business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Information reports that "Instacart has been letting go of staff, slowing hiring and curbing other expenses as it heads toward a public listing, when the grocery-delivery company will try to convince public investors that it can maintain its growth - and make a profit - as the economy slows.

"The San Francisco startup over the last two months has fired some of its more than 3,000 workers after holding midyear performance reviews where managers were instructed to provide feedback on employees’ shortcomings, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

"Instacart joins other tech companies, including Meta Platforms, that are trimming staff by taking a harder look at employee performance or leaving open positions unfilled while avoiding highly publicized layoffs. The moves address high labor costs, which ballooned at tech companies during the boom of recent years and now look unsustainable as the economy decelerates."

•  Good E Reader reports that "Amazon is dramatically changing their Kindle book return policy, due to increasing pressure from authors and the Authors Guild. Previously, customers could return a Kindle book for whatever reason and get a refund. Even if they have read the entire book … According to Amazon’s Kindle return policy, you can 'cancel an accidental book order within seven days.' While accidental purchases do occur - for example, if a child or a pet clicks on a book by accident or you purchase the wrong book with a very common title - several authors said that some people are reading the book in full before turning them to Amazon. Customers will get their money back, but authors will be charged a fee to have that book restocked."

Good for Amazon.  The behavior being described here is outright theft, with insult being added to injury when authors get charged a fee for a reader's unethical conduct.  The story notes that there is a cadre of folks in social media who argue that "bookstores should be treated like libraries."  Which is, of course, a crock.