Seattle, WA –

An embarrassed and disheveled Jeff Bezos appeared before the press this morning in preparation for a statement that had the room in shock. “Oh God,” he mumbled, looking into the cameras and lights. “Where do I begin?” There were visible bags under his eyes and cigarette ash on his jacket.  

The founder of Amazon and richest man in the world, usually incredibly calculated and composed, had recently announced his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos after 25 years of marriage. But it appeared that his bad news was only just beginning. “It’s been a hard time, and I admit I’ve started to use online shopping as an outlet for my marital stress. Everyone loves Etsy, right? The deals you can find are amazing. And some of the products are so cute! Nothing like you can find in Ross or Marshalls. Worst of all, it’s available on my phone all the time. I can get the thrill anytime I want it. It’s a great escape.”  

There was a long pause. A reporter for the Financial Times finally broke the silence: “Mr. Bezos, many of your customers love online shopping. What are you trying to tell us?”  

“It’s all gone.” 

“What’s all gone?”  

“All the money. It’s all gone. All 137 billion goddamn dollars up in smoke. Not just the $1 billion in the bank; I traded in every freaking asset of mine just so I could feel chic for a night. I don’t know how it happened. First I’m just trying to distract myself. So I’m looking at cute Midcentury coffee tables on Etsy, just out of curiosity. Then I’m imagining how well one of them would go in my ninth sitting room. But then I realize I would have to change the rug for it to really match. So I start looking at rugs from France. I find one that I really want, but it’s a different size and shape from my current one, so I realize that I’ll have to have the room remodeled. So I start looking at shelves, couches, and liquor cabinets that have more appropriate dimensions. And the more I click, the more I want to click. I start clicking on things before I even know I’m clicking on them, saving items for later, even though I know I’ll probably never buy them. I started to lose track of time. Lose track of myself. I’d even managed to put the divorce out of my mind. I don’t even know what happened after that. I just know that I woke up 18 hours later with an order history that included over 20 coffee tables, 850 vintage dining sets, and 4,000 handmade birdhouses. It was then that I began to think I may have a problem.”

The room looked on in amazement, like they were witnessing the greatest and worst event in history. One journalist asked, “What does this mean for Amazon?”  

Mr. Bezos stared into space for 15 seconds before simply saying, “The algorithms.”  

“The algorithms, sir?”  

“They’re designed to do this. They prey on people with addictive personalities. They turned me into the monster you see before you.” 

The room once again fell into stunned silence, but now with a sense of empathy for the broken man. One reporter offered, “Sir, you may be unwell, but you are not a monster.”  

“One year ago, that statement may have been true,” replied the labor-crushing multi-billionaire, “but it’s not true now. I need help. MacKenzie never looked at me the same after my appearance on South Park, but this… What am I going to tell her? What am I going to tell our lawyers? Maybe she can keep the birdhouses and cross-stitches.”  

While the future of Bezos’ Amazon empire looks unclear, the online retail industry remains in good shape. Just this morning, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman reportedly made moves to buy out Safeway, enter marriage counseling, and enroll in Debtor’s Anonymous.

By William Boffa

Image by Seattle City Council / CC by 2.0

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