I remember when I first heard that Amazon, of which Jeff Bezos is founder, chairman and CEO, paid $0.00 in federal taxes, I was upset, and when I found out the government actually owed Amazon $129 million in a tax refund, I was infuriated.
Following this, I heard more about Bezos’ (lack of) charitable giving, topped off with him being one of the top five richest Americans, and being the only one of those five who has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, which is a dedication to donating a substantial portion of your wealth to charities.
On a note aside from money, Bezos also owns Blue Origin, a space company that manufactures spacecrafts fueled by his dream of space travel and exploration. While this isn’t a new concept for rich men to fuel their childhood dreams of flying through space, Bezos’s plans particularly rubbed me the wrong way probably because these plans don’t include me, and probably not you unless you’re hanging out with the top 1%.
His dreams of space are ones with a million people (who can afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars, per person, it will cost to get there) working on spacecrafts in orbit while the remaining billions of people on Earth work to return it to a better state, one with more forests and less pollution (which is interesting given the amount of waste created by Amazon even just by the packaging used to ship items).
While this was frustrating, at first I just wrote it off as the rich being, well, rich. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I shouldn’t sit around and be angry and actually do something about it. In doing this, I decided I will no longer be supporting Amazon, Wholefoods and (eventually) all of the other businesses that Bezos owns.
When I told people this, there was a lot of responses like “Oh, well it’s just so hard not to buy something from Amazon,” and I don’t disagree. I am also not pushing this on other people by any means. But I think it’s important to take into account whom our money is benefitting (Bezos) and who it’s not (Amazon workers, the environment, etc.). And while I know it’s hard not to purchase from Amazon, I’m looking at it from the perspective of that if I just stop buying from the website, then I stop being part of this thing I dislike, and that is that.
I’m aware that while one person (me) not spending a hundred or so dollars a year on Amazon.com won’t, in hindsight, reduce Bezos’s $151.6 billion dollar net worth. But it does make me feel better to be a more conscious consumer.
While I can also recognize that there are plenty of other billionaires I should also look more into and stop supporting, I really think this is a great start to changing myself into a more responsible consumer. Maybe someday I won’t need to support anyone who has more money than they know what to do with; But until that day, I will just not be purchasing from Amazon, and I will feel that much better about myself.