Amazon and customer service

How in the world can these two para­graphs actu­ally exist in the same article?

The company’s cus­tomer service—which Mr. Bezos later called “the cor­ner­stone of Amazon.com”—started with the founder him­self answer­ing emails. By 1999 it was manned by 500 rep­re­sen­ta­tives packed into cubi­cles and answer­ing cus­tomers’ questions.

The peo­ple han­dling these emails were gen­er­ally overqual­i­fied and under­paid, with no expe­ri­ence in book­selling. Disaffected aca­d­e­mics were pop­u­lar because they were well-read and could sup­pos­edly help find books on a huge vari­ety of top­ics. They were paid about $10 to $13 an hour, but with the pos­si­bil­ity of pro­mo­tions and stock options dan­gled before their glazed eyes. The best of them could answer a dozen emails a minute. Those who dropped below seven were often fired.

Absolutely noth­ing about that sec­ond para­graph says “cor­ner­stone of Amazon.com.” If that’s how the cor­ner­stone of the com­pany is treated I’d hate to see what the other teams at Amazon have to put up with.

The quote is from Jeff Bezos of Amazon: Birth of a Salesman by Richard L. Brandt in the Wall Street Journal. Also, it’s atro­cious that a writer can put those para­graphs next to each other with­out call­ing Bezos on what is obvi­ously a ludi­crous assertion.