Rebecca Tyrrel: 'I like to imagine Amazon’s ‘chief fulfiller’ in saffron robes, working quietly in the style of a monk tutor'

Share
Related Topics

Who knew that at Amazon, a warehouse is not a warehouse but a 'fulfilment centre'? How big a part this mildly Orwellian euphemism has played in Amazon's rise to become the world's premier retailer is unknowable. But it is hard to believe that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos would be routinely hailed as 'the new Steve Jobs' if he presided over anything as prosaic as warehouses.

On the ladder of modern euphemism 'fulfilment centre' hardly challenges 'collateral damage' (the needless slaughter of civilians). But it does have the clear edge over 'logistics', as road haulage has become known. Fulfilment, after all, takes us beyond that stab at making the late Eddie Stobart seem cool and on to a higher plane of spiritual satisfaction. I like to imagine the chief fulfiller (formerly 'foreman') of a fulfilment centre in flowing saffron robes working quietly to a background loop of Zen aphorisms in the style of Grasshopper's blind monk tutor in Kung Fu.

In commercial terms, no one is more centrally fulfilled than Bezos, whose personal wealth has soared to almost $20bn (£12.5bn). As an infant, Bezos was so fixated on completing his kindergarten tasks that his Montessori teachers, unable to capture his attention, would pick up his chair to move him. Like Jobs, he started out in the family garage, where – perhaps inspired by the Wacky Races' Prof Pat Pending – he tried to create a vacuum cleaner that turned into a hovercraft.

As a teenager, he founded the Dream Institute, a summer school designed to encourage creative thinking, mingling the high-minded and entrepreneurial in the classic modern-American fashion by charging his siblings an entry fee. Like Martin Luther King, he had a DREAM. Unlike Dr King, Jeff Bezos appears to have achieved it for himself, and for anyone whose nightmare is queuing in HMV to pay twice the Amazon price for a boxed set of Downton Abbey.

Those he has in mind in offering FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) are not his staff, let alone himself. It is the beloved one-click customer, who can now depress a single key and purchase One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com, for just £8.46, within 24 hours. Fulfilment indeed.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos  

Greece debt crisis: Trouble is, if you help the Greeks, everyone will want the same favours

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy