Warehouses: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Warehouses: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

It’s easy to buy things online, and even easier not to think about how they get to you. John Oliver discusses what happens when you click “buy now.”

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64 Responses

  1. kusanagiflame says:

    As a UPS employee, it would do my heart SOOOOO much good to hear a piece on them, around black friday

  2. Nova Dragon says:

    Dystopia of vastly under-regulated capitalism and maximizing profits at the expense of employees

    • Overbite Games says:

      We livin it up in the future boys!

    • Drago Arbiter says:

      Don’t forget about the rich using their profit to escape the planet they’ve ruined

    • Parts Unkown says:

      Why are people surprised that they have to work at work.

    • Kumori says:

      @Parts Unkown why are employers surprised that they actually have to not exploit their employees? When was the last time you walked 15 miles a day for $15/hr?

    • João Oliveira says:

      Because they work way too much, in almost sub-human Orwellian conditions, for too little pay. If the wealthiest corporation in the risk can’t afford to pay its workers minimally well then… wait, there’s no if, they can, but that would cost them a few extra bucks. And you know what they say, the slightest of profit over what’s right. Or something like that.

  3. four_girls_in_search_of_awesomeness says:

    Before this, I was reading a book about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the bosses’ neglect of their workers’ safety and wellbeing, and the disastrous consequences. This is sounding more and more about the modern day equivalent.

    • Nikol Geier says:

      Hell, that shit still happens with US companies. They just do it in places like Bangladesh now.

    • beccabunny09 says:

      This is what happens when capitalism isn’t constrained by unions and government is infected by the rich. The dinner barons have been trying to kill FDRs new deal regulations and institutions since they were passed.

  4. CloudsGirl7 says:

    Know what I, the consumer, want ordered, Amazon?

    Rights for your workers, fuckfaces.

    • Ryan Ploeger says:

      I hear you empathy but Amazon didn’t force them to work there. They applied and accepted. Thankfully in America you are free to leave companies that don’t treat you like you think you deserve. It may be tough to get a job, yes. They are willing slaves if they stay and complain.

    • Austin says:

      @Ryan Ploeger Child laborers pre-1938 would like to have a word with you about “willing slavery”, Ryan.

    • karna pratap singh says:

      @Ryan Ploeger here comes the freedom preachers

    • Blackboarder77 says:

      @Ryan Ploeger You claim there’s a choice, but I argue Amazon’s management methods are predatory and maximize the modern slavery metaphor. Amazon targets low income areas to situate their warehouses. I know damn well, because I live 10 minutes from an Amazon warehouse. Unless you’re a Nurse/Doctor, 11 dollars an hour is considered a good wage here. Amazon is literally the highest paying employer for a solid one hour commute. When quitting your job equated to cutting your pay in half, there’s certainly an absence of choice.

  5. Marsbert says:

    Hot damn, I worked for Amazon for 6 years as a picker and watching this brought back nightmares

  6. Birdsong says:

    Now I’m glad I didn’t join Amazon prime. I’ll be ordering much less from Amazon now, thank you very much.

  7. Mkananoja says:

    now repeat after me, regulations are bad and solve nothing. unions are evil that only destroys everything.

    • Fantazzim says:

      Mkananoja regulations are good except when companies use them to keep competition out. Unions are great except when they cost newer employees their jobs. Last in first out. Amazon needs a union though, I would agree.

    • beccabunny09 says:

      Unions don’t cost new employees their jobs, it’s because unions have been hamstrung BY GOVERNMENT so that they are a tiny fraction of their former selves that is the problem. When unions are in par with owners it’s the CEO that gets a paycheck cut and the workers are spared. But even then unions can’t save a dying industry.

    • Blackboarder77 says:

      @Fantazzim That’s technically true, but assuming the newer employee is a union member they retain the right to claim unemployment comp and are listed to be put into the next open position.

  8. NiMkoTlaGi says:

    Jeff Bezos is so rich, he could give EACH amazon employee $180,000

    • Ankit says:

      Or he could just buy them each a 100$ hand free hovercraft scooter things so that they are faster and less tired.

    • m w says:

      or, we can vote for Andrew Yang and get Amazon & other tech companies to foot the bill of Universal Basic Income

  9. Lance P. says:

    I worked 15 years in two warehouses for Office Depot. The emphasis on speed in insane. If you pick below a certain number of items an hour, you could be fired. And at the same time they’re stressing to “clean as you go”, meaning to bring items to the front of the location, and remove any empty boxes, in order to make things move faster for the next person picking from that location. And management HATES TO HEAR that cleaning takes time. Oh, and they are also VERY much against Unionizing.

    • joelshack85 says:

      Lance P. Complaining bitches are a very big problem in our society today. People who go from air conditioned homes to cars to work. And people still complain. You do know there are societies that have no running water right?

    • Captain Homosexual says:

      @joelshack85 Just because there are problems elsewhere does not mean that there aren’t also problems here that can and should be addressed.

    • Temple Pate says:

      I could only last two years at office Depot!

  10. Tophie says:

    Can’t they just assign groups of people to specific areas of the warehouse instead of having people scurry around the entire location?

    Seems that’d be a lot more efficient for everyone; including Amazon.

    • DeathWithoutLife976 says:


    • Blackboarder77 says:

      @kraiZor And to perpetually keep 99% of their employment base at basepay.

    • K-rex says:

      If they actually organized things properly theoretically everything cud b automated too but nope.

    • trogdorstrngbd says:

      @Courtney Rae It is vastly more complicated than that. Amazon’s true bread and butter is computer science, and the amount of talent they’ve thrown at the warehouse optimization problem is mind-boggling. One of the first things to understand is that maximum efficiency is achieved, in general, when every picker is constantly moving and grabbing items on the way. Having someone stand around because there are no items to be picked up “in their section” right now is not optimal. Next, you have to avoid traffic jams. So even if an item is just 10 ft behind you, the scanner might tell you to go forward 100 ft to pick up a different one so that you don’t run into the person/robot coming behind you. It’s actually very similar to some levels in Overcooked, if you’ve ever played that.

  11. Thomas Kinkade says:

    Kermit and Dr.Evil did the fusion dance = Jeff Bezos

  12. Nethiar says:

    I used to work at Amazon and the whole “FASTER MORE MORE MORE!!!!” culture is insane. They push things so hard the equipment would constantly break. The lines were only made to handle 700k units per shift, but they were pushing for twice that. Boxes were so so crammed that they were getting torn apart and there were chemicals and pieces of metal falling down from 15 feet in the air.

  13. Andy Reed says:

    I haven’t ordered anything from amazon in years and will continue not.

  14. A Treacherous Foe! says:

    I don’t know why anyone finds things like this surprising. The other industries that John compared to warehouse work, coal, construction, logging etc. are safer because unions and labor organizations have been active in those industries for over 100 years. Quite literally … blood has been spilled (Ludlow, Haymarket…). The penalty for not protecting workers in those industries outweighs the costs of protecting them. Capitalists make simple calculations like this all the time. I’ve worked for a few corporations that have similar anti-union messages presented by managers all the time. It is shocking how people take what their company tells them at face value. I’ve reminded managers that some of their conduct was bordering on violating federal worker’s rights regarding organization and their reply was that they were told it was okay by their boss so it must be legal. The only way to fight this (shy of a full on revolution that places production in the hands of the workers lol) is to make it cost effective for companies to improve standards by imposing very harsh penalties for violations and protections for workers that stand up for themselves.

    Anyone assuming that a capitalist would do the right thing because it’s the legal way to do it or because they have the money to do so is absurdly naive. It is a combination of communicating with your coworkers and electing law makers that will actually do something about it. Boycotting companies like Walmart and Amazon is only a half measure. It alleviates any guilt you may have about how the goods YOU consume are delivered to you, but it does nothing to improve the condition of those that are oppressed. These companies are not going anywhere. There are simply too many people that can not afford to buy goods elsewhere and boycotts will simply be met with a reduction in the workforce thereby making life even MORE difficult for the workers you’re trying to support by boycotting the companies they work for.

    Learning the history of labor movements in the US and understanding the true nature of socialism is the key to understanding how this can change. NONE of the protections enjoyed by any workers was born out of a sense of altruism on part of capitalists. It was/is ALL fought and died for … and not by the military either. Even raising worker’s wages to $15/hr is just a PR campaigned designed to make hipsters feel good about themselves when buying things online … trust me … the calculation was run … the news coverage was like free advertising.

    Next time you think about buying some stupid toy or some other useless thing online, remember that you could easily spend those extra few dollars and some minutes of your time researching candidates in your city, state, and country that have not only campaigned on worker rights, but actually delivered on them. There are more than you’d think in the Democrat AND Republican parties, but you have to look for them. I’m not saying you have to become a Democratic Socialist … but … being conscious of those law makers that actually work to improve society (as opposed to the things they feel they need to say on TV sometimes to get elected) can make a HUGE difference in real people’s lives.

    • vincent anguoni says:

      Not! That is an absolute untruth…logging farming and fishing are far more dangerous!! This is pandering…nada mas!

    • old fan says:

      Another way to stop it would be to Stop buying crap from them until safe & healthy environments are created, & reasonable work expectations are replace this sadistic system for the employees. Oh, and how about that JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! program we heard so much about? Or did that just mean eliminating regulations on Bezos’ bonuses? Bezos belongs in a cage.

  15. Hymnalysis says:

    I’m a veteran of Amazon manual picking. This video is quite accurate.

  16. Monaster01 says:

    Oh man, I used to work for Amazon. This video just gave me war flashbacks.

  17. Rob Weissman says:

    Don’t worry this problem solve itself….

    All the workers will be replaced by robots.

    What a wonderful brave new world we’re creating. ?

    • Rob Weissman says:

      @Butt Why??Yeah awesome, since only robot will have jobs, maybe they’ll be good at ordering products from Amazon too?

    • Moneybagbandz says:

      vote yang

    • Rob Weissman says:

      @Moneybagbandz Maaaaybe, I’m still on the fence about UBI.

    • Rob Weissman says:

      I’ll say this, if 3D printing ever takes off, what would the purpose of Amazon itself even serve?… Anything you need can just be printed, the only thing left for them to deliver would be like Oreos (good thing, for them, they own Whole Foods, I guess)

  18. Just Me says:

    The Amazon driver who broke down on my front porch, crying, last year was all the proof I needed to see how “great” Amazon is for workers in the United States. She had made 140 deliveries before she reached my house. As she walked across the porch around 4:00 pm , I saw tears streaming down her face. I asked if she’d take a seat on the porch with me for a minute or two to collect herself before going on her way and she did. This is what I learned about one Amazon employee’s life: She makes $15.00 per hour. She loads her delivery van herself in the morning. Lunch is eating a sandwich at the wheel. After the 140th delivery she made to me, she had eighty two more to go before she would be “allowed” to turn in the delivery van and go home. No breaks. No overtime pay. After she left, out of curiosity, I looked up the normal daily package delivery rate for UPS drivers and the number was: 82. Per Day. How much do UPS drivers make? There’s a link below. Compare for yourself. I’ll go get that toilet paper on my own from now on. https://www.truckdriverssalary.com/ups-driver-salary/

  19. nope wont says:

    Why does late stage capitalism sound like a slightly less awful version of later 19th century/early 20th century capitalism?

    • Ryan Thompson says:

      I’m pretty sure some of the wealthiest people in the 19th and 20th century helped build this nation. 21st century these asshats blow it on nothing for the fucks of it.

    • Drago Arbiter says:

      Because people have been shifting back toward letting corporations do what they want since the 1980s

  20. Mike Ross says:

    I hope they hooked those guys up with a bonus for saving Walmart 30 million dollars. I know deep down that they didn’t, but I hope they did

    • Christopher Miller says:

      Probably fired them for missing work that day. Frankly, I was shocked that he actually made physical contact with one of us plebians.

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