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. 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. 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


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’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  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.
Oct 9, 2015
A manhole begins to spill over with floodwaters as high tide approaches at Dorchester Road at Sawmill Branch Canal in Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.  (AP)

Russia goes big in Syria. The US hits a hospital in Kunduz. Hillary flips on the TPP. An epic flood in South Carolina. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 9, 2015
In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, photo, Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston. (AP)

Fantasy football scandal, and the wild, booming betting world of fantasy sports.

Oct 8, 2015
US singer Patti Smith performs during the Way Out West music festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Aug.15, 2015.  (AP)

Iconic rocker, poet of punk, and National Book Award-winning author Patti Smith joins us to talk about her new memoir, “M Train”.

Oct 8, 2015
In this Aug. 2, 2012 file photo, local newspapers show stories about the controversial strategy to bail the government out of a financial hole, at a restaurant along Seven Mile Beach on the outskirts of George Town on the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands have lost some of their allure by abruptly proposing what amounts to an income tax on expatriate workers who have helped build the territory into one of the most famous or, for some people, notorious offshore banking centers that have tax advantages for foreign investment operations. (AP)

Trillions of dollars are now stashed in protected tax havens around the world, leaving societies’ bills to those at home. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »