Morning Advantage: This Isn’t the Best Job You’ve Ever Had

It's no secret that Europe needs jobs. So when Amazon announced its plans to open three new warehouses in Britain, creating more than 2,000 positions, the decision was met with praise from David Cameron. But this optimism is being met with warnings, largely from people who already work in an Amazon fulfillment center in Rugeley, Staffordshire. The environment, they say, is "like being in a slave camp," pointing to mandatory ill-fitting shoes that cause sores; text messages on computer devices to tell workers they're behind schedule; and a "three strikes and release" discipline system that let a number of workers go around the Christmas holiday. And the promise of job security is all but distant, as Amazon often uses employment agencies to fill positions.

So goes the modern dilemma of work, writes Sarah O'Connor in the Financial Times: "They are grateful for the jobs Amazon has created but they are also sad and angry about the quality of them." One thing that surely doesn't help: the "life-sized cardboard image of a cheery blonde woman in an orange vest" near the entrance of the warehouse. "'This is the best job I have ever had!' says a speech bubble near her head." Even she probably knows this isn't true.


Why State of the Union Addresses Rarely Sway the Public (Wonkblog)

Did you watch last night's U.S. State of the Union speech? Do you feel different today, with new spring or weight in your step? Probably not — and you're not alone. This historical rundown of public sentiment in the wake of these agenda proclamations shows single-digit approval rating changes and fleeting attention to the issues the president brings up. One notable exception? Bill Clinton in '98, when he touted the economy in the shadow of a breaking story about a White House intern. Viewers are also less likely to grasp the policy implications of the speech unless the media breaks it down — and the number of people who watch has decreased since the proliferation of cable television.


Maker’s Mark Waters Down Its Bourbon to Meet Rising Demand (Quartz)

Bourbon, it seems, is all the rage: it accounts for 35% of liquor sales in the U.S. and has seen overseas growth in Japan, Australia, and Germany. This is all well and good for companies like Beam, Inc., which owns Maker's Mark, except for a tiny little problem: it's running out of booze. So Beam is reducing the alcohol content in Maker's Mark by 6.7%. So how does Beam, which relies on its loyal customers, make this potentially hazardous move? To start, it reached out in an email to its brand ambassadors, and COO Rob Samuels answered questions submitted to Quartz's Zachary Seward about why the company made the watery decision. Will it work? We'll see, as evidenced by this particular question: "What will you do for a living after burning the American bourbon industry’s reputation to the ground and destroying your company?"

"'All we’ve asked is that folks keep an open mind until they taste,' said a somewhat chastened Rob."


Paper, Plastic, or #?

American Express Will Let Twitter Users Buy Real Products with a Hashtag (The Verge)
The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change Is Costing You (National Journal)
Meet Corey, the One Black Guy in Every Commercial (Ad Age)

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