As a rising college freshman, I’m excited to use my new independence and education to fight for that in which I truly believe. I take pride in the fact that I regularly contact my representatives, support diversity in pop culture and use reusable utensils to reduce my waste. I feel comfortable retweeting a #MeToo post or a list of scholarships for DACA recipients. I try to be an intersectional activist that supports workers rights and equitable economic distribution, yet I still give my money to a mega-giant that is only furthering economic divides for both people and businesses, and exploiting its workers to save money.

I don’t believe that Jeff Bezos is a horribly disgusting person for having a net worth of $141 billion dollars (making him the richest person in the world). However, there is no reason for one person to have so much money, especially considering it is being taken out of the pockets of his workers. Last year, a former Amazon warehouse manager sued the corporation for not being paid overtime, as well as working in much harsher conditions than what was described for the position. Furthermore, in 2014, Amazon was under fire for suppressing the unionization of its workers, who wanted the support of a union in order to demand fairer wages and seniority protection from layoffs. Despite the fact that Amazon does pay over the minimum wage (with a national average of $15 an hour), increased payment is not an equitable payment if the workers are not given the proper benefits that they deserve.

It’s not just Amazon’s employees that are getting the short end of the stick in terms of finances. Publishers, many of whom get most of their buyers through the large group of customers that Amazon attracts, have astronomically small profit margins as well as extra fees that Amazon imposes. Even outside the corporation’s bubble, it’s no secret that Amazon plays a part in the demise of many businesses, the most recent (and possibly the most soul-crushing) being Toys R’ Us. This is a great way of doing business for Amazon, but it only further drives away variety in the current market and will create an even greater economic inequality for businesses if this trend continues.

The Stranger

Since Amazon is creating enough revenue to allow Jeff Bezos to create his own space exploration company, there should certainly be enough to treat its workers fairly and give them great working conditions—except, that is not what’s happening. While Amazon is arguably treating its employees better than it has in the past (such as that time where an ambulance was waiting outside of a warehouse to collect employees as they passed out from heat exhaustion), the company still has a long way to go. From the corporate level, employees are pressured to the point that many of them are often seen crying at their desks, The New York Times revealed in a lengthy exposé in 2015. Last year, Amazon delivery drivers made headlines for a similar pressure, this time forcing them to pee in bottles on their trucks in order to make their delivery goals. And most recently there were Muslim workers Minnesota warehouse demanding better working conditions, as some of them were forced to break their fast during Ramadan to keep up with the harsh work requirements. While I believe that people should be challenged and pushed to bring out their best, Amazon should be able to recognize and respect the limits of their employees. But to do this, the company will have to immediately take steps to abolish the toxic work environment that it has been fostering for far too long. But every time there's more news about Amazon, it just seems to be moving in the wrong direction.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that I will not support Amazon. Although the company has made great strides to improve the customer experience, I simply cannot ignore the cost behind it. There is no reason why any service should be worth more than the actual people who are pushed too far to provide that service to me.

So instead, I will take more time to find the right product when shopping online. I will embrace shopping in-store and at small businesses. Every time I make a purchase from a specific brand or company, I'm voting with my money. It's time that I make my votes count, both on and off the election ballot.

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