The Amazon Kerfuffle

I’m shocked. Positively shocked, I tell you. You mean educated people are working around the clock to make tons of money and be granted stock options all at the same time? While you revel in guaranteed delivery of quality products at a discount seemingly instantly?

Kinda reminds me of the Wal-Mart problem. You know, moving into town and hollowing out Main Street. The only problem was…people liked the discounts.

And so do you.

Oh, don’t tell me it’s a first world problem or the other rejoinder you employ to make yourself feel holier-than-thou, saying you can wait an extra day for an Amazon delivery. The truth is you like the price and convenience. Remember the pre-Amazon days, when you had no idea of the value of a product and got ripped off at your local appliance store? And are you willing to pay triple for a flat screen? If not, manufacturing ain’t coming back to America, no way.

So this is the way it works. America is split into the haves and have-nots. And the way the have-nots survive with any degree of happiness is by drinking and screwing and partying. Take away their vices and they’ve got nothing. Certainly not upward mobility, to get that you’d have to move to socialist Europe or Canada. Here in the free United States we have the right to start at the bottom and stay there…SO THERE!

But if per chance you’re upper middle class, or even upper class, you’ve got to stay that way. So you pursue the bucks. And the only places bucks are guaranteed are in finance and tech. As for the gigs… I just read John LeFevre’s book on finance entitled “Straight To Hell.” Promoted for the debauchery, what impressed me was the drudgery. If you want to do this work when you grow up no wonder you want to be paid well, for to sacrifice years on this planet to wasting your time is…a waste.

No wonder people want to pursue the arts. But they believe they’re entitled to a living in the arts. Not everybody wants to be a garbage man, but seemingly everybody wants to be a rapper. To get paid by Spotify, garner endorsements and tour to beaucoup bucks. Never forgetting the audience is cash-strapped and if they’re gonna lay down their money they want value, and you rarely deliver it.

Used to be you could do an honest day’s work for a living, but that was back when we had unions and other ways of protecting the middle class. And, of course, don’t get your knickers in a twist, unions occasionally took it too far, BUT DOESN’T EVERYBODY?

You berate Jeff Bezos while you lionize him. He’s a billionaire seer? From taking a risk and sleeping with one eye open. Because if another site, like, never mind all the litter on the side of the information superhighway, drops prices a whit, you’re shifting loyalty. He’s driving his workers so you’ll be happy, not them. Because in tech it’s eat or be eaten. Can you say Kaypro and Osborne and BlackBerry and Nokia?

So what did we expect? Bezos to continue to employ the losers and let everybody go home at five? As for his competitors in the tech sphere… You know why they provide lunch and dry cleaning… SO YOU’LL STAY THERE AND WORK!

And we could certainly change as a society. But we refuse to.

We don’t want guaranteed vacations, like in Germany, where you can’t even take your company smartphone on holiday, we don’t want a social safety net, we want everybody to suffer just as much as we are because we’re working around the clock trying to get ahead and if we made it, WE EARNED IT!

Everybody’s so self-satisfied in America, like they grew up in a vacuum, as if Donald Trump wasn’t the beneficiary of bankruptcy laws, never mind the fat cat bitching about entitlements for the poor people…who buy their products and keep their companies alive, never mind guarantee their huge salaries.

We could admit we’re all in it together and have a giant kumbaya moment, but then you wouldn’t be able to live in a gated community and fly private. That’s right, the great unwashed would be able to come right up to your door and scare you, never mind do something worse.

So we need a bogeyman. The immigrants! The blacks! The uneducated! We want to point the finger at everybody but ourselves. We want our workers to be trained, but we want to charge them so much for college the only reason it makes sense to go is you can’t get a job without a degree. Oh, college could be free, but then taxes would be higher, but you know the government…IT WASTES MONEY!

But what about Amazon, what about the Fire Phone? If Amazon was the government Republicans would be agitating for it to be shut down for this failure, because after all we gave the company all that money through our purchases and they WASTED IT!

And the Democrats believe in government, but they’re wimps when it comes to corporations. They beg companies for money and are then beholden to them. So, we can’t get hedge fund fat cats to pay taxes at ordinary rates. Good luck changing that, when Henry Kravis and his buddies donate so prodigiously.

Our whole damn nation is hypocritical. Our only savior is…


But artists are not satisfied spreading the message, speaking the truth, they too want to get rich. Scratch a musician and he’ll start poor-mouthing. As for writers, they want to sue Amazon, for being so successful. They want to jet back to the past, where distribution was limited and publishers ripped them off with a smile.

I’m glad the “New York Times” exposed working conditions at Amazon. But I wish it engendered a conversation about America, not the company in Seattle. If only people asked how we got here. Where our best and brightest are working like rats in a cage so they can have the trappings of wealth. With a public that views the almighty dollar as king.

Economics baby, it rules our country.

You’re either a winner or a loser.

And we define those who win as those with the money.

Which those people up in Seattle have.

We pay lip service to teachers but laugh at their five figure salaries. We say if they had any balls they’d be entrepreneurs. But they’re educating our children. Well, not MY children, I send them to PRIVATE SCHOOL!

I personally don’t have any children. If so, I’d be worried. California can get everybody to reduce water consumption instantaneously but our whole nation can’t reduce carbon pollution because we’re too busy giving Exxon Mobil subsidies and coal companies pay our politicians.

And I’m not saying things can’t be fixed.

But they only will be when we have a good, honest look at what we’ve become. A society with a self-reinforcing rich class and everybody else just trying to survive. One in which no one can sacrifice, not their job, nothing. At least those culled from Amazon’s workforce weren’t bitching about getting canned. Same thing happens in the music industry and players with lame tunes blame everybody but themselves.

We’ve got to start blaming ourselves.

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