Dear Jeff Bezos,
When I heard that Amazon was planning to build a new headquarters that would create as many as 50,000 jobs, I got so excited that I kissed my Alexa voice assistant on the red, felt lips I had glued onto her speaker.
My city, Toronto, was among over 200 municipalities to submit a bid for your Job-lympics, and while our pitch made a solid case for why Toronto is great city to do business in—with a charmingly quaint 1950s-era transit system, up to two months of tolerable weather and 20,000 acres of dog toilets (a.k.a. parks)—I don’t think it truly got across how eager we are to serve you.
And I do mean serve you.
Because I want to make clear that there is virtually no limit to the degradation that I and my fellow Torontonians will suffer for the honour of earning your wages. We have an unquenchable thirst for jobs, and won’t let any pesky “shred of self-respect” prevent us from feeling a few precious drops on our swollen tongues.
And while some haters may call your auditioning process a “grotesque extortion of public resources that would in any meaningful democracy be illegal,” those old-economy job snobs can kiss my a**** (Alexa).
Toronto would do anything to be a member of the Amazon family, even if it’s merely the cousin who you only see at family reunions and ignore the Facebook friend request of. And to prove it, I personally guarantee that if you locate your Job-topia in Toronto, we will:
- Each become an Amazon Prime member for life, reading your Kindles, eating your Fresh, and uploading a continuous stream of data so that your algorithms can recommend us into an ever-tightening embrace of sublime consumption.
- Rename our city Amazon.com/Toronto.
- Change our motto from “Diversity Our Strength” to “Free shipping* (*on orders over $35).”
- Create a Heritage Minute commemorating the first independent book seller crushed under your boot heel.
- Write thousands of favourable reviews for the worst products on your website. Ricky Martin pillowcase? “Cinco stars!” LED eyelashes? “Want!” Poop: The Game? “Yes: The Please!”
- Give your company a key to the city that will actually work on all of its locks, including liquor cabinets.
- Express love and affection exclusively through Amazon gift cards.
But I still don’t think I’ve quite gotten across the utter humiliation we are willing to endure to earn the distinction of performing labour in exchange for your money. In order that you, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest and therefore wisest and most benevolent human, feel at home here, we will additionally:
- All shave our heads so that you never feel insecure about your baldness.
- Adopt a call-and-response system so that whenever you enter a room in Toronto and yell “Sweet honey’s in the hiiiiiiive!” everyone responds with “Beeeeeezooooos!” and pretends they’re bees, buzzing around the room until you tell them to stop.
- Give you an open invitation to attend any of our weddings, bar mitzvahs, surgeries, or intensely private conversations.
- Invite you to jump on any of our backs and ride us like a horse whenever the mood strikes you. (All citizens will come equipped with an Amazon-purchased riding saddle).
Still not enough? Because again, there is literally no municipal self-abasement we won’t bear for a mere whiff of the overpowering stench of your wealth. We will even:
- Celebrate Amazon Prime Day by offering up a small-business owner as a human sacrifice.
- Paint our faces “Amazon Orange” and be your personal Oompa Loompas, complete with haunting anthem and choreography.
- Grant your delivery drones the right to marry.
- Designate a new gender, Primezonian, defined as one who identifies as being a satisfied Amazon customer.
If you’re still not convinced, we stand ready to pour millions of dollars of public money into research and development in order to discover heretofore unimagined ways to debase ourselves to your satisfaction. We want to be a city that welcomes the future with an innovative, twenty-first-century deference to overwhelming corporate power.
Mr. Bezos (or Baron Dot Com, or His Primacy, or Bezos Christ Almighty, whichever you prefer), it’s been a delight to watch from afar as your plucky little website matured into a grown-up, ruthless monopoly. But now we want to do more than merely order from you. We want you to order us. To provide order to our economy. To rid it of messy competition and cluttered worker rights. And most importantly, to give us a higher purpose, so that we can all aspire to one day ascend to your big cloud drive in the sky.
Scott Vrooman (on behalf of all 6 million residents of the Greater Toronto Area)
MORE ABOUT AMAZON:
- Amazon sees 238 bids for its new headquarters
- What will happen when we fall out of love with tech?
- Why NAFTA renegotiations need to tackle the digital economy
- Photo essay: Damned power
- Possible Pickton memoir removed from Amazon amid outrage
- The Bibliopod: On the cult of Amazon and magical realism
- Fifteen years later, the tech industry is back on top
- Another day, another budget