The Amazon Application

Recently, Amazon announced that it would be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for a second headquarters campus in North America, equal in size to its eight million square foot, 50,000 employee Seattle footprint.

Much attention was paid to the executive order signed by Mayor of Seattle For A Day Bruce Harrell, instructing city staffers to explore the feasibility of bidding for the second HQ. Dozens of other US and Canadian cities have also expressed interest.

I wrote about this in the column published today in the South Seattle Emerald. While other local media attention focused on lessons that Seattle may, or may not, have learned from its Amazon experience, Amazon has also learned from its Seattle experience.

While researching that column, I happened to obtain from a top-secret source this copy of the never-before-published – because it’s fictitious and I made it up – Amazon application for cities interested in luring the online retail giant. Here it is.


So you want to join the Amazon family? Awesome! Just answer these 30 simple questions.

Part I: Personal

1. Name of city or equivalent jurisdiction:

2. Population of city or equivalent jurisdiction:

2a: Population of metropolitan area:

3. Name and title of city or equivalent jurisdiction’s chief elected official:

3a. Name of that official’s two eldest children:

4. List two Fortune 500 companies we may contact as references.

5. In ten words or less, why do you want Amazon to locate in your town? (One of those words must be “jobs.”)

6. Use the word “desperate” in a sentence.

7. What is your annual budget (expenditures)?

Enclose a cashier’s check in this amount for your non-refundable application fee, payable to “, Inc.”

8. What is your annual budget (income)?

8a. If Amazon selects your location, what is your expected annual budget (income) in five years?

(Your answer must be equal to your answer for #8.)

Part II: Demographics

9. Percentage of population in #2a with graduate degree education:

9a: Current minimum wage (if any):

9b. Percentage of population with graduate degree education presently working for minimum wage or lower pay:

9c. Percentage of 2016 voters who supported Donald Trump:

(If Canadian, relax. You just scored a big advantage.)

10. Percentage of population which owns one or more firearms:

11. Median age of population:

12. Median household size:

13. Median household income:

14. Median household debt:

15. Number of icky homeless people:

Part III: Civic Amenities:

16. List all major newspapers and television stations in your market:

16a. Are they for sale?

17. Name of closest major airport:

17a. What airline uses this airport as a hub?

17b. Is it for sale?

No, stupid, we mean the airport.

18. Name all major local research universities:

18a, Are they for sale?

They are now.

19. Amount of office space in central business district:

Don’t bother checking. It’s for sale.

20. Number of residential units in metropolitan area:

We just bought them.

21. What is your annual budget for:

21a. Public transportation?

21b. Parks?

21c. Public schools?

21d. All social services (combined)?

21e. All corporate welfare benefiting companies other than Amazon?

Add your answers to #21 a-e. Divide that number by the combined total of your answers for #21 a-e. This will be your future annual discretionary budget, in U.S. dollars.

Part IV: Legal

22. What is the youngest age at which a local resident can legally work?

23. Has your jurisdiction outlawed slavery?

24. How about indentured servitude?

25. Wage theft?

26. Please provide a comprehensive list of your jurisdiction’s environmental and workplace safety laws and regulations:

Above space must be left blank.

27. Name of highest ranking local prosecuting attorney?

27a. Is he or she for sale?

Part V: Loyalty

28. Excluding your answer to #7, how much is your jurisdiction willing to pay Amazon annually in perpetuity if we select you?

29. Excluding your answer to #3a, how much are you, personally, willing to pay Amazon if we select you?

30. Do you subscribe to Amazon Prime?

Please return your application and application fee in the enclosed envelope. Remember to put first class postage on the envelope. You think we’re paying for that shit?

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