How Amazon is increasingly becoming a symbol for everything wrong with big business

Fish's EddySarah Jacobs/Business InsiderA New York City store recently displayed a sign reading ‘F*ck Amazon.’

Walmart was once considered the symbol of everything that was wrong with the retail industry.

Now, Amazon is taking on that undesirable role.

Fish’s Eddy recently put a sign in its window reading “F*ck Amazon: Fish’s Eddy is prime!” The founder of the quirky New York City store assured Business Insider that the sign was meant as a joke highlighting the struggles of small businesses.

However, for many, anti-Amazon feelings are more intense.

In July, Birkenstock CEO David Kahan sent sellers of the brand’s shoes a brutal five-page email that accused Amazon of launching an “assault on decency.” Birkenstock had encountered issues with the ecommerce giant selling counterfeit shoes, The Washington Post reported.

“This is a middle finger to all brands, not just Birkenstock,” Kahan told The Post in an interview.

Amazon Jobs DaySarah JacobsPeople line up, hoping to get hired, on Amazon Jobs Day.

Amazon has coasted on its progressive reputation. The company has hovered near the top of Fortune’s list of most respected brands for years.

However, the tide seems to be turning — at least among some groups.

An online anti-Trump movement has been encouraging people to boycott Amazon until the ecommerce giant stops selling Trump-related products and running ads on the far-right website Breitbart News.

At the same time, Trump supporters have threatened to boycott Amazon after news broke that it would support Washington State in a federal lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order barring people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. And, in June, Trump tweeted that the “Amazon Washington Post” is “FAKE NEWS.”

Then there’s the question of Amazon’s treatment of its employees.

While Amazon has been applauded for its impressive benefits, the company has been criticised following reports of long hours and poor working conditions in warehouses. Some white-collar workers have described a brutal working environment where people cry at their desks after being pushed to their breaking point.

In 2014, Salon published an article with the headline “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers,” something that highlights both Amazon’s internal issues and how synonymous Walmart has become with everything that’s wrong with big business.

Basically, Amazon’s reputation is taking hits from all sides.

Small businesses — as well as bigger retailers — say that the ecommerce giant is threatening their survival. Progressive activists see the company as funding hate speech, while conservatives say it undermines the president. Workers’ rights activists paint a picture of a company that prioritises profit over people.

Many companies do similar things — and worse than what Amazon’s critics have described. However, Amazon is a prime target because of its size, just like Walmart has long been. When the company makes a misstep, it impacts many people, as the company employed 341,000 people as of February, according to GeekWire.

Criticism grows as Amazon grows — and its current market cap is $US482.19 billion.

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