Update: Please consider a pledge to our Kickstarter campaign for Zoe and the Amazocalypse!
Introducing “Flee the Jungle”
Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to How Our Success is Ruining Seattle (and Amageddon at GeekWire), I’m launching FleeTheJungle.com today to assist people in ending their Amazon Prime memberships and reducing their spending with the company.
Last week, Amazon announced $92 million in profit and $23.18 billion in revenue for the quarter causing its stock to momentarily surge 100 points. The company overtook Walmart in market value and Jeff Bezos became the fifth-richest man. Amazon also confirmed it now has 183,100 worldwide employees and 24,000 locally — approximately five times more than it had here in 2010 (and may reach 71,500 by 2019.)
Yet, the company remains silent about its success’ negative impacts on our city. In fact, Amazon recently misled the Associated Press (and 300 global newspapers that syndicate their content) that the company’s given “tens of millions” to affordable housing, funded an entire streetcar and donated to a hundred charities. Little of this is accurate.
The truth is that Amazon’s quickly turning Seattle into a traffic-congested mess for a wealthy mostly white male class of what many call “brogrammers.” If the rest of us wish to restore mobility, housing affordability and cultural diversity here, it’s time to slow Amazon down and force them to engage in these issues progressively.
For example, I’ve drastically reduced my spending at Amazon the past two years to near nothing in 2015 (get a historical report of your spending at Amazon):
Flee the Jungle is designed to help you do the same. It provides a quick and easy guide to finding popular alternatives around the web for whatever you might need.
For the record, I’d actually thought of launching a site like this last year for fun and registered the domain name Amehzon.com. Unfortunately, I realized soon after that the company might sue me for trademark infringement (as what almost happened to Dumb Starbucks).
Some of you may wish I chose F*ckAmazon.com but the company already owns it. Perhaps they have repressed psychological tendencies of self-hatred about their harmful impacts (though Reamazon.com remains unregistered.)
I’ve no hostility towards the company — they’ve accomplished amazing things. For example, I love my Kindle app and used to be a fan of its AWS cloud services. And as far as their rapid Seattle growth, I’d be supportive if it was accompanied by responsible investments in transit and our community, but it’s not. Therefore I am deeply concerned about Amazon’s harmful impacts on our beloved Emerald City and how little CEO Jeff Bezos and the company seems to care.
Visit and Share Flee the Jungle
The success of Flee the Jungle depends on Seattle-ites changing their habits and sharing it widely around the country. Its only goal is to persuade Amazon to begin to positively invest in our city’s future.
Please visit FleeTheJungle.com and share it on your favorite social networks. Terminate your Prime membership and begin to explore other shopping alternatives. Flee The Jungle offers a variety of simple alternatives – excellent companies who are doing a great deal to provide you an efficient, economical and faster experience. Two to check out especially include the newly launched Amazon competitor Jet.com and the impressive ShopRunner.
The success of Flee The Jungle not only depends on you but also Amazon. I’ll redirect Flee the Jungle to Amazon’s home page in a heartbeat if the company takes the following actions…
What Amazon Needs to Do
Amazon’s single-handedly turned South Lake Union and Mercer into an urban blockade in the center of our city with little culture or diversity and contributed to dramatic changes on Capitol Hill, including an increase in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. It’s time for the company to lead major investments in transit development, affordable housing and diversity.
Here’s what they need to do:
- Commit 2.5% of its revenue for the next decade to public transit development in Seattle to offset the impacts of its massive development and expansion.
- Announce political support for comprehensive affordable housing initiatives. This will allow current residents to remain in their homes. It also needs to include some portion of rent control over privately owned buildings, requirements for inclusion of affordable housing units in every new building to restore neighborhood diversity and tax reform to increase city funding to expand low income housing development.
- Reverse its course on gender diversity to support the hiring of more woman and minorities. This begins by it publicly releasing its gender diversity statistics for technology workers as Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook have done. Then, it must set targets for hiring more women and minorities, similar to how Redfin said it will do. And, Amazon must invest in scholarship programs locally to expand the number of women and minorities skilled in technology, as Apple and Intel have done.
What You Can Do
Since Amazon has thus far neglected the overall health of our community, it’s time for all of us to cut our spending with them – and to ask our family, friends and colleagues to support us by doing the same. We’ll also be supporting authors and bookstores calling for anti-trust investigations of the company’s business practices and challenging its ongoing mistreatment of tens of thousands of warehouse workers.
Take the pledge to cut your spending. Retweet the pledge or post yours on Facebook:
— Flee the Jungle (@fleethejungle) July 26, 2015
As the company approaches $100 billion in annual revenue, it certainly has the funds to build a brighter future in Seattle — it’s just currently choosing to ignore its harmful impacts on our city.
I encourage you to explore Flee The Jungle and hope you’ll share any changes you make in your spending habits. If there’s community support for the site, we’ll continue to grow and expand it over time.
Feel free to post your comments below or email us. Also, let us know if you are interested in running a copy of Flee the Jungle customized for your country.
Here’s some other reporting about Amazon that may interest you:
- How Our Success is Ruining Seattle, also in BoingBoing, Slashdot and Crosscut. See also List of Reporting References used.
- Amazon Misleads the Associated Press About Seattle Affordable Housing, reprinted in Crosscut
- Amazon’s Impact on Seattle’s Ballard Neighborhood, also in Slashdot
- ‘Amageddon’: How Amazon’s culture is taking a toll on Seattle’s future (Geekwire), also in Slashdot
- You’ve Got Male: Amazon’s Growth Impacting Seattle Dating Scene (Geekwire), also in Slashdot, Salon here and here, Dame Magazine, Glamour, Seattlish, The Stranger’s Slog, MyNorthwest, The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, TechEye and PSBJ here and here
- Amazon Warehouse Workers Are “Treated Like a Child, a Dumb Child” (Gawker)
- Company Town? In Seattle, Some Fret Over Amazon’s Growth (AP / New York Times et al.)
- Dear Amazon interns, some advice from an old man who has been at Amazon way too long. (Reddit)
- Thanks to Amazon, Seattle is awash in fortune-seeking men again (Crosscut)
- Amazon’s Company Town? (Politico)
- Amazon Marketplace Makes Fraud Easy
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Frequent Campaign Contributor, Infrequent Voter, also in (GeekWire)