Ex-Amazon employees are commiserating about their experiences at the “frugal” tech giant — with one describing how workers were forced to split bagels at office gatherings due to budget limitations.
On an internal email thread among more than two dozen former Amazon employees who have since left to work at Google, titled “worked_at_amazon,” one posted screenshots obtained by Insider that described an incident in which two Amazon employees were told to split a bagel at a staff meeting. The workers were purportedly told managers didn’t have the budget to order enough bagels for everyone.
Bagels weren’t the only breakfast item in short supply at Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, is currently the world’s fourth-richest person, with a net worth of $146 billion, according to Forbes. Two other workers grumbled in the thread that boxes of cereal were removed from Amazon’s office kitchens because they “didn’t represent a frugal mindset,” according to Insider’s report.
“Eventually, we got told, ‘Spending a couple hundred bucks on cereal isn’t frugal. You are free to solicit donations to try and keep it running,’” one ex-Amazon staffer wrote in the thread, according to Insider.
The complaints about office snacks were reportedly part of a broader discussion about “frupidity” at Amazon — a combination of “frugality” and “stupidity.” The workers allege that Amazon’s emphasis on frugality in day-to-day operations is overdone.
Ex-Amazon staffers also described difficulty obtaining tech gear and office supplies — with one worker complaining that product managers would have to push back in order to receive an Apple MacBook instead of the Windows laptops provided by default.
“I found it ridiculous because there’s no joy in Windows laptops and when there’s no joy, no creativity happens and when there’s no creativity, what’s a PM’s worth?” the staffer wrote.
Others said they were unable to secure more than a single computer monitor or laptop charger without resorting to creative means of acquiring them, such as befriending employees responsible for office supplies.
Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser downplayed the ex-employees’ complaints in a statement to The Post.
“Our Leadership Principles describe how Amazon does business, how leaders lead, and how we keep the customer at the center of our decisions. One of our Leadership Principles is ‘frugality,’” Glasser said in the statement.
“These anecdotes do not reflect its intention of encouraging employees to be mindful of how they use company resources and are contrary to our mission of being Earth’s most customer-centric company, safest place to work, and best employer,” Glasser added.
The Post has reached out to Google for comment on the email thread.
Insider said the email thread is followed by nearly 2,400 people at Google.
Amazon, Google and other tech giants are in constant competition for top talent, though hiring in the sector has slowed in recent months due to the ongoing economic slump.
As The Post reported, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently hinted layoffs were possible while stating he wanted the company’s workers to be more productive.
Amazon generated $469.8 billion in revenue during fiscal 2021, according to company filings. The company’s current market cap is $1.25 trillion.