I’d rather not quote the entire thing. For one thing, it gets painful to read after a while. After saying that “the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped” — you would think that, if that were the case, it would have taken Amazon less than 10 years to figure it out — the letter goes on, predictably, to talk about all of the other wonderful projects that Amazon will pursue. In other words: yes, we’re closing down this charitable program, but look at all the other really wonderful things we’re doing to help the community!
Here is my favorite line: “once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.” In other words, I guess Amazon expects organizations like Doctors Without Borders to create lists of medical supplies that Amazon customers can purchase for them.
I shouldn’t get too snarky about this. After all, Amazon didn’t have to create the AmazonSmile program in the first place. There are things one could say about Amazon that aren’t complimentary, but the existence of AmazonSmile isn’t one of them. It’s good that it was around for those 10 years.
Still, sometimes I wish that the PR departments of these corporations could bring themselves to be a little more honest about these things. Instead of a long screed about how ineffective a 10-year-old charitable program was and how the company is still going to be a good citizen and help deserving people, I think Amazon could have simply sent out a note saying:
Times are hard. Manufacturing costs are up, prices are skyrocketing, our customers are balking at the increased cost of Amazon Prime, we’re facing a variety of lawsuits, and lawyers are expensive. As a result, even though our sales are up 15 percent year over year, our shareholders are getting nervous. So we’re looking for ways to cut corners — such as laying off about 18,000 of our employees and dropping our charitable AmazonSmile program so that we can keep every penny of what you spend on our site.
Sorry about that.
All our best,