The Incentivized Waste of Free Returns — Pixel Envy:
The supposedly efficient marketplace has produced a system where the cost of production has decreased so much — through deliberately seeking the lowest-wage factory workers and taking a hands-off approach to their safety — that it is trivial for some retailers to discard huge amounts of merchandise from returns and overstock. The incentives are all backwards.
It seems none of these predictions has fully panned out. There are many people who will continue ordering groceries with curb-side pickup, buy everything online with the understanding anything unwanted can simply be sent back, and maybe some people will yell at their speaker to send them a new box of Dutch Blitz after a particularly aggressive board game night. Most people probably will not. We will mostly continue to click “Add to Cart” and shop in stores near where we live. We should make cities more accessible and less car-centric because that helps our communities far more than pressing a button near your laundry machine to have more detergent shipped to you.
[It can be hard to tell when something isn’t working and when the tech isn’t good enough, and when new horrifying habits are enabled. But I feel like part of that difficulty is momentum.]