Where to begin, Jeff Bezos? Let's start with my love affair with you and, more importantly, your company, Amazon.
You gave me something few others could: unparalleled happiness and instant gratification. You made my life free of want. And all I had to do was click a few buttons.
Sometimes I wasn't sure what I wanted, but if I searched random desires like "waterproof sandals" or "vintage music boxes," the product would pop up instantly, and in the next minute it would be mine. Sometimes I didn't even know what I wanted, and you were kind enough to "offer suggestions" based on my previous purchases. You knew me … you knew what would tantalize me, what would feed my desires.
That is why it is so hard for me to write this letter and break up with you.
You see, not too far into our relationship, I started to hear things. Like how you treat your employees as if they were robots. Or the ruthless things you do to edge out online competitors. I chose to ignore those ugly stories, like quickly changing the TV channel when an abused, caged animal appears in one of those endless ads. You see, I was not ready to give up on your giving me everything I could possibly want at the touch of a keypad.
Then I heard about your yacht. I mean, really? A 417-foot superyacht that's so massive it has its own "support yacht" with a helipad? For $500 million? It was almost enough to make me cancel my order for that perfect living room lamp. Almost.
Then the rumors started about how you're not paying your fair share of taxes. Again, really? This just does not fit with my code of ethics, I thought, as I ordered yet another pair of pants which I can try on at home and return for free.
Finally, I was forced to watch you take your vanity trip to space. At a cost of millions, maybe billions, you and your brother and a couple of other lucky travelers took a 10-minute flight to space and experienced a few minutes of weightlessness. I have to wonder if that money might have been better spent here on Earth, like, I don't know, ending poverty, eradicating disease, educating our youth?
That was the last straw. I could no longer deny that you are mean, rotten, narcissistic. And don't think that by giving $200 million to the Smithsonian, I will forgive you. We all know that's just chump change to you. It's not enough.
I watched you get off that rocket with that ridiculous grin and even more ridiculous hat pulled down over your ears like some little cowboy. Sweetheart, please tell me you don't sell that Stetson on Amazon. Then just to rub salt into the wound you declare, "I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this."
We sure did.
So, I am breaking up with you. At least, I am trying. I am going to other sites to feed my addiction. I must admit these websites do not know me nearly as well as you. After an hour of searching for the perfect portable coffee pot, something you would have found for me in a minute, I gave up. Maybe I didn't really need it so much.
Really, darling, the thing I abhor the most about you is your greed, along with your need for instant gratification. You wanted to be a cowboy in space for 10 minutes, and that is what you got.
And here was the most painful realization: it was greed — my greed — and my need for instant gratification that kept us together all these years. I wanted more stuff. I wanted stuff I didn't even know I wanted, and I wanted that stuff now! And that greed made me a person with a lot of stuff, and it made you a very rich man who gets to spend 10 minutes in space.
So, it is goodbye. I'll make it work without you, I really will. It will be difficult to find that perfect bamboo pillow on someone else's site. But I'll be able to lay my head on that pillow at night, knowing my greed did not support your insatiable greed, and get a good night's sleep.
Martha Wegner lives in St. Paul.