- According to interviews with seven Whole Foods employees, tensions between Whole Foods employees and those who select and package Amazon Prime Now online orders are increasing.
- Whole Foods employees said that as more and more Amazon Prime workers fill online orders through canvas shops, they are facing shortages and struggles to maintain shelf inventory.
- The manager of a Whole Foods store in the Northeast called it a “vulture”, “come in and pick every department is clean.”
- An employee of a store said that a Whole Foods store was so busy with Prime orders that workers packed and stored groceries in a nearby parking lot.
- A Whole Foods spokesperson said: “This year̵
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Amazon’s online grocery business is booming, and some Whole Foods employees say this has caused many problems in the store.
According to interviews with 7 Whole Foods, in some cases, staff filling out Amazon Prime Now orders (purchasing online to deliver or pick up from Whole Foods stores) are blocking the passage, ignoring the virus agreement, and exacerbating Whole Foods employees Claims of serious understaffing. Employees in six states, including three managers. Except for one employee, all employees requested anonymity to protect their work.
A manager of the Northeast Whole Foods store called them “bald workers”. “Bald eagles” would “come in and pick clean things from each department”, and then Whole Foods employees could completely fill the empty shelves from the day before.
The manager said: “The picking starts mainly at 6 in the morning. They are picking up the shelves from various departments and no one can refill them.” He added that his shop is understaffed. “We only have pallets of groceries in the aisle, and they are eager to put them on the shelves.”
When Amazon Prime employees (or shoppers as the company calls them) cannot find a particular item, they must contact Whole Foods employees and ask for help. Employees say that if food is out of stock, Prime shoppers must scan QR codes belonging to Whole Foods employees to continue working.
The manager of Whole Foods Supermarket said: “This has caused the long-term lack of staff to stop what they are doing to help Prime shoppers find the product and provide the code.”
Workers say this QR scanning process is one of the most frustrating parts of the Prime shopping plan.
Warren Dearman said: “When we tried to do our jobs, we were bombarded by these people and they asked us questions.” Warren Dearman recently left Brook Part of the work of Lin Quanshi Supermarket is related to problems with Amazon Prime shoppers.
An Amazon shopper in Weehawken, New Jersey said that major shoppers are also dissatisfied with the QR scanning requirements.
He said that requirement scanning is a useful training tool for new shoppers.
He said: “However, for experienced employees, this is too much.” “You are annoying others because of inventory issues.”
An employee at Whole Foods in Philadelphia said that when she tried to put it on the shelves, major shoppers surrounded her.
She said: “I’m basically just a human QR code.” “I’m working hard. I have to stop every 5 minutes to help Prime shoppers and then have them scan my QR code. Sometimes, they are too many So that a line was formed behind me to scan my QR code.”
She said the success of the plan also made it difficult to keep the shelves full.
She said: “I can put blueberries and they disappear after ten minutes, because the main shoppers have bought blueberries.”
In response to this story, a spokesperson for Whole Foods said that the demand for online groceries has grown unprecedentedly. The spokesperson also emphasized the company’s testing of hidden stores, which are not open to the public and are only used to fill online orders. Whole Foods recently opened its first permanent online store in Brooklyn.
A Whole Foods spokesperson said: “The demand for online grocery delivery has experienced unprecedented growth this year, and as we continue to provide products in real time, we are constantly evaluating how to respond to challenges and work more effectively.” We are proud of the adjustments we have made to improve shopping and the overall ordering experience.”
Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, did not respond to a request for comment.
Amazon Prime orders surge and tensions rise
Due to the virus problem, Americans are buying more food online than ever before. Almost every major grocer reported that the number of online grocery purchases has increased rapidly in recent months.
Amazon is no exception. The tech giant said in its latest quarterly earnings report that online grocery sales during the quarter tripled compared to the same period last year.
An employee of a store said that Whole Foods’ South Street store in Philadelphia was so busy processing Prime orders that there was not enough space to pack and store these orders until they were taken. As a result, the order storage area has overflowed into the adjacent parking garage, and Prime shoppers placed groceries on six plastic picnic tables scattered across the empty parking spaces, and then stored them on nearby metal shelves.
Several employees said that in Whole Foods stores, the main shoppers crowded the aisles, making social distancing difficult. They often stared at their phones instead of looking where they were going.
An employee at Whole Foods in Philadelphia said: “It’s everywhere.” “It’s like participating in a science fiction nightmare.”
An employee at Whole Foods in the San Francisco area also mentioned the problem of crowding.
He said: “Prime Now shoppers are completely unconscious, posing a huge risk to employees and customers.”
He added that they “walked around the store as fast as possible to complete the order as quickly as possible” and seemed to rarely glance at their phones.
He said that Prime Now orders have exceeded his store, and by mid-morning, there will be as many as 150 orders per day.
He said: “In some cases, this store may not have a public shopping venue, but all Prime Now shoppers will pull the zipper in the store.”
A Whole Foods spokesperson said that all store employees follow the same safety measures, including staying away from social places, wearing masks and conducting daily temperature checks. The company also cited a study by research company Ipsos, which designated Whole Foods Market as a top grocery retailer because of its COVID-19 safety measures. The researchers said that all employees at Whole Foods stores they visited were wearing masks correctly.
Whole Foods directly manages some Amazon shoppers
Amazon initially hired and managed all Prime shoppers when it first launched its Prime pickup and delivery program in the Whole Foods store in 2018. The company now uses at least two different employment structures, which are referred to internally as “base” or “bison”. The employee said.
In the “main” store, Amazon is still responsible for Prime shoppers. In the “bison” store, Whole Foods directly hires and manages major shoppers.
Several Whole Foods employees said that both theoretically and through direct experience, they like the idea of the bison model because it gives the Whole Foods manager more control over Prime shoppers and makes everyone It feels like you are part of the same team.
An employee at Amazon’s “main” store in the Chicago area where Prime shoppers are employed said there was a “complete disconnect” between the two groups.
Whole Foods’ long-term human resources manager said that when the store does not directly hire Prime shoppers, it is difficult to solve their problems.
She said: “They have been working in our store and have been working with us, but they are not a member of our team.”
She cited the problems of Prime shoppers failing to get the correct distance and wearing masks, and “totally ignore one-way aisles”.
She said: “We realize that customers will ignore it, but when Amazon shoppers do it, it will be shocking.”
At the same time, she said, employees of Whole Foods were instructed to treat Amazon Prime shoppers as customers and were disciplined for being rude to them.
Employees say the morale of Whole Foods employees is low
Workers said the increased tensions in the Prime Now program came at a time when the morale of Whole Foods employees fell.
The long-term human resources manager said: “The morale of the team members is the lowest level I have ever seen.” “Global has been asking us to provide feedback, and we have been saying to them: team members feel insecure. They are insecure against the virus. It’s not safe for customers. I’ve never seen so many people look so nervous and scared.”
“Global” refers to Whole Foods’ corporate office in Austin.
She said the surge in Amazon Prime orders has put pressure on Whole Foods workers.
She said: “We have fewer team members than ever before, because the labor budget is cut over and over again, and then you will have Amazon shoppers come looking for things.”
The manager of Northeast Whole Foods Supermarket said that when he joined the company, the happiness of employees was the focus. Now, he says: “Everyone I know feels overworked and underpaid.”
If you are an employee of Whole Foods Supermarket and you can share your story, please contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.