Even more alarming was the bathroom culture. I can only speak to the men's room, most of which each had two urinals and two stalls. I come from a background where a bathroom is a place where you do a certain kind of business, in silence, and you leave. At Amazon, the men's room is an extension of the office. People chitchat about work in the bathroom, as if it is just another meeting room where you can piss everywhere.
The most horrifying moment of my employment at Amazon was the time I was using the toilet and a coworker began talking from the stall next to me. He asked me why I had not responded to his very pressing email. I closed my eyes and pretended this wasn't happening. What email could be so important that it could not wait five minutes for me to use the bathroom? He began tapping on the wall between our stalls, asking why I wouldn't respond, as if inter-stall conversation should be a totally normal, not disgusting means of communication.
He became more specific about what he needed -- referencing a project I'd never heard of, nor would I ever have involvement in -- and I realized he had misidentified me from my shoes. (Many brown dress shoes look alike, apparently.) We both exited our stalls around the same time, and he realized his mistake. He didn't apologize, only explained that he thought I was someone else. As we washed our hands, he just laughed, and I vowed I would never use the stalls on that floor again.
"I saw so many drag shows as a kid. They're like the only thing you can get in to in Vegas when you're under 21. The performers were always really confused by a front row table full of nine-year-old girls."