The Atlantic

Free Shipping Isn't Hurting Amazon

Sending packages is expensive. But the retailer isn’t afraid to spend.
Source: Rich Pedroncelli / AP

There’s a lot that has to happen from the time you click “Place Your Order” on Amazon.com to the time that item arrives on your doorstep a day or two later. There are Amazon workers who have to grab the item from the bin where it’s kept, workers who pack it in a box, and people who drive the trucks (or fly the airplanes) that bring that box from the warehouse to a sortation center to the carrier that will deliver it to you.

Though those workers aren’t necessarily paid a lot of money—Amazon last week that the median compensation of its employees is $28,466—delivering these packages is a costly proposition. In 2017, Amazon spent $21.7 billion on shipping costs, it said in its most recent , nearly double the amount it spent in 2015. Some of those costs are undoubtedly because Amazon spends a lot of money sending packages for

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