I really just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the recent column!
I work in a brick-n-mortar bookstore and it was a coworker who first informed me of the new Amazon app a week ago. She had printed off an article and brought it in to pass it around. I remember a bunch of us sitting around a table during a morning meeting and wondering how many more Christmases our store had left.
The last year has been especially hard for morale because of companies like Amazon. We are all truly passionate about our jobs and most of us take a certain amount of pleasure when a customer approaches us with only the barest information about a book. There's a huge sense of accomplishment when we're able to track down a book without a title or an author, sometimes all we get is a keyword and the color of the cover. I know I feel insanely victorious when I emerge from a row of shelves, the book held high.
Then the customer looks at the list price, balks, and informs me they'll get it on Amazon.
It can feel like a slap in the face. They're practically saying that my time and effort isn't worth a dime. Those are dollars that fuel our payroll. Payroll that puts many through school. Payroll that helps me pay off my many hospital visits this year.
People don't think about how Amazon affords those cheap prices and free shipping. Then we started hearing stories about Amazon warehouse conditions. Stories about how the heat was so excessive, Amazon started hiring ambulances to sit in the parking lot. ER doctors were concerned by the sheer number of people coming in with dehydration and heat exhaustion. Many of these employees were then bullied into claiming that their collapse was not "work-related." Now that winter has arrived, there are stories of employees forced out into below-freezing temperatures for hours without adequate clothing when fire alarms sound, then told they can't seek shelter in their cars because the company is concerned about theft.
I, on the other hand, work in a safe environment. The few extra dollars on a book means that I have health insurance and the ability to take a few minutes when my heart acts up. It means our store can have extra people on the floor. It means those extra people are available when someone needs to hunt down a childhood book with only the faintest recollection.
Amazon's treatment of Macmillan and its authors, like yourself, is one of the reasons I started my boycott. I can say proudly that I remember ordering extra copies of "Ender's Game" for the droves of school children who needed them for assignments. But its only one of many reasons now.
I haven't always agreed with some of the positions you've taken in past columns, but I want to say thank you SO MUCH for your support of brick-n-mortar bookstores and the book-loving employees who work there (even us big box store employees.)
Also, apparently you have a friend who lives five minutes from me. I'll make it a point to put "YumNuts" on my shopping list.
Posts: 1733 | Registered: Apr 2005
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