First Time at Amazon Day 15 and Day 16

Disclaimer:  We  are not spokespersons or officially affiliated with Amazon in any way. This account is of our personal experience as seasonal employees in the Cambellsville, KY distribution center in 2017.  I in no way speak for the company or my co-workers, and am only recounting my personal experiences.  Also, any details I get wrong in this or any other post are due to a misunderstanding on my part and are not intentional.

Day 15

So today went pretty well.  I wore a pair of Lee’s Gold Toe socks and they seemed to really help.  Or my feet are just hardening up, either way I was grateful for it because I went the first three quarters without being in significant pain.  I was tired though, especially because I had lots of stairs the third and fourth sessions. Oh and I forgot  to mention we  got  free  Camperforce Tshirts as well, which was a nice  little  perk.  I should mention  though  that  we did have our first “counseling” session by our supervisor (which  involved a 5 minute chat in an aisle), because we both showed up on a report that we had put too many things in the amnesty bins.  Our supervisor is a very nice and earnest young man, and he was extremely respectful, but the conversation was interesting.  The bins have been overstuffed by the stowers in recent days, and many times when you open a drawer above you a “waterfall” of items falls out.  Seriously they were so jammed in that it was like a spring pushed off and socks, gloves and other small items rained down.

At this point we have two choices.  Shove the stuff back in the bin so the next person has the same thing, or take the items on the floor and put them in the amnesty bin.  In serious cases, Lee and I were both using the bin, in the hopes that the person who re-stocked them would put them in another bin.  Apparently though a report shows who was in that bin last so amnesty is not really amnesty after all.  That didn’t surprise me, but they really need to rename the bin if they are going to do reports and then talk to people about it when they use them.  Our poor supervisor wanted to believe that it was a misunderstanding on our part, but I was honest about the fact that it was intentional.  His solution was to shove the stuff back in the bin, and since I hate ending up on reports that will be how I handle it going forward, but really that’s not a great policy.  The internal customer of the stowers process is the pickers, but we have absolutely no way to provide feedback. At least using the amnesty bin got some folks attention and we were told that there would be additional training for some of the stowers, many of which are also new, so that’s a good thing. If I worked here full time though I would definitely have a problem with that long-term as there appears to me no checks in place for stowers just ramming things in there which costs us more time and ultimately impacts efficiency.

On a completely different note, I don’t know if I have mentioned this yet but there are absolutely no cell phones in the building. Some people put cell phones in their locker and check them on break but we don’t really want to mess with out lockers so leave them at home. They do have an emergency number, which I gave out to my parents, kids, and brother and sister, in case something happens during the ten hour shift, but we are largely disconnected from what is happening in the world while we are working.

On this particular day I came home and fell into bed without checking my phone and I missed an important message from a friend. That made me angry.  I understand that they sell electronics and for security reasons need to keep outside items to a minimum, but it’s tough being so disconnected.  We had the same thing happen at the beet harvest, by the way.  A close friend had a personal emergency and because of the schedule and physical demands of the job I was completely unaware of it. I’m not sure why this bothers me so much.  I remember living in a world where we weren’t connected to each other constantly, but the social mores have changed, and not getting back to people pretty quickly feels at best, thoughtless, and at worst, rude. And since very few people have a job where they aren’t connected you feel like you want to let every single person know your special circumstance.  I know I am probably worrying about this too much, but all I can say is it really bugs me and is definitely not a plus for this job.

Tracy: 20,088 (8.38 miles)  Somewhere along the way I lost my Fitbit so this wasn’t a complete day.  Luckily someone turned it in and they had it at security on my next shift

Items Picked:  846

Lee:  28,585 steps (12.63 miles)
Items Picked: 924

Interesting Item Picked:  My favorite item of the day was a Glenn from the Walking Dead action figure. I am not a big fan of action figures myself, but I loved the Glenn character and this action figure is one of the best I have ever seen.  It looks exactly like him and even has blood splatter all over it which gives it a truly realistic look.  So for those of you who are still mourning the loss of Glenn (uber fans you know who you are), an action figure might be just what you need to remember him.

(Roasted Turkey hat. Need I say more? There’s still time to get this, in time for Thanksgiving, if you order right away. I wish I had one! – Lee)


Days Off

Thankfully we had the next couple of days off, and the timing was great because we got a call on Thursday that our couch was in. You can read about how we ordered it here.  The only day we could pick it up was on Friday so the timing was absolutely perfect.  Unfortunately we had to drive 1-1/2 hours to a Dayton Freight in Bowling Green to pick it up, but the drive was pretty.  And we stopped along the way to get some McDonald’s and a McRib.  Lee loves the McRib, and he got pretty excited eating it as you can see.

Personally I don’t get it, but Lee loves them

When we arrived at Dayton freight they didn’t quite know what to do with us.  Ultimately they used a forklift and loaded the pallet into our truck, which had a giant cardboard box strapped to it.  Lee then ratchet strapped the pallet to the truck since it was too long for us to close the tailgate.  I was nervous driving back, but we had no issues and ultimately we arrived at the campground.  There was really nothing wrong with our original couch and we weren’t sure what to do with it, so we asked the owner of the campground if she would like it for her rec room.  Thankfully she was glad to take it, so we dissembled the love seat (to get it out the door) and place it outside.  Then Bill came over and helped us move the new couch into the RV, which was a little tough because it actually came in three pieces.

Lee was a little surprised by that and it didn’t come with any instructions, but he and Bill figured out how to fit it together.  Then as a temporary measure we placed it on our old stand and this is what it looked like. I was really happy with the lighter color and the back support is amazing.  It’s still too large for the space, of course, but when the middle section is down I can get some good airflow, which was a real problem with the old couch.  The cloth is “stiffer” than the ultra leather, which I knew going in, but it will be nice once it gets broken in a bit.  And I can actually lay down on my couch now, which is awesome, because before with the love seat that was too uncomfortable.

Couch with middle section up, with a temporary box from the old couch supporting the front.

Couch with Middle cup holder down and the storage drawer out

At this point Lee called it a night, and we went over to Kelly and Bill’s for dinner.  It was my turn to cook and I was originally going to make a pot roast when the news came in about the couch.  Knowing it would take several hours to get the couch set up and the fact that my pot roast is a two stage process, I was trying to figure out what else to cook when Kelly came to the rescue.  She sent me a text that dinner was covered and served us spiral ham, green beans, and hash brown casserole.  WOW!!  What an amazing meal, and so nice of her to take over when she saw I was having a complicated day.  I owe her two dinners now and am definitely making that pot roast as soon as the schedule allows!

The next morning Lee woke up and immediately started in on the couch.  Like the old one, we knew it would hang over some (this is the only way to fit a reclining couch in that space), so it needed to be screwed down into the slide.  Then he measured and after some discussion went to buy the materials for a new box to go underneath it.  We talked about having a platform that stuck out a little more for people to put their feet on, but ultimately decided we wouldn’t like how that worked in the small space.  Then we discussed how we were going to cover it and Lee had a great idea. If he left the front open, not only would we not need to match the carpet or couch for covering but I would have a place to store my shoes.  I loved, loved this idea since our current storage is in the bedroom and being too lazy to walk back there I often leave my shoes all over the place, which makes him crazy.

Pretty excited about this! Storage space trumps style every time.

From Left: Harry, Vicki, me, and Lee

After getting the couch mostly done (Lee still needs to secure the base), we watched Wind River, which was a really great movie and went to dinner at Colton Steakhouse with Harry and Vicki. We originally met them at an RV-Dream gathering in Quartzsite two years ago and just really liked them from our first meeting.  We’ve followed their travels over the last couple of years and were very excited to get to know them better in Kentucky. Vicki has maintained her corporate job the entire time they have been on the road, and despite being officially retired Harry has had a series of work kamping jobs.  His attitude is “she’s working, so I’m working” which I absolutely adore, and I was very interested in learning about how they managed their schedule. The first year that we were on the road I worked a corporate job and Lee went to school and did some freelance work, but we have never tried corporate with work kamping and that is absolutely a direction I would like to explore. So I pounded them with questions, poor Harry barely got to eat his dinner lol, and they were kind enough to answer them all.  There are some people you just immediately click with, and Harry and Vicki are definitely that for us, so we’re looking forward to getting to know them better in the future.  I promise I won’t ask so many questions next time!

Day 16

Feet felt pretty good again.  I am definitely thinking it is the long gold-toed socks so sticking with those for sure.  I’ve been wanting to talk about colors for a while, so today I am going to tackle that.  One of the best ways of finding an item quickly in a bin is to look for colors.  If there are multiple items with the same color (black is a pain), then you have to look at clothing type or brand name, but the simplest and easiest is often color.  Unfortunately, the names for colors that are used in these descriptions are wide and varied.  I consider myself an educated person and remember fondly my first 100 crayon box with the built-in sharpener, but many of these names make me stop and pause.  Which to me sort of defeats the whole purpose.  If they have selected a color name that you really have to think about maybe they should have gone with something simpler.  It certainly would make the picker’s job easier.  Keep in mind, that you are tired and in a hurry when your brain is trying to translate these colors and it’s not always easy. So let’s see how you would do.

These aren’t too hard:  Mint (light green); Olive (dark green); Plum (dark purple); Navy (dark blue); Ivory (off-white); Nude (pinkish-tan); Burgundy (dark red); Charcoal (dark grey); Grape (purple);  and Eggplant (deep purple).

These are a little tougher:  Teal (blue/green); Bamboo (light tan); Aqua (greenish blue); Wine (dark red); Coral (bright orange); Watermelon (orangish red); seafoam (light green); Lepoard (tan/brown/orange); Oatmeal (light brown); Champagne (light gold); Royal (bright blue); Pewter (dark gray); Indigo (dark blue); and Sage (green).

These ones really stumped me mainly because no one color immediately came to mind when I first read it:  Sierra (reddish brown); Orchid (pink); Raspberry (purple); Grenadine (orangish red); Lupine (light purple); Coral (bright orange); Egret (white); Cayenne (brownish red); Fuchsia (bright pink); Heather (light gray; Cinder (gray); Natural (off-white); and Punch (orangish-red).

And my personal favorites:  Melange (which is a combination of colors), Confetti (lots of bright colors) and Fairy tale (which was a bright, shiny Cinderella pink).

In all fairness I think the vendors are the ones that select the colors, but the more exotic ones are really a pain to figure out in the few seconds you have and in the case of many of the items marketed (versus manufactured because almost all of the items are made in foreign countries) by Chinese companies the descriptions make no sense.  Whether that is a language issue or a cultural one, I have no idea, but the important thing the is the lack of a good description slows the process down.

Tracy: 27,202 steps (11.34 miles)

Items Picked:  738

Lee:  31,812 steps (14.05 miles)
Items Picked: 866

Interesting Item Picked: One of the things I have been picking lately are vinyl records.  It’s kind of cool that people still buy vinyl and the neatest one I saw was The Rat Pack Live at the Sands. That’s not my pick though, because we don’t have a record player. What we do have is a tent and I saw this cool Duro lantern that you can disassemble easily and also use as a hanging light.  Seemed like it would work well for us. 

(You’ll be the best dressed guy at any holiday party this year in your Santa Tuxedo. Red “velvet” with white faux fir trim.  Seriously. Just look at this thing. It’s spectacular. I would swap out the lame necktie for a bow tie, though.- Lee)


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7 thoughts on “First Time at Amazon Day 15 and Day 16

  1. Very cool! I’m curious, I’ve read a bit about ordinary people being Amazon resellers….do you know if their inventory gets mixed in the bins with other things? Just kinda wondering, because it seems so AMAZON AMAZING that they have such a huge selection!

      • I can offer a little insight on this, Tracy. I read an article on this awhile back where resellers buy items on discount, clearance, etc., ship them to Amazon and sell them at retail through Amazon Marketplace. They can be new or used. The reseller has to jump through all the hoops to become an Approved Amazon Reseller, which I don’t remember being terribly hard to do. The reseller buys it, ships it to Amazon, they put it on the Amazon website and ship it out for you when it sells. You get a cut and they get a cut. Hardest part of doing this as a fulltime RVer is the space involved in storing products between buying them and shipping them to Amazon…but if it were something small, it would work. There’s also the risk of it not selling.

        When you are picking, does your scanner indicate an item as being ‘Marketplace’? If it does, that’s what is happening…those are third party sellers. When packing last year, it popped up on the screen that the item was Marketplace, and the box actually got plain brown tape, instead of the Amazon Prime tape. It happened automatically, as the tape dispenser wouldn’t let us use the incorrect tape. Kelly can probably weigh in on this. I imagine it is still the same.

  2. When I work conventions I’m on my feet for most of the day. Sometimes my ankles would swell up and my feet and legs were achey. Someone suggested Compression Stockings. I have a pr for long haul flights, so I dug them out. What a difference! They really provide great support ; no more swollen ankles or achey feet. Keep my feet warm too. They’re not cheap, about $15, but i swear by them now. Might be worth a try.

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