After the mid-July Prime Day strikes, we thought we’d do just one episode about the pros and cons of Amazon.
Ha and HA again.
Not only did we NOT cover a lot of things we set out to cover, but we ended up with enough content for probably a 5 or so part series. Turns out Amazon is like a multi-headed snake. Or a head with multiple snakes. Or something.
Anyway, this time we cover a terribly out of touch article about how Amazon should replace libraries (yeah, we know the news has cycled already but meh). We then go on to address the author’s concerns about increasing Amazon’s stock and how much rents and housing prices have ‘sploded the city. There are a few tangents about eating lunch in the bathroom, frog smuggling, and who does or doesn’t get to be called “sir” or “mister.”
Listen to our convo below. Heads up, there’s lots of f-word and hating on Jeff Bezos.
Articles featured in this episode:
- Behold This Disastrously Bad Op-Ed Calling for Amazon to Replace Libraries
- ‘Homelessness Is Not a Choice’: The State of the Crisis in Seattle and King County
- Concern for Seattle’s Housing Crisis is Rising
- How Amazon Helped Kill a Seattle Tax on Business
Also Corinne wants you to watch this music video that directly addresses Seattle gentrifiers.
Minute by minute…
Jumping right in, Emily and Corinne discuss the now-removed Forbes contributor’s bad take that called for letting Amazon replace public libraries to save taxpayers money. The op-ed was written by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas, frequent submittor to the Forbes contributor section and clearly an expert in these things. Amazon, bringing online searches and coffee shops to a now-defunct public library near you.
Corinne and Emily have never actually visited an Amazon bookstore, but we seriously wonder about the quality of their coffee..
Forbes removed the op-ed and issued a PR-firm approved non-apology, and we reaffirm the power of Twitter outrage. Corinne explains “the ratio” and what that means for your tweet, and probably your mentions for the week.
Poor Amazon stockholders have to pay for both Amazon services AND those public libraries that only the poors frequent. Speaking of which, Corinne and Emily review some of the many services public libraries provide, including those we took part in during our youths.
Youthful reading material and the parental limits that Emily and Corinne did or did not experience. Emily’s dog, Connor, contributes to the mood of the podcast. Emily’s mom gets a shoutout before we return to discussing our favorite things about our childhood libraries, including frog smuggling. It’s a hard-knock life for a frog.
Corinne brought Fort George Brewery‘s City of Dreams pale ale to help fuel the podcast. A friend’s experience using McDonald’s wifi is used as an example of why it’s so important to have public spaces that don’t require a purchase every half hour.
(Don’t call him mister!) Jeff Bezos’s net worth was ranked by Forbes at $150 billion, with ownership of 16 percent of Amazon, ownership of The Washington Post, and ownership of some spaceship company in order to participate in the spaceship-measuring contest amongst billionaires. The accuracy of the “started this business in a garage” myth is questioned. The breadth of Amazon’s businesses is discussed, including E-Z Express, Amazon Go, and Whole Foods. Amazon reported their stock prices have increased thanks to Amazon Prime memberships, inspiring Corinne to cut the cord.
More public library benefits include free internet access, job hunting and homework assistance, and while these things benefit local communities, it’s clear that Amazon does not. Corinne shares her experiences living in Seattle as it changed, due in large part to Amazon’s influence and increasing gentrification. The gross inequality between average Amazon employee and Bezos is illustrated by Amazon employees needing to rely on food stamps while Bezos (probably) subsists on caviar and diamonds.
Corinne reminisces about Seattle pre-Amazon. The links between a lack of affordable housing and homelessness in Seattle are referenced in Emily’s light research on the city. We discuss Seattle’s attempts to tax corporations and Corinne’s experience interviewing with Amazon Publishing. We then mock the ridiculousness of start-up speak, particularly the word disrupt.
Corinne tries to define the author-publisher relationship in line with her Amazon interview. It’s not really customer service, it’s a “special relationship.”
Corinne wonders about Amazon’s culture, and what it’s really like to work there. Emily references an article quoting Jeff Bezos as saying he didn’t want his employees to talk to each other. We discuss the pendulum of work environments where no one socializes versus offices where everyone talks all the time.
Our second beer is from Reuben’s Brews in Seattle. Corinne reminds listeners she’s from Scranton, Emily discusses the next episode’s guest, a self-published author on Amazon, and her thoughts as to why people should not quit Amazon altogether. Reasons include: Amazon controls the largest market for self-published authors and Amazon invests the most in its market, Amazon is the best way for authors to build an audience, and have the best royalty returns through Kindle Unlimited because of its huge subscriber base.
The conversation circles back to Corinne’s Amazon interview experience. Emily shares a rumor about signing bonuses with Amazon, and Corinne brings up the expected Amazon workload and availability.
Emily reflects on echo chambers and talking shit. Ultimately we don’t feel bad, but life is a constant learning experience.
What Corinne is reading: Corinne reads the internet, and hasn’t finished either of the two books she’s had for months: Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood and Made for Love by Alissa Nutting. We discuss Tampa also by Alissa Nutting, that Corinne lent to Emily and its Lolita vibe. Tangent: everyone needs to love Ryan Gosling, send Emily your thoughts. Corinne has also started Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro, but isn’t through that one either.
What Emily is reading: multiple books at once, really. She’s almost finished with The Darker Nations by Vijay Prashad about the history of the Third World, post-colonial nations that define themselves as neither the West or the Soviets. She recently finished Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber as a more fun read, and for the most fun she read Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer. Emily pitches her newsletter for more book reviews, Corinne pitches Scranton again.
Emily and Corinne admit that there is a lot more to discuss about Amazon and will address it in future episodes. Listen next time for an inside look at how to support self-published authors.