Ethical Issues with Amazon’s Pricing Algorithm- background information about the company and its operations.

Welcome back! In today’s post I will give some more background information on Amazon.
They are “an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest Internet-based retailer in the world by total sales and market capitalization” (Wikipedia).
As one can read at the official Amazon webpage, “Around the world, there are millions of sellers, authors, and developers using Amazon products and services to reach new customers, publish their books, and build and grow their businesses. And they are supported every day by more than 240,000 Amazon employees”. They are big multi-billion company that not only hires many people, but also sells to many customers all over the World. “Amazon has separate retail websites for the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, India and Mexico” (Wikipedia).
Amazon customers have many good opinions, especially because of their how quick and convenient they are. But, as such a huge corporation, Amazon brings a lot of attention to its actions. Since the beginning, the company has attracted criticism and controversy coming from multiple different sources. Some of them include: poor warehouse conditions for workers; anti-unionization efforts; works containing libel, facilitating dogfight, cockfight, or pedophile activities; and finally price discrimination (“Price discrimination is a microeconomic pricing strategy where identical or largely similar goods or services are transacted at different prices by the same provider in different markets” (Wikipedia).
While looking for their background information, I kept reading about how poorly Amazon treats their employees. They are often criticized by both their current employees, as well as their previous ones. In 2011 it was publicized that “at the Breinigsville, Pennsylvania warehouse, workers had to carry out work in 100 °F (38 °C) heat, resulting in employees becoming extremely uncomfortable and suffering from dehydration and collapse. Loading-bay doors were not opened to allow in fresh air as “managers were worried about theft”. And that’s just one of many controversies surrounding their unethical actions towards workers!

Image result for amazon poor working conditions
One of positive changes occurring in Amazon is the fact that now they are giving 6 weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers. “This change includes birth parents and adoptive parents and can be applied in conjunction with existing maternity leave and medical leave for new mothers”. But one might question, is it out of concern for their workers, or is it an effort to make up for their other terrible actions.
After reading about all of this- doesn’t it make you wonder if Amazon really is as great as they initially appear to be? It definitely makes me feel a lot less enthusiastic to buy products from them. Because if a company treats their workers so terribly, what would stop them from lying about their product’s quality or prices?
Stay tuned for more information, and to find out what Amazon has to say about all of that.
Thanks for reading!

Sources:

Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon.com

What Amazon’s workplace controversy says about the future of work

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8 thoughts on “Ethical Issues with Amazon’s Pricing Algorithm- background information about the company and its operations.

  1. This is honestly crazy to read about! I had no idea they treated their employees this way and makes me upset I haven’t heard about this sooner. I loved shopping through Amazon because of the convenient prices and less hassle with deliveries, but a company that does not respect their employees does not deserve the respect and sales from consumers. Also, considering their latest scam, am I really getting their best deal? Thanks for showing us this different side of Amazon.com, I look forward to learning more in the future.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post and learned something new 🙂 Also, that’s exactly what I am thinking- is a company does not treat their biggest asset (workers) ethically, they most definitely will not care about their customers. The reason why I shop at Amazon is because I always think that I am getting the best deals. But now I am not so sure of that anymore. Another issue that I am having now is: do I really want to support/ give income to a company that abuses their workers?
      One thing is for sure- I will think twice before I buy something from Amazon from now on!

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  2. I am, yet again, a little disappointed in the media. I feel as though they have this insane power to influence consumers. The only news coverage I have ever seen regarding Amazon has been positive. Innovation, drones, low prices, hassle free! Since press was positive, I’ve always felt positive towards the company.

    I am glad I was able to see the flip side of Amazon. Just as you said, it takes away your enthusiasm for the business. Perhaps the treatment of employees and the algorithm mentioned in your previous post is enough to determine this company is not performing ethically. It makes me wonder what else cold be going on. With outsourcing and a huge supply chain, there could be a great degree of indirect blindness.

    Thanks for another informative post!

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    • I am glad you enjoyed it! And I agree with you- I had no clue about Amazon’s actions before I have started this research. I am personally very disappointed in them, so I get how you feel. It seems to me that nowadays, if we want a true opinion about a certain company we need to do some digging on our own… It is hard to trust opinions on their webpages knowing now that they can/ and DO manipulate them (like Amazon does to gain more revenue…).
      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  3. I find it interesting that they treat their workers so poorly and yet so many people want to work for their company. I’m guessing that these people don’t know about how they treat their workers, just as I didn’t know that before reading your blog post? Maybe these poor work conditions are just in the warehouses, and not in the office setting?

    Since I am graduating in December and trying to land a full-time position somewhere, this is something that I definitely need to look for when interviewing at various companies.

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    • I found that interesting as well! I think you are right- when you work in their upper management you don’t get treated as poorly (or poorly at all) as the warehouse workers. I think that people who are in the office setting might not even know about the conditions in warehouses since they might be in completely two different locations.
      Definitely, when looking for a job it is good to research what others say about that company and address all of your concerns before you commit to something.
      Thanks for your comments!

      Like

  4. This History gave me a better understanding of the company’s background. I appreciate the tidbit of the employees be mistreated, as it shows Amazon is not completely morally ethical. Do you have any information on other instances where Amazon mistreated their customers or community as it might be also relevant to this Case Study.

    Like

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