Under Amazon ownership, Whole Foods new inventory regime is making workers cry

jeff bezos

From Daily Mail: Whole Foods has implemented a strict new inventory management system that includes bi-weekly walk-throughs and random quizzing of employees, and has left many workers feeling stressed out and punished.

The new system is called order-to-shelf (OTS) and has a strict set of procedures for purchasing, displaying and storing products on store shelves and in back rooms that is supposed to make stores more efficient and cut down on waste.

And to make sure stores are following the new procedures – stores are required to use ‘scorecards’ to evaluate each employees performance, according to Business Insider.

Though the system is meant to improve efficiency and stream-line storage, employees described it as onerous, stress inducing and punitive.  ‘The stress has created such a tense working environment’ a supervisor in a West Coast store explained.  ‘Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal.’   

Business Insider spoke with 27 current and former employees – some of whom had been with the company for up to 20 years.

Many workers are worried the new system will cause them to lose their jobs, and said they spend more time doing OTS-related paperwork than helping customers navigate the stores. 

Executives think the new system cuts cost across stores, reduce employee theft, clears out storage and gives workers more time to engage with customers. And the employees who spoke to Business Insiderwill agree that the former system was ineffective and needed to change – but say the company’s ‘fix’ went too far.

‘The OTS program is leaving to sackings up and down the chain in our region,’ an employee in Georgia said. ‘We’ve lost team leaders, store team leaders, executive coordinators and even a regional vice president. Many of them have left because they consider OTS to be absurd. As an example, store team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS.’

The new system requires managers to walk through store aisles and storage rooms with checklists, or scorecards, to make sure everything is where it belongs.  And if anything is in the wrong place, missing, or there is excess stock in storage, departments will lose points. One employee said that if an item is ‘even an inch outside of its designated spot,’ points will be deducted.

These walks, which happen frequently throughout the day, also include quizzes. Employees will be asked to recite things such as sales goals, top-selling items and last week’s sales on the spot. A failing score is anything below 89.9 percent, and if an employee fails they can be fired on the spot.

Company documents reviewed by Business Insider show that these quizzes, or ‘walks,’ happen twice a week. Corporate employees also visit the branches and conduct the tests monthly.

The walks have left employees stressed and fearful. ‘The fear of chastisement, punishment and retribution is very real and pervasive,’ a worker said. Another worker said the walks have caused them to have work-related nightmares.  

Workers across the country think the new OTS system is failing, and many departed employees have said they think that is because of a lack of training. ‘The problem lies in the lack of training, and the fact that every single member of management from store level to corporate is over tasked and overburdened,’ a former employee said.

DCG

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35 responses to “Under Amazon ownership, Whole Foods new inventory regime is making workers cry

  1. Barnes and Noble has used this same system for years. I know. I worked there for 20 years. In some stores it worked just fine. In others, not so much. All retail is stressful.

    Liked by 6 people

    • All micromanagement is stressful. But yes, adding customers, especially modern customers would be a nightmare. Years ago, retail was actually enjoyable. With every merger, it got worse.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. What a way to run a business, or more like run FROM a business. If they can’t keep regular employees or even managers the whole store will go to crap shortly. Maybe that is Amazon’s ploy. Retail bites to work for, worst jobs I’ve ever had were in retail. Only time I didn’t mind so much was when I was stocking shelves, then you could hide from customer a lot easier.
    Is this the new ‘socialist’ way of running a company? 😛 You betcha!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yep, like “flat” organizations (centralized) run by a “process” (follow instructions, whether they’re effective or not)… but don’t forget to say how “democratic” and collaborative it all is (that’s the most important part).

      Liked by 3 people

  3. “team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS”

    I wonder if it’s coincidence that they use an ancient occultic number of points….

    Liked by 4 people

  4. interesting stuff,ss for the employees,my advise? find a new job,i bet theres better jobs in America…amazon? never heard of

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well now . . . that picture of Jeff Bezos really takes the cake. He looks much like the smiling tyrant from North Korea. I wonder what will happen when employees start initiating “on the job injury due to stress related illnesses.” This is not the first article that portrays Bezos as a tyrant to his employees . . . but then that’s exactly how he is in first place as a billionaire. I am very conflicted within myself, I love the convenience of ordering online, getting the stuff two days later . . . but I am abhorrent that this kind Gestapo methodology is being used against any employee. Really, why should you have to cite “sales goals, top selling items, and last week’s sales.” Tell me how does this give a customer what they want at a decent, fair price, and being waited on by pleasant, helpful staff?

    The only saving grace I can see here . . . is with our economy heating up as it is, perhaps those who wish to can leave and find employment that is a bit more friendly. Yes, I know there is the down side to that in that those who have invested 20 years with a company, that would be a monumental loss for them. However, people cannot risk their mental well being in order to stay with an employer.

    Frankly, my opinion is that Jeff Bezos really sucks!

    Liked by 6 people

    • I guess I wasn’t done ranting yet . . . . I have only been in a Whole Foods store one time, and I rather doubt that I will ever again darken their door. When we know that a store just isn’t treating their employees right, it is our duty to avoid adding to their bottom line.

      I guess I am going to have to think long and hard about my romance with “Amazon.” Perhaps, although it is very hand, I should just unplug myself from them also.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Actually Auntie I think he looks a bit more like this guy.

      Bezos- here is a liberal A hole who promotes the political culture of snowflakes, and then expects said snowflakes to perform like type A automatons. How compassionately and typically liberal- typically tyrannical that is.

      Liked by 4 people

    • That’s about it, where the packages are more important than the people, who’re run around vast warehouses like machines by an algorithm in that hand-held device, checking their moves for the slightest inefficiencies, triggering ghoulish mid-management bullying to work faster or get out. An FT article summarizes some of this Bezos-grade financialization of humanity, where the new boss is old-style Taylorism on a chip. Meet your new boss—it’s an algorithm.

      You can bet all those black-glass camera globes everywhere on the ceilings of box stores and other big retailers are there as much to spy on workers as spot shoftlifters. Apparently hours worked in these human hellholes will be assigned on sales algorithms, and the new trend has retail workers on call like Uber or food delivery coolies—the gig economy comes to retail—, although retail clerks don’t know it yet and just scratch their heads at the crazy schedules.

      These companies’ labor efficiencies are all about two things: intentionally “de-skilling” and indirectly dehumanizing their workers for profit. The less skilled and dehumanized workers are, the less they need be paid. Store or warehouse managers and their assistant managers are selected primarily for their willingness to treat their fellow man like automatons, which is borne out by turnover rates proving people to them are as replaceable as parts. This is the New American Proposition, which includes annihilation of the nuclear family, homosexualization of even little toddlers, opiate addiction as population control, etc., and that new proposition is hell on earth.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Surveillance cameras are also used to track consumer behavior. Where foot traffic goes, what displays attract people.

        I had to visit a Best Buy recently (ick) and their floor layout made no sense and was incred8bly inconvenient to navigate. Likely some “experts” designed it to maximize time spent in store. There’s a reason grocery stores always put milk furthest from the door. No quick in and out shopping.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I know I will catch it here, but oh well. I was an avid Amazon Prime user, then I realized what Bezos was doing. He is trying to take over the country. In my own way, I am having a one man protest as I see businesses closing because of Amazon making it so easy to shop. Sounds weird, I know, but I have compassion for those closing their doors and people losing their jobs. It’s like when Walmart moved into many areas and built almost on top of KMart forcing many closings. I saw this happen is several areas.
    We are not in a position to take in many immigrants right now until we level off and see how this is going to play out.
    Amazon has mentioned taking over CVS and Walgreens and maybe even Target. I have a problem with monopolies.
    Besides. Bezos can afford to pay his people a lot more than he does. And for some sick reason he has managed to hold a bidding war to build some more stores in several cities, by accumulating massive tax write offs and even free land offers from those cities. Sorry, he can afford to pay for it.
    So I am marching onward with my one man protest.
    I feel for those workers at Whole Foods. I was a receiving manager for a few years and believe me, there is already enough to be stressed about without that kind of management,

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I will be blunt. Do you want to know where Bezos got this system? (Not the system itself, but the impetus for the system?) I will tell you where he got it from: He got this idea, or the impetus for it, from the old-fashioned nuns in the old-fashioned Catholic schools.
    I went to Catholic school from 1962 to 1970. Yes, I received an education superior in quality and content to the public system, but I am telling everyone plainly and simply that EVERYTHING about us was open to inspection, critique and criticism. EVERYTHING we did was subject to micromanagement.

    But wait, You say: Bezos is not even Catholic, and this is not about religion. That’s correct. But this is what I have noticed about leftists and liberals in general: They hate religion (unless it is their own ideology) and they hate God. No matter: They’re not beneath imitating what they hate, provided it’s not being imposed on THEM. What did we see in NYC when Bloomberg became Mayor? The NYPD officers had traffic ticket quotas so huge, so onerous that no officer could humanly fulfill them. I was driving the yellow cab then, and it was open season on us: Police officers would pull us over for offenses that never happened, and they would and did lie in court when others and I contested them.

    It is not Catholicism or religion itself that has led to this BEYOND MANAICAL CONTROL of people, of course. But what I am saying that this was done to me and classmates for eight years straight (along with severe corporal punishment), and if you want to know why 99% of us left religion altogether, THIS is the reason why. This is not what the Catholic religion is supposed to be about, but no matter: These nuns and lay teachers wanted and demanded absolute control of our entire lives, AND THEY GOT IT.

    Forget about religion for the moment: This made me give up on the human race for a long time! (And I had to volunteer for another year of this control freak crap for at Boys Town!)

    And you wonder why some billionaire freak gets the gall to do the same thing?!?! THIS is what the Left is all about: ALL-OUT TYRANNICAL CONTROL from cradle to grave. And YES, the old-fashioned Catholic school was the exact same way. It is a spiritual sickness. And YES, Frankenpope, from what I have read, is doing the same to those below him in the Vatican. This control-freak sickness is everywhere, only nowadays, they’re not doing it to people for their spiritual welfare: They’re doing it for their own bottom line. It is called TECHNOCRACY.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Oh this well preceded the 60’s. Taylor reduced work from craftsmanship to humans being mindless robots in the early 20th century:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor

      As his principles took time to be adopted throughout all companies, there remained excellence in product until probably the 60’s to 70’s, by which time Taylors “students” from business schools worked their “magic” throughout America. The 70’s to 80″s were arguably a quality nadir, as anyone who owned a car from that era can attest. Japanese and especially Germans had high quality, and American companies were forced to respond. Pre-automation, this was costly, as management was all about killing costs, and much production began moving overseas. This was accelerated massively by Neutron Jack Welch, head dwarf of GE. Other companies had to follow suite or go out of business.

      Now most of our junk is made in China. Shipping costs money though, so lots of junk is made in Mecico. With automation, we can make junk here again, as only a few workers will be needed to maintain robot manufacturing.

      Amazon is rapidly trying to reach the fully-roboticized warehouse. The only reason they still use people, is they haven’t been able to make robots as flexible as humans at picking wildly diverse product. But it’s coming.

      The vid I posted in the other thread shows the robots they already have. Would be wonderful if Bezos had any humanity.

      His influence on politics is disturbing (he owns WaPo). Hates Trump (who is generally very well-liked by employees)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good post Steven. You are right about the spiritual sickness in the church. Top down structures of control are built for abuse. A very close one to me was a victim of abuse by the Church, and I could tell you an ear full of the cover ups even by those at the lower levels such as nuns, and even lawyers. Though I was a sincere convert at one time, I have left the Church too. I have no judgement of people who still attend, but I personally cannot stomach the rife evil that emanates from the structure itself. I ran across this video the other day, and it has haunted me on and off since. What it contains is equal to what these same depraved priests and nuns did to the residential school Indian children in Canada. And it is a sad state that Indigenous people have in their minds that this is a sickness and evil of the White man that preys on Indians, when in fact these demonic individuals empowered by a demonic power structure prey on anyone ( innocent) they can get their filthy paws on.
      I am still stunned daily, not so much by the evil, but by the plethora of individuals willing and happy to bathe in it whether Bezos or Catholic Nuns.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Let me be clear: I was not sexually abused by anyone at the school I attended. I was really ignited by this Bezos post, and, looking back on it, I should have tempered myself.
        But my main point still stands: Tyranny is a spiritual disease, and what I meant to say was that I’ve noticed, at least since Michael R. Bloomberg became Mayor of NYC, is that these leftists will pull the same tyranny, the same control freak insanity, and that they’re even worse than the teachers I had in grade school. So it comes in all stripes, all flavors.

        There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who mind their business and leave people alone, and the control freak tyrants. The control freak tyrants have a MANIACAL COMPULSION to ruin other peoples’ lives!

        BTW, I listened to the Sr. Charlotte tape some time back. I’ll listen to it again. Something about her tells me she’s lying, making it up. Of course, we’ll never know for sure, I guess. But from reading Ann Barnhardt, it seems Frankenpope roars like a mad lion when he yells at his subordinates, and that everyone in the Vatican, priest and layman alike, really fear the man.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No need to explain Steven. I clearly got your intention first time around. Perhaps I wandered too far with the subject. Anyway the point you made about spiritual sickness is true, and authoritarian power structures tend to lend themselves to every type of abuse imaginable on the part of those who run them. Not saying you didn’t perhaps get a good education, but at what cost too. Could a good education be gotten without the prison like atmosphere?

          Liked by 2 people

  8. He pays a poverty wage to his employees, as well! He is an evil, leftist liberal commie who does want to control everything! I don’t know what ever happened to “no monopolies” in our country, but, Amazon is certainly one of them! I would just as soon pay a bit more and support local businesses and independents! Here’s an article about his employees being on food stamps! https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2018/02/04/10-of-amazon-workers-in-ohio-are-on-food-stamps/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.” ― Will Durant

    And they call Trump a Hitler????

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Does the behavior of Bezos remind you of anything? the Cultural Marxist commies who have taken over politics and virtually every other sector of our society. Notice how the Washington Post is the most ardent commie propaganda organ of major newspapers in America. Why? Bezos owns it.

    I taught AP physics, AP chemistry, etc. at an inner-city high school for decades. Suddenly the 5,000-student high school was transformed into 12 small learning communities (aka mini-schools) all headed by a neophyte Millennial. The school was destroyed in short order. Students were allowed to be late to class with impunity, fail every class but still participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. None of the Cultural Marxist Millennials ever spoke to me in my last 2 years before retirement. I was ostracized for being a white heterosexual older married male. Ironically the lead teacher of my “school” now is an Inclusivity counselor. (I wasn’t eligible for inclusion.) Tests scores dropped, I retired, and shortly thereafter the district fired all the teachers at the school. Replaced them with Teach for America neophytes!

    The district tore down the 12-foot steel security fence surrounding the school so gangs are now allowed to roam the school grounds with impunity. PROGRESS! Bezos knows the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I really appreciate health food stores..I pray what happened at (un)whole foods isn’t the beginning of corporations buying up health food chains and turning them into for-profit communist puppet models that people no longer desire to patronize.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. It is sinful for employers to take advantage of their employees. This creep could personally give a major bonus to all his employees without disturbing anything in his lifestyle. Instead, he seeks to oppress them.

    This contributes to a cycle of poor performance and bad attitudes. There should be no respect for people like this.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The economy is coming back in a big way, so these folks finding employment elsewhere is probably going to get easier – even if it requires retraining. AI is what it is, but they can’t replace everybody with robots.

    As for Bezos, I get he is scum of the Earth (and full disclosure here, I buy stuff from Amazon frequently, especially my diabetes testing supplies), but what I would love to see is a conservative operation rise up and compete head-to-head with the goober.

    It can be done – even if it is hard.

    Liked by 2 people

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