Ben Roberts’ Amazon Unpacked isa haunting series of photographs that exposes the inner workings of Amazon’s massive fulfillment center in the English Midlands.
Locals hoped that the center would boost the local economy, which was devastated by the closure of a coal mine, the area’s main employer. Instead, Roberts explains, Amazon workers are turned into ‘human robots’ and guaranteed little-to-no job security.
"An Amazon fulfillment associate might have to walk as far as 15 miles in a single shift, endlessly looping back and forth between shelves in a warehouse the size of nine soccer fields. They do this in complete silence, except for the sound of their feet. The atmosphere is so quiet that workers can be fired for even talking to one another."
For Roberts, this isn’t about how something you order off of Amazon comes to your door. It’s about how fulfillment centers like Rugeley represent the invisible cost buried in every low Amazon price.
There’s an Amazon warehouse/distribution centre in Swansea. No one has ever told me that they liked working there. I always, always buy from someone else as soon as I have worked out the thing I want, and if I can’t I just don’t buy it.
Man :( I still have things I need to buy from amazon. I wanna help these people though, maybe if enough people are outraged and refuse to buy en mass (I would do it then) then we’d be able to change their rules. Like in the Royal Mail you’re allowed to talk to each other, you’re on your feet for ages, just tossing parcels or sorting letters, but they’re pretty relaxed in terms of listening to music or talking to each other.
If you are in need of something that you can only find on Amazon, ask on here; it’s possible that we can help you to find alternative sources.
There’s one here in West Virginia — they must look for places screwed over by mining because that’s exactly where they put it, not far from where a local mine was slowly going out of business.