Sunday, July 15, 2012

We've seen the Amazon job "pro," so now for the "con."

Here's what the newspaper told you:

A river of jobs: Lines were long for Amazon job fair with 1,000 positions promised, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — It’s said the early bird gets the worm, and in New Albany on Thursday, there were plenty of applicants hungry for one of the 1,000 jobs Inc. has promised to bring to Southern Indiana by 2015.

Here's what the newspaper didn't tell you (heavily excerpted):

I Want It Today: How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail, by Farhad Manjoo (Slate)

In response to pressure from local businesses, many states have passed laws that aim to force Amazon to collect sales taxes (the laws do so by broadening what it means for a company to have a physical presence in the state). Amazon hasn’t taken kindly to these efforts.

But suddenly, Amazon has stopped fighting the sales-tax war.

Why would Amazon give up its precious tax advantage? This week, as part of an excellent investigative series on the firm, the Financial Times’ Barney Jopson reports that Amazon’s tax capitulation is part of a major shift in the company’s operations.

Now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy.

It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.

Amazon is investing $130 million in new facilities in New Jersey that will bring it into the backyard of New York City; another $135 million to build two centers in Virginia that will allow it to service much of the mid-Atlantic; $200 million in Texas; and more than $150 million in Tennessee and $150 million in Indiana to serve the middle of the country.

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