Friday 19 March 2021

Amazon Fresh in Wembley: 'Just Don't Walk In'? - a personal view


 'Just Walk Out' or 'Just Don't Walk In'?

 Gaynor Lloyd has written, in a personal capacity, about her thoughts on Amazon opening its Amazon Fresh cashier-less store store in Wembley Park, following concerns expressed by other councillors.

Dear All,


I totally understand from the below there is nothing the Council can do about choice of tenants by a commercial landlord (I assume not Council property!)


I hadn't heard about the store: Amazon Fresh. I've just had a quick look on  the net – though not sure where it actually is. LINK


I suppose what I'd be worried about  - apart from all the really important things [another Councillor highlights, as to the operation behind any Amazon outlet -  is it seems to be a store with potential for fewer front facing staff.  Certainly no check out - which is where we were going with self-service checkouts (sadly  - IMO -  for all sorts of reasons - but other views exist) – but thinking of reduced employment opportunities. Yes, I know we have COVID but we already have enough stuff introduced under COVID regs altering our society and there are cases already being made at Government level as to whether they will/should stay in place.


I suppose the practical thing is to make clear (as I am sure the Council does do) its support for unions as well as London Living Wage, etc in the workplace in our businesses - but how many staff does it employ?


But on the  wider issue of looking after those of our local businesses who are still able to operate (where local residents work their guts out for long hours in just this sector) -what sort of competition does this provide to those smaller retailers and take-out food/meals providers- again competing with Amazon's power and tech and resources to "price"? (Their hours are 7 days a week,7am-11pm).


As to Amazon's background operation, it's so good to have the GMB petition ; it'd be good to know what progress the GMB is making with Amazon; their "intention to go to the Health & Safety Executive" highlighted in this article links to a fairly old (aargh) Daily Mail article. LINK    Does anyone know?


And thank goodness we are not America (yet) in Amazon's union thwarting activities! LINK  


For employees, though, like every other business, what we need to ensure is that more people know about the employer's responsibility for Health & Safety. The Brent website is clear LINK  , and there's an email address (would be good to have a phone number too, advertised by poster campaigns - so not limited according to access to digital) LINK  


HSE website is clear on managing risks at work LINK .    (Warehouse example at  LINK 


The Council – OF COURSE - showed an excellent example, when schools were first going back and many people had real anxieties; it liaised with the Unions and there was a dedicated team who cared about getting the risk assessments right. I know we don't have that control over businesses in our Borough but we can still make it clear what the Borough expects. It's not as though Amazon doesn't have the money to provide top end solutions to whatever a proper risk assessment has revealed as necessary. Hopefully, as in the case of the store, as Amazon did their fit-out, all this will have been at the top of their agenda. We are entitled to assume it was.


Not everyone will use Amazon of course! ( I was sharing ideas with a pal only yesterday evening about how to avoid but that is a matter of personal choice. )




Jaine Lunn said...

Like Gaynor, I was interested to see this store and how it performs and was pleasantly surprised. For starter's there were far more staff than in Tesco's Local or Sainsbury' Local both located in the same area. There were 2 staff behind a counter for pick up/refunds, two restocking and tidying shelves, one at the takeaway Coffee machine, ensuring everyone wiped the screen with wipes provided and masks (Free of charge), two staff upon entrance ensuring everyone scanned the code for entry, and 3 staff outside with IPad's whom I think were stationed there because of the launch.

The food and drinks were standard for a local, a reasonable amount of choice and in the same price bracket as the other locals in the area, remaining competitive. £3.60 for a Large Fresh Chicken. I picked up 1 items in total including fresh coffee and some danish pastries which were all cheaper than Costa's or Pret, close by, and tasted the same. Within 30 minutes my receipt was emailed to me all correct. I'm sure for the students, local residents and workers at Wembley Park they will enjoy the quick, easy, simplicity of this store for quick essential items.

As for using Self Service for my main shop in the Big Supermarkets, No I don't. Despite staff in some trying to persuade me. I take great delight in informing them unless I get a discount for doing the work myself, I am happy to keep the checkout personnel in a job.

The closest I have come to using this is the Scan,Pack and Go service offered by Sainsburys which is simple to use, but it's seems very hit and miss at Alperton when it's not always working, but you have to have a Nectar card.

With regard to Amazons other businesses, it is down to personal choice, but my experience during the Pandemic, Amazon and their Delivery drivers have been a life saver in respect of some purchases I have made. The mere thought of standing outside Wilko's in Wembley High Road, in the freezing cold whilst it blowing a bugger and raining, for 20 minutes, then having to fiddle around with a mask, glasses steaming up etc, all for a few bits of household stuff, sorry no contest, Amazon wins hands down.

Anonymous said...

It’s all well and good saying all of this. However, where was the focus on local business when the council chose to rent a huge space of the civic centre to Starbucks?!

Martin Francis said...

Yes, the issue goes back a bit: