I was at a protest for the environment prior to the Covid pandemic. A lot of people had catchy funny “save the environment” type signs but “the wrong amazon is burning” really stuck with me.
At the time, the Amazon rain forest was experiencing one of its worst forest fires in history. The Amazon rainforest has been nicknamed the world’s lungs because its function is so crucial to our planet’s health. Losing the forests to fires, and human caused activities is speeding up our environmental crisis. So, we get it, the Amazon rainforest is burning, and we don’t want it to be. What Amazon is the one that should be metaphorically burned down then?
I’ve purchased a total of one thing in my life from Amazon and it was a shirt for a concert. I look back and regret not buying that shirt or one similar from Etsy instead. Then I could say that I have never supported Amazon. I’m a positive person. I think of myself as understanding and flexible in thought. I can find an appreciation for at least something in almost everything. But there is one exception, Amazon. So, what is it about Amazon that grinds my gears?
Before I get into it, I want to express that I do understand that not everyone has the privilege of choosing where they shop. I recognize that Amazon provides cheap and convenient ways to get products. If you are someone who doesn’t have the choice to not shop at Amazon, this message isn’t for you. For those who can choose to shop at better locations, I encourage you to do so. I also encourage everyone to demand better behaviors from companies like Amazon.
Here are the things that need to change…
Amazon has been known for poor treatment of their employees. Amazon is one of the worlds most profitable companies and yet employees make minimum wage, have a lack of benefits, and report undesirable working conditions.
Amazons’ business model promotes consumerism. Thanks to marketing, the ease of a credit card on file, and good deals, people end up buying unnecessary items without thinking about whether those items are actually needed. Low prices mean that either the original maker of the product isn’t seeing majority of the money, or the item did not cost very much to make which points to unethical and environmentally unfriendly production. Mass production of Amazon’s products means that they want to sell it and make money off people who don’t need it, and when it doesn’t get used, it gets thrown out. Amazon also creates environmental harm through its waste. Many Amazon products contain unnecessary packaging and returns are thrown out instead of donated or resold.
Lastly, Amazon is dominating the market. Local in-person stores can’t compete with a giant company that tries to resell their products. Businesses get caught between trying to make it on their own but being overshadowed by Amazon or partnering with the company to sell more of their goods but seeing less of the benefits. Thus, Amazon ruins the local market by either taking over the selling of the product or extinguishes the demand for the product by selling a cheaper, more convenient version of it. During the Covid pandemic, local businesses closed their doors and experienced financial ruin while Amazon’s profits soared.
In the end, I don’t think the idea of a convenient and affordable online company is a bad thing. But the practices that are a foundation for the Amazon company just hurt my heart. I want to see local businesses thrive, people experience the joys of in-person shopping, our environment flourish, and employees get treated with respect at their jobs. Therefore, I get so upset when I see people who can choose to support better companies shopping on Amazon and when influencers post their newest Amazon finds. They can make better choices; they can change the shopping narrative. Giant companies like Amazon rule our lives because so many people feel they don’t have another choice. Let’s go back to less is more, quality over quantity. Let’s keep our employees and environment healthy instead of fueling greed and profit. The Wrong Amazon is Burning.
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