Christmas creates Amazon shanty-towns -

The shift to online retail Christmas shopping has created new shanty-towns in the US desert similar to the days of the gold-rush.

The Wall Street Journal reports on Amazon hiring shedloads of the nation's elderly and using them like Santa's elves to pack up parcels in its many warehouses.

It gives the world the case of Ray and Sarann Williams who arrived in Fernley, Nevada to work around the clock at Amazon's warehouse and help the online retailer meet its spike in orders.

They came all the way from Hurricane, Utah, to work at the Fernley warehouse because the two month warehouse gig helps tide them over.

Amazon makes nearly 40 percent of its $34 billion plus annual revenue at the end of the year and hires thousands of temporary workers at each of its 34 US warehouses.

In doing so it has created a sort of modern day migrant worker. Many of them are retirees who spend all or part of the year living in RVs and taking odd seasonal jobs around the country.

Amazon pays about 50 percent better than minimum wage and it is seen as a bit safer than some jobs.

Workers can be on their feet for hours fetching items from shelves, packing boxes and preparing incoming items for storage. A lot of them lose weight over Christmas instead of putting it on.

As the elderly Americans work flat out to bring the US Christmas presents, we are still stuck with the glorious postal service.  While they might be fast at packing, afterwards they have to go on the postal equivalent of the Brighton line