Thank you, Rabbi Binyomin Karman, for the informative article on the behind-the-scenes of selling on Amazon (“Amazon on Fire,” Hamodia Prime, Oct. 30, 2019).
As a close relative to an Amazon seller, I found myself nodding along to almost everything the interviewees said.
While Amazon has, baruch Hashem, been a great source of parnassah to many people, it is not a bed of roses. While some of the challenges of an Amazon business were clearly brought out in the article, I feel that readers need to understand how physically taxing this line of work can be.
The hours and hours of packing, unpacking, labeling, counting and stacking don’t always justify the unpredictable amount of money that can be earned. No, most heimishe people starting out cannot afford 150 employees like Ariel in the interview. And it won’t happen in the next few years either. An Amazon business can take years to build and, as mentioned in the article, can come crashing down for some minor infraction.
Another misconception that is cleared up by reading this is, “Great, I’ll stay in kollel/be a stay-at-home mom and will ‘do Amazon’ in my spare time.”
While this is definitely possible, it is not so simple! I’ve watched firsthand how the “kollel/Amazon dance” works. It means working through the night, no lunch break, running out in the middle of seder due to an emergency, phone-chavrusa-learning while packing boxes, and coming home with an aching back.
It can work, but one should not think that it will be an easy road.
Hashem should help that all of Klal Yisrael should earn their livelihood easily!