Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is facing backlash after he advised Americans struggling with inflation to consider not making large purchases, like homes and cars, due to the looming potential for an economic downturn in the coming months.
During an interview with CNN Business, Mr Bezos advised Americans to stash away some money to avoid potential pain heading into 2023 if economic conditions worsen.
“Take some risk off the table. Just a little bit of risk reduction could make the difference," he said. "If you’re thinking about buying a large screen TV, maybe slow that down, keep that cash, see what happens." He also advised against buying new cars, appliances and homes.
Last month Mr Bezos suggested that Americans prepare to "batten down the hatches" ahead of the possible downturn, but his advice did not sit well with everyone.
Phoebe Wall Howard of The Detroit Free Press pointed out that the "auto industry, one of our nation’s key economic drivers, has struggled with supply chain hell for 3 years.’
"Jeff Bezos told CNN 11/15 people should hold off buying cars. Note: Amazon specialises in auto campaigns, which have included Ford, Toyota, VW, Nissan," she wrote.
The auto industry, one of our nation's key economic drivers, has struggled with supply chain hell for 3 years.
Jeff Bezos told CNN 11/15 people should hold off buying cars. Note: Amazon specializes in auto campaigns, which have included @Ford @Toyota @VW @Nissan @freep
— Phoebe Wall Howard (@phoebesaid) November 16, 2022
"Bezos urged people to put off expenditures for big-ticket items such as new cars, televisions and appliances."
TRANSLATION: "Bezos urged people to put off expenditures for items people don't buy on Amazon to save money for Amazon purchases."https://t.co/kmOnpMcvxh
— Mike Elgan (@MikeElgan) November 15, 2022
Mike Elgan, a tech journalist, pointed out that the items Mr Bezos recommended Americans hold off on buying — cars and homes, in particular — are some of the few products you can’t purchase on Amazon.
"Bezos urged people to put off expenditures for big-ticket items such as new cars, televisions, and appliances," he wrote. "TRANSLATION: ‘Bezos urged people to put off expenditures for items people don’t buy on Amazon to save money for Amazon purchases.’"
Mr Bezos gave his advice on the heels of a New York Times report claiming that Amazon plans to lay off approximately 10,000 employees, mostly from its Alexa, retail and human resources divisions, making it one of the largest mass terminations in the company’s history.
The advice also comes just a week before Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US, during which time shoppers will likely flood Amazon looking for holiday deals and bargain priced big-ticket purchases. He did not suggest Americans hold back on their Black Friday shopping.
Black Friday will be more than just a profitable day for Mr Bezos – he will also face the largest strike and protest in the company’s history. Amazon workers in 15 countries are planning coordinated strikes in Brazil, Mexico, the US, UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Poland, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Australia.
The striking workers are demanding better access to labour organising, better pay, improvided Covid-19 protections, a reduced carbon footprint for the company, and the shuttering of Amazon surveillance devices like Ring cameras.