The video below is from a livestream at one Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Baltimore. It’s “Amazon Jobs Day,” where the company is looking to fill 50,000 positions. Amazon is boasting that some people will receive job offers on the spot.
This is corporate propaganda. It’s also effective because it’s a little compelling.
“I need a job, plain and simple. I need a job and Amazon seemed to pay a little bit better than minimum wage, and their benefit package,” said a man identified in the video as Antoine, who said he lined up at 5 a.m.
This is what Amazon wants us to see, and it’s why Amazon has decided to brand yet another day of the year. When you’re the size of Amazon, every day is jobs day, but there’s only one Jobs Day. Like Prime Day, it’s a chance to showcase the immense power of Amazon with the veneer that this is inherently a good thing.
Except on Jobs Day, there’s no packages. On Jobs Day, Amazon is delivering feels.
Amazon is also in the midst of quite a run. Its acquisition of Whole Foods sparked renewed debate about just how big Amazon will getand when the government should start to step in. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos briefly became the world’s richest man and a target of the ire of President Donald Trump, who has hurled some not-so-veiled threats at Amazon as a result.
But Trump does love jobs, and Amazon has some. Though the economy has recovered in recent years and the unemployment rate has fallen, there’s still plenty of Americans looking for workor maybe even an Amazon job that would be better than their current situation.
Amazon, which can tend to be very cautious with the press, threw open the doors to its centers and plenty of media were around to show the long lines of people that had shown up to apply for work.
The lines are the thing here. They’re a compelling visual that’s hard to really argue against. I doubt many people are telling the gentleman in the video above or any of the people in line that they shouldn’t go to work for Amazon or that these aren’t good jobs.
That’s a turn of marketing genius from Amazon. Yes, there’s reason that this needs to be done in person, as these jobs require people who can meet the physical requirementsincluding being able “to lift up to 49 pounds with or without reasonable accommodation, stand/walk for up to 10-12 hours, and be able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend, and reach.”
But does it really make sense to try to do this all in one dayone morning reallyand cause people to get up at 5 a.m. to stand in lines? For a company built on efficiency, it’s hard to believe that Amazon doesn’t have a better system than the same one used during the Great Depression.
Those kinds of lines conjure up feelings of economic ruin, which helps make Amazon’s point. The images have the feel of “look at this wasteland and what we’re doing to help it.”
Meanwhile, even people who enjoy these jobs tend to say there’s no future in them.
Yet for the nakedness of this being propaganda, Amazon Jobs Day makes the company’s point, or rather lets unemployed people make the point for them. It’s manipulative and off-putting and effective. It replaces “50,000 jobs” with 50,000 people.
That is, until they’re all replaced by robots.