Here’s a sampling of the responses we’ve received through the first two installments in that series, which examined Amazon’s place in Seattle and business history and a quartet of long-tenured, family-owned retailers adjusting to the e-commerce upheaval of the Amazon era. They’ve been lightly edited for clarity.
“I still recall 1997 or so and my next door neighbor was one of the first Amazon employees. I only had the internet at work. of course, but if I ordered books from Amazon early enough in the day, they would be at my door when I got home. It was like absolute magic! Fast forward many years and I’m an engineering leader at Amazon Web Services. I’m still sometimes amazed at the magic we make happen every day.” — Heather W.
“I grew up in the Midwest suburbs and my dad was a programmer/book nerd who was on the Amazon train early. I used Amazon’s services thoroughly for about 10 years until I moved to Seattle after college. I see clearly now that Amazon is a monster run by overpaid minions with ethical blind spots. I try hard not to support Darth Bezos in his drive to avoid taxes and infiltrate the public sphere to create his crapitalist technocracy.” — Zerrin D.
“Amazon had the most impact to me as soon as I moved to Seattle. Prime Now transformed my experience as a disabled person — the ability to get the things I need without spending all of my energy doing it has been transformative. I can’t really imagine my life without Amazon now, for better or worse.” — Wes
“Amazon is responsible for a constant barrage of delivery vans clogging my Seattle neighborhood street, multiple and wasteful cardboard boxes piling up on the porch and in the recycling dumpster at my small condominium building, and buzzing my unit at all hours for a package delivery to another unit (not to mention creating major housing and traffic problems in our once-livable city).” — Nancy A.
“Excellent value for your dollar if you can wait a day or two for your order. If you need it now you can buy it for a few dollars more at your neighborhood store. I do that sometimes to support the local stores.” — Steve L.
“Allows me to keep up with purchases of books in a way that was impossible before. When I read a good review in the Economist I can just get it on my Kindle. Having a Kindle when traveling beats hauling books any day. The convenience of ordering other products also means that I can live downtown in Victoria during July and August without a car where I can easily walk for groceries, but get products I would need a car or cab for delivered.” — Bob B.
“My work was in publishing and I have been so negatively impressed by the ruthless greed of Amazon and its unnecessarily destructive behavior in the publishing field that I have nothing whatever to do with the company.” — E.W.
“I used to be an Amazon fan, back when they just sold books. I remember getting one of the Harry Potter books delivered to my door the morning it was released, and it felt really magical. Now I watch the growth of the company into every area of life and I have concerns — where does the monopoly start or end? Can I trust Amazon with my personal information? (Since they flashed my Kindle this past weekend with every single library book I’ve ever checked out via Overdrive, it feels like the answer is no).” — Stacie
“I delivered packages for Prime Now for a few years as my side gig to my full-time job. … I loved the customers and they tipped me generously. The problem with this gig however, is that it is contract work, which means you are responsible for all your taxes so it doesn’t pay as well as it might appear on the surface. In addition, they were very inconsistent in applying their policies and it could be next to impossible to speak to a person [to] solve a problem beyond what the delivery customer service agents could handle. If I was one second late with a delivery I would get a warning email a few days later. When I would try to rectify the situation I got a lot of form responses which was very frustrating. … Extremely impersonal but they want you to deliver the highest level of customer service. I do not miss it one bit.” — Janine K.
“A very positive impact. Thanks to Amazon’s offer of employment last year, I have a part-time job combined with my Social Security at age 68. I love it and I am very grateful to them for helping me overcome the tough poverty I previously experienced.” — Richard E.
To take stock of Amazon on its 25th anniversary, The Seattle Times plans a series of stories over the coming year, starting with an overview looking at the company and its place in business and Seattle history.
We want Seattle Times readers to guide our coverage.
Share your experience as a customer, employee or resident of the city – now cities – where Amazon was launched and has grown.
And tell us what you want to know about the company, its history in Seattle and beyond.
Enter your question below, or go here.
We’ll report on the questions of greatest interest to our readers as we delve into specific topics over the course of the next year.