So your city didn't get HQ2.

Join the club. It's a big club.

Because while they're rejoicing in Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia, (correction: some people are rejoicing; others are protesting) there are 235 cities around the country that Amazon took bids from, considered (at least superficially), and then flat-out rejected.

Most of them didn't even get an "it's not you, it's us" message from the company, according to reports. They found out for sure the same time that everyone else found out.

But now, an advertising agency wants to fix that. So it created an Alexa app (or "skill") that will make Alexa apologize--at least to the 17 finalist cities that didn't get picked.

"After all the effort local governments put into their proposals and all the months we've waited for an answer, it would ease the pain if Amazon said, 'I'm sorry,'" Sarah Weigl, creative director at McGarrah Jessee (based in finalist city Austin), told Adweek. "We figured the only way to get that apology was to hack Amazon's own technology."

The text of the apologies is kind of funny. The closest HQ2 finalist city to me is Newark, so I checked that one out first. Alexa confuses the city with being part of New York for the first half of the apology, which isn't exactly a stretch.

For Nashville, Amazon proposes that the city write a country song about how Amazon broke its heart (although Nashville did get the consolation prize of a 5,000-job "operation center of excellence").

For Dallas, the entire apology simply names all the dozens of cities and towns that make up the DFW area, while for Austin it literally does the "it's not you, it's us" thing, while managing to diss the city's infrastructure, incentives, and "Keep Austin Weird" slogan.

The only downside is the apparently legally required disclaimer at the end of each apology stating that it's not really from Amazon.

But maybe Amazon should just embrace this. And also, frankly, it would be cool to see 235 apologies for all the cities that applied (not just the finalists). Because a lot of communities really did put a lot of effort into their bids, only to be unceremoniously rejected.

You can check them out here, or by enabling the "McGarrah Jessee 'Please Apologize' skill."

Published on: Nov 14, 2018
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