Thursday, September 22, 2011

Workers & Online Shopping

My mom owned an independent shop when I was a teenager, and big box stores definitely hurt her business.  This was before online shopping really took off - I doubt she'd even have opened it in this marketplace.  But the store was more than a place to buy stuff - as proprietor of an educational toy store and teacher supply company in Auburn ME, she helped open our community up to thinking and talking about education and children's rights and needs in new ways.  So, I'm a supporter of BUY LOCAL and will get my new Shel Silverstein book at Longfellow as soon as they replenish their supply.  Nevertheless, I confess to using Amazon for deals, for more peripheral titles and sometimes just for convenience.

New revelations about worker abuse at warehouse facilities - and this follow up specifically about Amazon -  is a reminder that online retail keeps humans invisible from us - we don't see the people behind the scenes and they fall away in our consciousness. The Mother Jones article is disturbing but worth reading - perhaps even sharing with some older kids who might be interested in shopping online themselves.  American Rights At Work has launched an online petition - I suspect there will be interesting reading, activism and coalition work around this issue for a long time to come.