International Retailers Amazon grace
Four years ago, (you would have laughed then, had you known) Tesco ran a ‘Doomsday Exercise’ in which it gamed out the total closure of its head office, because of, we don’t know, an asteroid strike or global pandemic or something? Four years down the line, what with only 30 staff out of a possible 6,500 pitching up daily at HQ, they’re very glad they did. As a result, they had the toolbox when they needed it: the bandwidth they needed for Zoom conflabs, and a plan to help feed a hungry nation when shutdown arrived. Sainsbury’s in the meantime, are doing some planning of their own, for disruptions to business as usual which will last through September, they believe. Across the pond, in the meantime, Walmart has introduced two-hour express deliveries for hungry Yanks. And at Amazon, Tim Bray, a vice president and senior engineer at Amazon Web Services has resigned his position in protest against the firing of several employees that protested workplace conditions at warehouses amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Firing whistle-blowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets,” he thundered. “It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”
Comment: A rare and principled stand.