“It depicts a metal cage intended for the worker, equipped with different cybernetic add-ons, which can be moved through a warehouse by the same motorized system that shifts shelves filled with merchandise. Here, the worker becomes a part of a machinic ballet, held upright in a cage which dictates and constrains their movement.”
Sound like something out of George Orwell’s 1984 or the movie The Matrix?
It’s from Amazon’s patent filing for a cage designed to better integrate their workers into its warehouses. The filing mentions something about safety. But it sounds a bit like humans are becoming a nuisance at Amazon.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. If you listen to the critics, Amazon is going to destroy small business, freedom and probably free.
I don’t know about freedom and free will, but Amazon has made some progress towards “enslaving” small business. And the sad part is that the owners of those businesses let them.
Businesses flock to Amazon Marketplace for access to a large population of shoppers. But in return, they allow themselves to become nothing more than low paid buyers for their new corporate master. Actually they probably lose money (read pay for the privilege).
Here’s the way I see it.
- You research the products that will sell best on Amazon.
- You search the globe for the best deals.
- You put up your own money to buy the inventory.
- You set the price based on the competition.
- You pay Amazon to keep the inventory for you.
- You pay Amazon for the ads to attract customers.
- You pay Amazon a commission when someone buys.
- You pay Amazon to package and ship.
- After overhead costs, I figure they eventually send you somewhere between 3% and 7%.
By the way, that’s generous since other sellers will eventually pile on when they see a product is successful. And we all know what happens when all customers have to tell part people selling the same thing is price.
To add insult to injury, Amazon makes it perfectly clear that it owns the customer. The only thing you’re allowed to do is start the process all over again. You cannot benefit from all the time, money, and effort you spent acquiring a customer.
So what do I say to the haters that role their eyes when I preach the necessity of building a customer list, the benefits of engaging it, and the urgency around protecting it?
“Get in the cage and hold on tight while it dictates and constrains your movements!”