I'm boycotting e-commerce businesses and home deliveries. Here's why

But this is not about Amazon but about any of the e-commerce companies. It’s also about any of the home-delivery focused quick service restaurants.

Anant Rangaswami November 10, 2014 14:23:28 IST
I'm boycotting e-commerce businesses and home deliveries. Here's why

A few days ago, I was at the CNBC TV18 office on Tulsi Pipe Road, Mumbai, editing some segments of my show, Storyboard. Done with the editing, I was walking across the road to a meeting at Café Zoe in Mathuradas Mills. I exited the gate, turned left and, on the footpath in front of me was a young man in a uniform lying on the footpath. I all but dismissed him as a drunk; almost passed him as many were doing. I looked at him closely and absorbed the surroundings. There was a motorcycle parked on the edge of the road – and a large ‘courier’ bag a few feet away.

I patted his cheek – and his eyes opened. He said that he wasn’t feeling well. I tried to get him to sit up; asked him if he felt unwell enough to need to be hospitalised. He said that he had called his mother and sister and that they were both coming soon.

Im boycotting ecommerce businesses and home deliveries Heres why

Representational Image. Reuters

He could barely speak – and I was frightened for him. I called a colleague at the office and asked her to get someone to bring some water to the gate and to get an office pool car ready to take him to hospital once he agreed (she also checked and confirmed that there was no doctor present in the office at the time.

The young man seemed better, but still unable to speak easily. He was panting – and told me that he had been running a fever for the past few days.

His sister arrived within minutes, having run across from her Airtel office a few hundred meters away, anxiety writ on her face. She called the mother and confirmed that she was almost at the spot.

The mother arrived – and she was, I imagine, around 70 years of age. The young man saw her, and both mother and son wept.

We bundled both of them into the waiting car – and bundled his courier bag as well as the young man wanted to hand the bag over to a colleague he would call. He left his motorcycle keys with us, and one of my colleagues from the administration department wheeled it into the office compound.

The young man was working for a courier company which does deliveries for Amazon. He was wearing an ID card which had no details of person to contact in an emergency – and indeed had no phone number of any company – not even the contract courier.

But this is not about Amazon but about any of the e-commerce companies. It’s also about any of the home-delivery focused quick service restaurants.

Do these businesses care about the employees and contractors who form the backbone of their business?

They carry massive loads on their backs; they have unrealistically difficult deadlines to meet, causing them, often, to drive recklessly, including breaking traffic rules.

The young man I happened to come across is alright now. I have no clue how many young men have been injured or have died on the job working for these businesses.

I’m going to attempt to find out. And I’m going to attempt to get these businesses to be responsible to these young men.

Till then, I’m staying away from e-commerce and home deliveries which guarantee time bound deliveries.

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