Another Wonderful Trip to Seattle

Eldon and I have just gotten home from a short trip to visit the kids in Seattle. The purpose of the trip was to participate in the very first Bring Your Parents to Work Day at Amazon. When Will mentioned the event, I thought it was a hilarious idea. I had visions of all the employees dragging around old white-headed geezers with their canes, wheelchairs, and walkers. I also could not imagine many parents being able to attend as these Amazon employees are from all over the world. Of course none of us would understand one thing about what our kids actually do at work, but for weeks I was really looking forward to the fun of the experience.

After getting to the Seattle airport, we took the Link Rail line to Westlake station and Will met us there. We took the bus to the house. Beauty was happy to see Eldon, her favorite guy.


They spent lots of time sitting outside and snuggling on the couch. Will and Joni cooked up biscuits and gravy and peas for supper. I don’t do well on biscuits but Will kept layering butter into the dough and ended up with big, flaky biscuits. And I think the key to the gravy is getting the right kind of spiced sausage in it. It was delicious! We played a game of cards and went to bed.

We had a nice breakfast before heading off to the Amazon Day. We got off the bus down by the building Will works in, but before we even started the Parents’ Day activities, we saw this.

Banana Stand

I did not know that Amazon has a “Banana a Day” program; every day for everyone walking by…….not just employees. Amazon stocks this cart with bananas and everyone walks by, grabs a banana, starts eating it or saves it for their lunch. What a fun idea.

Then it was time to get the celebration started. We registered, got badges, lunch tickets, and maps/agendas for the day.


All the kids registering people were about 20 years old. We were introduced to another Amazon program –the “Take an Umbrella” Program. The weather was kind of threatening rain so we took an umbrella at the registration table and we could just leave it at any Amazon building we wanted to. They have these umbrellas for employees’ use in most of the Amazon buildings. Good idea especially in Seattle! I wonder if Amazon has some guy employed to just go around collecting and counting umbrellas at the end of each day.


And we were off to start the tour!

Amazon Headquarters has about 30 buildings in the downtown area of Seattle. They call it the Amazon Campus. Each building has a name that reflects a part of Amazon’s history. Will works in the Obidos building which is named for Amazon’s original page rendering technology and appeared in many of its early URLs………………….whatever that means. And of course Obidos is also a town in Brazil located at the narrowest and swiftest part of the “Amazon” River. This building is kind of new and they have been in it only about a year.


We were barely in the building before a problem developed. Now I have really tried to keep up with technology even learning to text pretty well this summer. But it appears that those of us who thought we knew how to operate an elevator using the Up or Down buttons are seriously out of date! We are old school and behind the times! Here’s how an elevator works now-a-days.

There is a keypad on the wall by the 6-8 elevators. You push the number of the floor that you want to go to. An elevator door opens and I guess you are suppose to know that that is your elevator or, in my case, just follow the person who knows what he is doing. Mind you. We had about 5 people pushing the keypad one right after the other, several elevator doors opening and closing at once, and yet people seemed to know which elevator to get into. Once in the elevator, you push no further buttons. Nobody says, “Would you push #4 for me?” The elevator just knows it is supposed to stop at your floor……..and the other people’s floors…………and it doesn’t stop at any other floors. I will agree that it saves time having to push only one button instead of two but shouldn’t there be printed instructions by the key pad? Shouldn’t there be like an old fashion elevator guy there to rescue people like me who end up going up and down and in and out of elevators for an hour?

Well, we did efficiently make it right up to Will’s floor. We looked around the kitchen and baloney lunch areas. First we met a guy named Kevin who was at Amazon when Will started there. I don’t know why, but Kevin has never truly believed that Will has a wife. Maybe he just can’t imagine anyone putting up with Will for very long? At least Kevin saw for himself that Will does indeed have regular parents………………although he did make a remark about Will having visited a “Rent Parents for a Day” shop and we might just be paid actors. Anyway, Kevin was a real nice kid, very happy and bubbly.

Next we met Will’s boss, Jason. Will really likes this guy and I can see why. Although Jason grew up in Oregon, he reminded me of a MN farm kid –very friendly, good sense of humor, polite and well mannered. We met the intern from California and another little gal that brings her big beautiful dog to work. We met two more guys and, at first glance, these two looked like the stereotype computer guys. Very quiet and the “just give me my computer and I’ll be happy” kind of people. But they both made it a special point to get up from their desks, walk over and greet us. They were both willing to stand there and chat a bit. Very nice young men. We enjoyed meeting the people Will works with.

We saw the video games playing corner and ping pong room. We followed the route (backwards) that Will takes into the building each morning. That meant getting back down to the main floor, going outside and down a door, into the parking garage, and over to the bike room. They have lockers down there too that bikers can use to change clothes, store helmets, etc.

What struck me about Will’s workplace is that it was so calm and quiet. One would think that with the massive amount of Amazon business going on all over the world, the workplace would be noisy, lots of scurrying about, hustle and bustle. From what I saw on the street and in Will’s workplace, another thing was dawning on me. These employees are really, really young. Maybe that observation comes from me being so old but I don’t think so. I think they ARE just young. Will said he knows of one or two people at his level who have gray hair, but that’s it. It’s odd to think that we have turned the mammoth work of millions of ordered products over to a bunch of really young people who appear to be really relaxed and calm about the whole thing. How does Amazon even make that work?

We headed off to another building for more Bring Your Parents to Work Day activities.

Continue on to part 2

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