retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Bloomberg reports that employees at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York have gone to court to accuse the company of "recklessly reinstated dangerous warehouse productivity quotas despite telling a judge that it was suspending them during the pandemic."  The workers say that the new quotas are tied to its Prime Day promotions this week, which put a lot of pressure on its distribution system.

"'Amazon has not been honest and forthcoming,' employees at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, told the judge handling their lawsuit, which contends the company’s 'oppressive and dangerous' policies violated public-nuisance law and exacerbated COVID-19 hazards."

The story says that "Amazon acknowledged reinstating performance quotas and said workers still have adequate time to wash their hands and take other precautions."

•  TechCrunch reports that "Amazon has quietly launched a new augmented reality application that works with QR codes on the company’s shipping boxes to create 'interactive, shareable' AR experiences. Called simply 'Amazon Augmented Reality,' the retailer describes the app as a 'fun way to reuse your Amazon boxes until you’re ready to drop them in the recycling bin'."

According to the story, "different Amazon boxes will offer unique activities for the AR experience. For example, one screenshot shows someone drawing the face on a pre-printed white pumpkin to turn it into a jack-o-lantern. When they then scan the QR code, the pumpkin jumps out as an AR object. Another screenshot shows an AR pumpkin and bat wings over top an image of a dog. And one shows the Amazon box turning into a little blue AR car when the QR code is scanned."

The mobile app apparently "offers no other functionality if not used alongside an Amazon box that supports the new QR codes."

I'm having enough trouble dealing with actual reality these days.  Augmented reality may be more than I can handle.

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon "has struck a deal with the National Football League to stream a playoff game this season, people familiar with the matter said.

"The agreement, which the league disclosed to team owners Wednesday during a video meeting, deepens the relationship between the nation’s premier sport and the online retail and entertainment giant.

"Amazon already streams 11 Thursday Night Football games annually and has been looking to carry more football on its Amazon Prime Video platform. Amazon renewed its Thursday Night Football deal earlier this year for three seasons in a pact worth at least $75 million annually, according to an industry executive with knowledge of NFL media rights."

Terms for the playoff game deal were not disclosed.