Amazon employee Andrea Neri stacks boxes in the back of a delivery truck on the ship dock at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
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Amazon employee Andrea Neri stacks boxes in the back of a delivery truck on the ship dock at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It's a wonderful Amazon life. Right?

Two decades ago, people stood in long lines at real, physical stores in order to stock the space underneath the evergreen tree twinkling in their living room.

At that time, Amazon was a bookseller with ambitions to sell much more. Critics scoffed, calling Amazon founder Jeff Bezos a middleman who would be outflanked by traditional retailers. They threw out names like "Amazon dot bomb" or "Amazon dot con."

But in 1999 the company took a leap into new territory by challenging the Goliath of Christmas shopping: Toys R Us.

On this episode of Prime(d), we look at the time when Amazon took a big gamble that almost didn't pay off and how that risk taking is still playing out today.

Listen by clicking the play button above, or subscribe to Prime(d) on your favorite podcast app.

Our theme song is by Raymond Scott. You also heard "Heartline" by Pezzner, a Seattle artist, and a minor key cover of the Toys "R" Us theme song by Chase Holfelder.

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