Amazon: Behind the Smiles


Claire Harbage/NPR

Amazon boxes are scanned on conveyor belts. AI systems keep track of all items in the warehouses, which can be as vast as 1 million square feet.

Shop. Click. And the next day, your purchase is on your doorstep.

Amazon has changed the face of shopping, but at a surprisingly high human cost.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming soon, we look at what’s behind those smiling packages and expose the dangers of working at Amazon.

We start with an investigation from Reveal’s Will Evans into workplace injuries and safety culture at Amazon warehouses. While Amazon touts its workplaces as safe and efficient, Evans finds that many are much more dangerous than the industry average.

Next, with cities all over the country vying to attract companies such as Amazon, Anjeanette Damon from the podcast “The City” looks at Reno, Nevada, which several years ago persuaded Tesla to build a battery factory there. We meet one of the colorful characters who made it happen.

We end with a story about unforeseen problems created by Tesla’s arrival in Reno. Even though it brought thousands of jobs, it also prompted a housing crisis that’s put thousands of people on the edge of homelessness.


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