My fellow Americans, we live in a divided time. Yet, there are moments when we can all come together as one.
Most of us, anyway.
It’s controversial. Some New Yorkers are rejoicing. These are the ones who thought the whole thing was just a lopsided, secretive sweetheart deal, orchestrated by a massive company owned by the world’s richest man are rejoicing.
Other think it’s New York’s loss for not getting the 25,000 promised jobs, and are swearing the city’s people will rue the day it didn’t welcome Amazon with open arms.
But, there’s one thing we can agree on. And it has to do with schadenfreude.
Defined as “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune,” in this case, it’s about the one group we can be almost sure, without a doubt, will be big losers as a result of Amazon’s Hamlet routine.
At least two Amazon employees made these kinds of purchases according to the Wall Street Journal, although a company spokesperson later said it did not have evidence the employees had advance knowledge of the location selection.
Regardless, this kind of alleged “real estate insider trading”– perfectly legal, it turns out, even if it seems very selfish, sketchy and exploitative–became one of the symbols of the deal.
Of course, it’s also clear that in the days after the deal, there was a mad rush to snap up condos in a section of the city that is up-and-coming, but that many Americans outside the local area had probably never heard of just days before.
“This is like a gift from the gods for the Long Island City condo market,” a real estate agent told the Journal at the time.
Some buyers were reportedly Amazonians who thought they’d be relocating. Others were pure speculators — people who might have had nothing to do with Amazon personally, but who hoped to swoop in and quickly make big profits.
It would all have been at the expense, it has to be said, of fairly ordinary, working people who would have then bought the condos from them at inflated prices, or rented them.
Now the speculators likely to be left holding the bag, having bought condos at what might well have turned out to be the peak of the market.
And those Amazon employees who bought with the intent of moving, only to hear their company say in so many words, “Fugetaboutit,” can thank the speculators and alleged insider traders among their fellow employees for helping to kill the deal.
The rest of us on the outside? We can’t help but laugh at the people who thought they could outsmart everyone else, and lost.
And I mean, literally laugh.
I pointed this out to a group of friends who all live just outside New York City on Thursday, some of whom were actually disappointed that Amazon wasn’t coming.
Their reaction: Real, loud, “HA HA HA HA HA!!!!” kind of laughter.
The sort of thing that gets other people around you looking over and smiling, wondering what’s so funny.
Aw, man. It’s funny. But it also gets you thinking.
Nashville apparently thinks it’s going to be next in line to get the other half of HQ2, since it got the consolation prize of 5,000 jobs in the last announcement.
So here’s a question: Earlier this week, did Tennessee real estate agents get a sudden influx of clients from Seattle?