Amazon Vaccine Lottery | this time its only a partial scam

Senior Reporter

If anyone aside from medical staff heroes deserves to be rewarded for consistency and hard work throughout the pandemic, it’s Amazon's workers. The pandemic pushed the company employees to the limits, as millions of packages were delivered during the lockdown and simultaneous holidays. Hours of packaging, delivering, refunding, customer service, and many other tasks completed by Amazon staff call for public recognition. As a reward, the world's largest online retailer will thank the loyal teams by conducting a “Max Your Vax” lottery, offering 18 prizes that include cash, cars, and vacation packages. Now, the bummer - only vaccinated employees are eligible for the exclusive draw.

Amazon Vaccine Lottery | This time its only a partial scam
Image: pixabay.com

The harsh reality of the Amazon colony

Amazon is the world's largest online retailer by market cap, with a whopping $386.1B revenue reported at the end of 2020. And although the starting hourly wage is $15, and generous benefits make the job worthwhile, the demanding conditions are rough, to say the least. Short bathroom breaks, an unsafe environment in certain departments, and constant stress have led to dozens of suicide attempts.

Not to forget, the pandemic turned the already difficult circumstances into an absolute hell for “bottom of the pyramid” employees. The painfully-rich company does reward the hard work with occasional rewards; however, the bonuses practically amount to pennies in comparison to Amazon’s revenue. In other words, the custom company rewards could fatten up a bit. The company boasts about “giving back to the workers.”

“Since day one, we have strived to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company. We’re honored to be recognized for the work we do on behalf of our customers, employees, and communities around the world,” Amazon’s employee rewards page reads.

The incentives may push the employees to carry on with diligent work, but the risk and reward create an uneven balance on the scales of ethics. However, there are still thousands of Amazon workers that are happy to represent the company, which leaves room for opposing views on the matter. But the recent announcement of the “thank you bonuses” has undoubtedly crossed over the moral line.

The questionable Max Your Vax Lottery

COVID-19 circumstances put workers in various fields through challenging trials. Employers across the US have expressed their gratitude (as any reputable company should) in the form of cash bonuses, promotions, and public recognition. While employees are not entitled to anything aside from promised paychecks, it’s an honorable concept that produces a rich harvest for both company owners and their laborers.

Amazon has done a somewhat of a decent job upholding the said standard despite the questionable ratio of work conditions to bonuses. But this time around, the inequitable, exclusive rewards offered to employees are hard to dismiss.

Just weeks ago, Amazon members were warned of a scam impersonating the company’s website to rob the clueless victims of money. The con artists’ fake lottery texts persuaded hundreds of individuals to enter their banking details to pay for a small shipping fee before they could receive the promised “lottery prize”. As anyone can guess, extra charges would suddenly show up in the victims’ bank accounts days later.

This time around, Amazon is conducting a legitimate lottery for its employees. However, the conditions reek of similar swindling. Instead of distributing equal opportunities for all of the company’s workers, Amazon is conducting a lottery called “Max Your Vax” that offers 18 prizes, including $500,000, cars, and vacation packages. The catch? Only those who can prove they are vaccinated against Covid-19 can participate. More specifically, the $2M draw consists of two $500,000 cash awards, six $100,000 awards, five new vehicles, and five vacation packages.

The idea behind the incentive is obvious - persuade the “stubborn unbelievers” into getting the jab by rewarding those who already have.

“We strongly believe that the best way to protect our front-line employees and communities from Covid-19 is through vaccinations...And we are proud to have hosted more than 1,100 on-site vaccination events to help make getting a vaccination as easy as possible for our employees and their household members,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel stated.

Amazon’s managers also expressed the company’s concern that mandates would send vaccine skeptics in their ranks in search of other jobs. Starting October 9, employees would have to mask up regardless of vaccination status. Not to mention, $80 prizes were already offered as an incentive to get the jab before this lottery. Vaccinated workers had been able to work at Amazon mask-free since late May, so the company is grasping at straws to get all the workers vaccinates while also keeping the ones who did from throwing in the towel.

The issue behind the exclusive lottery

Perhaps the Max Your Vax lottery wouldn’t be this problematic if previous employee rewards balanced out the prize opportunities. However, never in the history of Amazon did a single staff member get the chance to win $500,000. Cars have never been gifted to workers who stayed loyal to Amazon for 10+ years, and luxurious bonus vacations never offered hard-working single mothers a chance to take a break. Did Amazon have the means to provide such generous “thank you” gestures? Absolutely. But aside from discount rewards and occasional paid time off holidays, or other elementary tips, noting of this measure has ever been awarded. Yet now that the company has an agenda goal, the prizes have quadrupled in value.

Excluding the “unwilling” employees from the massive opportunities already creates a disbalance and inequity in the workforce. But putting those who aren’t able to get vaccinated due to health complications at such a wild disadvantage makes the lottery twice as discriminatory.

The contrast of the corruption shines exceptionally bright when looking back at Jeff Bezo’s attempt to thank the employees (as well as Amazon members) for funding this year’s unforgettable space trip,

"I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this...So seriously for every Amazon employee out there and every Amazon customer, thank you very much. It's very appreciated," he confidently blurted out. 

That is the extent of “thank you's” loyal workers will ever receive from the second richest man on earth. Keeping up with the vaccination rates by running a shady lottery appears to be the main focus at this time. Many are catching on to the corruption seeping from Bezo’s actions,

“Yes, Amazon workers did pay for this - with lower wages, union busting, a frenzied and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers not having health insurance during a pandemic,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to Bezo's comment.

With that said, the Max Your Vax lottery is simply a bribe and by no means an expression of gratitude.

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