What Happens After You Click “Place Order”

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Americans buy billions of dollars’ worth of products online. Mac McClelland, human rights reporter for Mother Jones, talks about what happens after you click “Place Order” and her time working inside an online retail shipping warehouse. Her article, “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave,” appears in the March/April issue of Mother Jones.


Mac McClelland

Comments [21]


Steve from NYC

Speak for yourself! (and grow up while you are at it)

Mar. 08 2012 12:34 PM
Steve from NYC

At the end of the day, we the consumer do not care how or what happens from the time we click till the time we get the product. The only thing we care about is price and speedy delivery. These workers have the right not to work at these facilities, but they need to keep their bottom lines low.

Just like Foxconn and the Ipad, we don't care about their working conditions, if we really did, then no one would own an Ipad, but we all do.

Get a grip and grown up!

Mar. 08 2012 11:31 AM

Leo from Queens - stories of inhumane treatment in a PA Amazon warehouse from a friend whose friend works there. My friend said don't buy from Amazon and I have since stopped.

Mar. 07 2012 04:49 PM

This sounds like tehre needs to be a kind of Zagat's for online retailers - maybe a blog - so the retailer will have to list its cruelty rating

Mar. 07 2012 04:27 PM

American capitalism makes this sort of story sadly inevitable. Unionization is the only way this sort of situation will change.

Mar. 07 2012 02:09 PM
glork from Glen Ridge NJ

Where can I find a job like this near NYC? After being unemployed for 2 years, I would so thankful for the opportunity to provide well for my family. LIke amny others, my ancestors mined coal, picked rags and travelled the prairies selling goods, so I think the stamina is in my blood. Does the writer think for one second that the employees would be there if there were any other options out there ? PS. I am a certified licensed teacher with excellent evaluations and a Master's Degree. Am I overqualified?

Mar. 07 2012 02:08 PM
Ed from Lower Eastside

So has WNYC checked on the conditions at the fulfillment center that distributes the gifts to its members?

Mar. 07 2012 02:04 PM
Jeff Kaiden from New York

Is "practically tortured" the appropriate generalization for these working conditions? Ms McClelland's observations were based on two warehouses - does she think that all e-commerce warehouses are similar? Leonard's comment that "perhaps we should all purchase goods at brick and mortar stores instead" is a bit naive - all of the product that one might walk in and purchase from the local Target has traveled through at least two warehouses during its trip through the supply chain.

Mar. 07 2012 02:01 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Exactly Leo, and that was my point. I really wish they did a story on meat packing plants and how they forced out American citizens and knowingly replaced them with illegal immigrants. It used to be a high paying job for American workers that have no education. This place sounds like Disneyland compared to the meat packing plants that used to pay a good living wage to hard working Americans.... Working conditions in these plants are beyond dismal...

Mar. 07 2012 02:00 PM
Leo from queens

John Pope: As if 'announcements' and labels clearly posted to follow the law mean anything?

These companies have learned to operate 'legally' within the 'law' while violating all Federal laws.

It's the same about bringing in foreigners to take American jobs..
Companies 'post' the jobs and follow the full process to make a 'reasonable' attempt to fill the position with an American worker while all along having no intention of hiring an American and in fact having someone offshore identified for that role.

Mar. 07 2012 01:48 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Did she see anyone get seriously physically hurt? Where there any chemical explosions?

Mar. 07 2012 01:46 PM
John A.

This kind of answers those that assert that Apple/Foxconn/Shenzen couldn't possibly exist in the US.

Mar. 07 2012 01:44 PM

It's easy to forget that though these facilities seem virtual when being used they are real physical places. A few years ago I did some shopping for a fullfillment house on behalf of a friend. Some of the condidates that looked most suitable at first turned out to be located in places that seemed quite vulnerable to serious weather related problems like flooding.

Mar. 07 2012 01:44 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Was she allowed to sit while she worked or did she have to stand the entire shift? And if she was allowed to sit, did the stools have backs?

Mar. 07 2012 01:44 PM
leo from Queens

So what stories have you been told about Anonymous?

Mar. 07 2012 01:43 PM

Jesus, these places sound like salt mines.

Mar. 07 2012 01:43 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Was she exposed to clearly labeled HAZMAT materials without proper protection?

Mar. 07 2012 01:41 PM
Sheldon from Brookyln

So the buck stops at a temp agency that pays its workers next to nothing, with little or no benefits - so we can get "free-shipping. Welcome to the new economy.

Mar. 07 2012 01:40 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Where OSHA rules clearly posted in break rooms and or the lunch room? And where any of these rules violated by the employer?

Mar. 07 2012 01:39 PM
sandy from Newport Beach, CA

This makes me sad. I really love shopping at - do you know what the conditions are at Zappos? How does a consumer find out how workers are being treated at the various online retailers' warehouses? Thanks,

Mar. 07 2012 01:39 PM

I have been told some stories about someone working at

Mar. 07 2012 01:29 PM

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