Brow Beat

John Oliver Won’t Cut Amazon Any Slack for Being “Not the Worst”

Legend tells of a time when if you wanted to purchase a box of Oreos, you had to hop on your dinosaur and go barter for it using a stone the size of a car. OK, so maybe you don’t have to go back quite that far, but to hear John Oliver describe it, the days of shopping in person might as well be prehistoric. “You had to pull on your Juicy Couture velour pants, Uggs, and Von Dutch hat, leave your house, and go to something called a store,” he joked on Last Week Tonight.

For many people in 2019, that box of Oreos is now just a few clicks away—but the convenience comes at a human cost, as Oliver outlined during Sunday’s segment about e-commerce. While there are many shipping companies with unfair policies and practices, Oliver singled out Amazon, even though it did raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour. “Amazon is not the worst actor in this industry,” he noted. “But being not the worst is a low, low bar.”

Oliver went on to explain the hardships for Amazon workers, which range from the mundane-sounding (like having to walk a lot) to the extreme (like being sprayed with bear repellant). Uh, happy almost-Prime Day, I guess?