1. Business

Dear Amazon, from Tampa Bay: Why don't you love us?

Amazon has chosen its second headquarters. Tampa wasn’t the winner. (Associated Press)
Amazon has chosen its second headquarters. Tampa wasn’t the winner. (Associated Press)
Published Nov. 14, 2018

Dear Amazon,

Our heart is broken.

You finally selected your second headquarters. At least sort of. You couldn't make up your mind so you picked two — New York City and Washington, D.C.

How bold of you. Why not add Los Angeles and Chicago to fill out the Mount Rushmore of American cities. No plucky underdogs in that bunch.

Apologies. We're still a little bitter. But really it's like the homecoming queen taking the two best-looking guys to prom. Do personality and good weather count for nothing?

Either way, it wasn't us. We knew it already, having not even made your list of finalists. Still, it stings. Was it our lack of transit or too many tattoos? Do tell.

MORE BUSINESS: Millennials willing to wait for Florida's housing market to cool.

Or maybe don't. Not sure we're ready for the brutal truth. We're vulnerable and liable to lash out or fall for the next company that smiles our way. Bob's One-Man Pest Control is looking like Brad Pitt in Troy.

We need a few more beers, a good venting and some additional time to stick needles in our Jeff Bezos voodoo doll (which of course we could only buy on Amazon).

We can rationalize Washington, D.C. — Arlington, Va., for you picky types. Bezos owns the Washington Post and he's renovating a home in the area. The city can be a real gem, despite the politicians and lobbyists. And nearly 50 percent of the population holds a bachelor's degree or higher, attractive to a company like yours. Hard for us to compete. We're under 30 percent.

What hurts more is that New York City doesn't even sound like it wants you. They're complaining about adding all those workers to an already crowded city. Plus, how will you stand out in a metropolis that is the center of finance, advertising, media and the arts?

We're not really the center of anything, unless pedestrian deaths and lightning storms count. You'd be it. We'd be your No. 1 fan. If that sounds a bit creepy, a little like Kathy Bates in Misery, we promise to leave the sledgehammer in the closet and your ankles alone. Really, our violent crime rate isn't that bad.

Level with us. We wooed you with low taxes and low wages. Did it just seem cheap? Like putting lip gloss on crumbling roads and environmental neglect? We also know our contempt for light rail is hardly flattering to a suitor like you. And don't get us started on ferries, even if they work well in your hometown of Seattle.

But wait. We just bumped up the sales tax to raise billions of dollars for transportation projects. And we added a whopping 47 cents per student for spending on K-12 education, raising our ranking to … well ... we're still ahead of Mississippi.

Are we sounding desperate? What a turn-off. We need to work on our hard-to-get routine, but we don't get that many looks from the world's largest companies. We have only one Fortune 100 company and it started in Clearwater.

How about this: Our roads and sidewalks are straight out of an anarchist's dream. But what if we promise not to run over your millennial employees who love to walk and bike to work?

Nothing? Not feeling the love?

We get the message. It seems we're good enough for your warehouses but not your headquarters. That's the business equivalent of "Can we still be friends?" Given your retail dominance, we don't have much choice. But can we get free shipping for the holidays?


Jilted in Tampa

Contact Graham Brink at Follow @GrahamBrink.


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