Robots.  Amazon’s response was to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, but right as Amazon raised the minimum wage they made cuts in monthly bonuses and stock awards. 

Amazon also has a negative impact on the environment. Dan Sperling, a professor at UC Davis told The New York Times, “The concept of Amazon Prime pushes us towards more emissions.” Later in the article he said that “It makes the marginal cost of purchases very small, so you have motivation to buy more. And of course, that’s what Amazon wants.” 

This year Amazon announced its  Shipment Zero plan, which according to Amazon’s press release is “Amazon’s vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030.”This sounds like an Amazon is taking a step in the right direction, but unfortunately this promise falls short. CNN reported that Amazon bought 200,000 trucks that run on fossil fuels since their announcement, and shows no sign of  steps toward electric vehicles.

          When I stopped shopping at Amazon the one thing I heard from everyone is “do you really think your making a difference?” and “Amazon is so big losing one customer isn’t going to do anything?” While Amazon may not notice the loss of one customer, I know that small businesses in Kansas City have noticed the gain of one. Since I have stopped shopping at Amazon I usually buy things from local stores close to my house like the Dime Store, Stuff and Party Warehouse. 

I have stopped using Amazon because I simply could not ignore the companies disregard for the workers and the environment any more.   Researching the companies you buy from, and knowing which ones are good for the environment and which ones treat their workers fair is a great way to help the Earth and the people in it.