Jeff Bezos, Please Check Your Inbox

I'm going to send Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos an email...just because I can.

Bezos, no doubt, is reading plenty of emails right now after being lambasted in a New York Times article fueled by horror stories from current and former employees depicting a work environment that makes the New York Jets locker room sound like Disney World. No, Bezos has never broken a coworker's jaw with a single punch but, the article alleges, he presides over a Survivor-like culture where 2 a.m. emails and crying at one's desk are commonplace, and employees scheme with one another to sabotage unpopular coworkers.

Faster than you can say, "next day shipping," Bezos fired back, saying he was unaware such a "soulless, dystopian workplace" existed and that anybody feeling unfulfilled should contact him directly. He even included his email address: jeff@amazon.com

Okay, I'd wager everything I've ever bought on Amazon -- from the first generation Kindle to the Donny and Marie Osmond Christmas DVD (don't ask) -- that the email address Bezos provided is not his primary account, despite numerous media reports claiming he checks it frequently. It's far too simple; sort of like assuming President Obama will respond to anyone who pounds out an email to barack@theovaloffice.gov. (NOTE: As an experiment, I recently wrote to that account and have yet to receive an "unknown user" response so maybe it does belong to our Commander in Chief. Or maybe the Secret Service is flagging my IP address as I finish this column.)

I personally have four email accounts: One that I only reveal to clients, editors and legitimate business prospects; a Gmail account for close friends and family; Yahoo Mail for online shopping and a Hotmail account whenever I opt in to a mailing list, knowing full well that clicking "subscribe" will multiply my spam intake fivefold.

Yet here is a billionaire businessman, with enemies ranging from competitors to senior citizens incensed that their steeply discounted vitamin pill boxes still haven't arrived, offering a path to contact him directly. Normally only HR departments and professional hackers possess that kind of information.

So I guess it's time for me to send a few questions and suggestions Bezos' way. Maybe it will improve his reputation and force the New York Times to eat its words. I'll send them from my Gmail account proving my intentions to be friends with Bezos. Jeff, you may reply directly or use my Yahoo account, which I know rests in your database. After all, I am an Amazon Prime member.

To: jeff@amazon.com

From: GregS

Subject: Nicknames for employees

Jeff,

Please stop referring to your workforce as "Amazonians." It sounds very zombie-like. Plus, identifying people by their employer alters their personalities. For proof, just talk to a "Microsoftie." Now there's a soulless bunch.
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To: jeff@amazon.com

From: GregS

Subject: Have confidence in your products!

Jeff,

I recently ordered a cellphone case from Amazon. Two days later, I received one of those "based on your recent purchases, here are more things you might like" emails. Guess what you recommended? Another phone case! Does the one I bought suck that badly?
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To: jeff@amazon.com

From: GregS

Subject: Your shopping habits.

Jeff,

Can you settle a bet? I say you haven't visited a mall in at least 20 years. My wife believes there are still certain items that should never be purchased online. Lingerie, for example. So, tell me, would you buy the Dreamgirl Women's Istanbul Fishnet Garter Dress and Stockings on Amazon ($15.09 plus free shipping!) without actually touching them first?
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To: jeff@amazon.com

From: GregS

Subject: Morning coffee

Jeff,

You, Bill Gates and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz all live in Seattle. Suppose you meet for coffee one morning. Who pays?
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To: jeff@amazon.com

From: You know who

Subject: My shopping habits

Jeff,

To ensure accuracy in this column, I had to click on the Dreamgirl Women's Istanbul Fishnet Garter Dress and Stockings. If you plan to flood my inbox with "similar recommendation" emails, please use my Hotmail account. My wife doesn't know the password.