Bezos Admits Amazon Employees and Customers Paid for His Space Joyride
Jeff Bezos, the man who Forbes clocks at a net worth of $205 billion, just thanked Amazon customers and employees for footing his galactic joyride bill.
He rocketed off into space Tuesday from the Blue Origin aerospace facility, which he also owns, in West Texas. The New Shepard rocket — carrying Bezos, his brother, an 18-year-old physics student and aviator Wally Funk — launched its first crewed mission and made it 66.5 miles and back in the 10-minute flight. While he did beat out his arch nemesis Richard Branson in orbital distance, he lagged behind the Virgin mogul by nine days.
At a later press conference, Bezos said:
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this. … So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
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To pad resentful feels, he also unveiled a new $100 million philanthropic “Courage and Civility Award.” The first two awardees were CNN’s Van Jones — yeah, that guy — and the much cooler Chef José Andrés, who really does deserve the bump for noble work he does to feed people in disaster areas. Some cash thrown at good causes is never a bad thing, but it’s not like the charity is putting Bezos out too far.
Also during the press conference, he bragged that Blue Origin is nearing $100 million in private sales made to other uber rich people who want to earn their space wings on the commercial rocket venture. It’s been estimated the jaunt costs about $2.54 million per flight minute. Prior to Tuesday’s launch, Bezos auctioned off a seat for $28 million. So, there’s that.
The Amazon founder stepped down as CEO to take on a spot as executive chairman on July 5, but that self-demotion only came after the company raked in $386 billion in revenue in 2020 generated off the millions of people forced to order basic life supplies during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Amazon added hundreds of thousands of new workers to handle the pandemic load, and while the company raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018 and touted a plan to give out .50-$3 raises, the reality is that most of its 1.3 million employees are considered low-wage workers, which Bloomberg points out contributes to an overall drag on the industry and workforce earning power in general.
A Government Accountability Office report focused on Feb. 2020 found that more than half of SNAP (or food stamp) recipients were full-time, low-wage workers — Amazon is a breeding ground for that unfortunate scenario.
If work life was as great as Amazon claims it is for its employees, they probably wouldn’t experience a 150 percent annual turnover rate, which is nearly double the industry standard, and that was prior to the pandemic. ‘Logistics’ and warehouse employees describe the environment as stressful, monitored every moment and basically robotic with little human management contact.
While Amazon is not alone in its employment vulgarities, it is the world’s largest online retailer, so its practices and worker treatment have immeasurable global impact. And while its workforce struggles to meet basic life needs, Bezos thanks them for their sacrifices to fund his “best day ever” joyride.
You can’t make up that level of audacity.