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Making Sure Amazon Warehouse Workers Don’t Steal Your Stuff

Merchants who send inventory to Amazon warehouses as part of the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program often deal with lost or damaged inventory. And like retail store owners, FBA sellers face the threat of theft by employees. A new report says Amazon is using scare tactics to discourage its low-wage workers from that temptation.

Citing current and former workers and antitheft staff, Bloomberg wrote in a story published on Monday:

“While waiting to clock in each morning, workers at some Amazon.com warehouses get a steady stream of company-provided reading: the stories of co-workers fired for theft. In an effort to discourage stealing, Amazon has put up flatscreen TVs that display examples of alleged on-the-job theft,…”

Amazon doesn’t identify the alleged offenders, but includes details about what they allegedly stole and how they got caught, along with how much the items were worth.

Sources for the story shared two examples of the techniques the alleged offenders used to steal items: changing an outbound package’s address (showing some ingenuity), and – belief it or not – “stuffing merchandise in their socks.”

One former worker quoted in the article was philosophical about Amazon’s scare tactic: “It’s just letting people know that you’re being watched.”

But another former worker told Bloomberg the practice carried a whiff of prison, calling it offensive.

What do you think of the scare tactic, and have you ever had inventory go missing from a fulfillment warehouse that you suspected was caused by employee theft?

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.