camperforce

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Staff label and package items in the on-site dispatch hall inside one of Britain's largest Amazon warehouses in Dunfermline, Fife, as the online shopping giant gears up for the Christmas rush and the forthcoming Black Friday sales. (Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

American retail is dying. Malls are decaying, empty big box stores are creating eyesores for communities, and more than 8,000 stores closed in 2017, the most since 2009. But not all retail is dying; Amazon is doing just fine. In fact, this past Cyber Monday was Amazon's biggest shopping day ever. But someone had to pack all those boxes, and the reality is, it’s whoever Amazon can pay the least. That means: the elderly and vulnerable.

Amazon needs thousands of temporary employees to manage its seasonal business boom, and many of those employees come from a program known as CamperForce, which recruits retirees as temporary workers. This seasonal jobs program draws on a pool of retired people who live in their RVs. The program offers employment for 3-4 months doing the picking, packing, storing, and receiving in warehouses, plus a campsite so employees can easily arrive for their next shift.

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