90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Reality Of Online Shopping

Online shopping. We point, click, and buy. Then what happens? We’ll investigate.

In this Nov. 16, 2009 photo, Reginald Armstead, Jr., of Phoenix, sends a package on its way after packing it at the 800,000 sq. ft. Amazon.com warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP)

In this Nov. 16, 2009 photo, Reginald Armstead, Jr., of Phoenix, sends a package on its way after packing it at the 800,000 sq. ft. Amazon.com warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP)

Online shopping is such a breeze.  Plug in your credit card.  Point, click and buy.  It seems like magic.  But what happens after that little e-mail that says your order is confirmed?  .

Well, here’s what happens.  Somewhere in America, likely in a truly giant warehouse, likely at a very low wage, often a temp worker is off like a shot to find that product and send it on its way.  And they do that maybe a thousand times a day.  Running like rabbits.  Fire-able for any reason.  Desperate.  To bring you fast, free shipping.

This hour, On Point:  The new coal miners.  Inside warehouse America.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mac McClelland, a reporter for Mother Jones, you can find her new story on the working conditions inside a fulfillment center here.

Spencer Soper, a business reporter for the Allentown Morning Call. You can find a series of his stories about the conditions inside an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania here.

Robert Korstad, professor of public policy and history at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Mother Jones “Several months prior, I’d reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who’s spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down.”

Morning Call “Elmer Goris spent a year working in Amazon.com’s Lehigh Valley warehouse, where books, CDs and various other products are packed and shipped to customers who order from the world’s largest online retailer.”

Morning Call “More than 12,600 people pledged to boycott online retailer Amazon.com  this holiday season to protest “sweatshop” working conditions at its Lehigh Valley warehouses, according to the union advocacy group American Rights at Work.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 2, 2014
Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)

ISIS and the battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobani. The Kurds have it. ISIS wants it. The US is bombing. We’ll look at the lessons of the battle for Kobani.

Oct 2, 2014
Duluth, Minnesota's Canal Park Lakewalk, shown here in 2005. (Jacob Norlund / Creative Commons)

What makes a good place to live in America today? We’ll talk with the people who size up our cities and towns.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

 
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Taking A Close Look At America’s Police Force
Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014

A partial transcript of our panel conversation with experts on the modern American police force.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment