This is my second Amazon Take Your Parents to Work Day — I missed last year because Sara was in India with her software team. The first year I saw her work space and met her work mates, visited the alternative workspaces that Amazon then provided — big upgrade this year with the Spheres — got a free banana at the outdoor banana stand. I think we got our picture taken up on the roof by the professional photographer who was documenting the day. I also got a bag of Amazon branded goodies. Sara and I had lunch at a nearby restaurant rather than in one of the Amazon cafes.
Amazon had to put some limits on the event, after 5000 people showed up the first year including extended families that came great distances to Seattle just for this happening. Now, it’s explicitly for parents.
This year I want to see Sara’s current workspace and meet her team; Amazon is growing so fast teams get moved around a lot and I’m quite sure she doesn’t work where she did two years ago. I want to visit the Spheres, a prominent new structure in Seattle’s downtown. And, we’re going to visit AmazonGo, the new retail store that you enter with an app [I’ve already downloaded], and in which you can take things off the shelf and then check out without ever needing human intervention. Somehow, the app knows when you put something in your cart and adds it to what you owe. The app also knows if you put the item back and deducts the amount automatically. When you have your purchases together, you simply pick them up and go and when you cross the threshold the order gets billed to your credit card on file. No checkout line. No registers. No swiping or tapping or inserting a credit card. I have no idea how this works, other than that it’s some sort of wireless interchange between the app and the items I pick. I find it quite remarkable.
Living near the Amazon mothership is an adventure. I find the company fascinating, and now it’s my go-to for most things other than groceries. I still elect to go to the grocery store rather than use Amazon Fresh, but as I age, I’m glad to have the option. There are critiques leveled at Amazon for various things, like the low wages in the fulfillment centers, but I admire the company greatly for its extraordinary customer service, and for what it’s done to drive the economy of Seattle.
My late husband Jerry was still alive in Amazon’s early days, and Jerry kept saying the stock couldn’t keep going up because all they were doing was finding a more efficient way to send out books. Hah. We didn’t buy the stock back then, and if we had, I’d be a gazillionaire. 🙂