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But the issue of Jeff Bezos’s balls is far from settled. “Have you seen the Bezos balls?” asked Dave Christie, a jewellery maker at a waterfront market who makes no secret of his personal dislike for the man who founded and still runs Amazon. “No one wanted them. They’ve disfigured downtown. Giant balls say everything about the man. Bezos is holding Seattle hostage.”
It’s not strictly true to say everyone is against the three huge plant-forested glass spheres at what Amazon calls its “campus” in the heart of the city. The Bezos balls, as the conservatories are popularly known, are modelled on the greenhouses at London’s Kew Gardens, feature walkways above fig trees, ferns and rhododendrons, and provide hot-desking for Amazon workers looking for a break from the neighbouring office tower.
“They are absolutely gorgeous. There was nothing in that area 10 years ago,” said Jen Reed, selling jerky from another market stall. “I don’t hate Amazon the way that a lot of people hate them. Seattle has changed a lot. My rent’s gone from $500 to $1,000, but outside of that Amazon have been beneficial. It’s give and take, and anyway we invited them here.”
But even those sympathetic to the biggest retailer in the U.S. are questioning whether there has been more take than give. Amazon has long been accused of stretching the city’s transit and education systems, and its highly paid workers have driven up prices of goods and housing.
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