So, as of this moment, two out of my three items have been ticked off...we have survived peak at Amazon,and the New York house has closed. Tomorrow should be the end of the black tank saga as well. I am so happy to get it finished here, as I'm sure it would have been a hassle to start all over again in Florida.
Thoughts on the Amazon experience: I am really surprised at the number of folks who have stated that they won't be back, the work was too hard, or that we were treated badly. Yes, it was physically hard on your body, no matter what job you had. It shouldn't have been a surprise, though, if you had read the job description you were sent when applying. It specifically stated you would be on your feet for 10 hours, more during overtime. There is no sitting down job there. I found the overnight shift difficult to adjust to at first, and certainly would not want to do it full-time! It was especially hard being that we didn't work the same nights, and we only had one night off together to get our errands and chores done for the week. And I am sorry that we didn't have the opportunity to explore the area more than we did.
On the positives, I think Amazon did try to make a hard job as pleasant as possible. I mean, let's face it, its a warehouse job, how much fun can it be? The breakrooms had plenty of drink and snack vending machines, a ton of microwaves, and condiments and utensils if you forgot yours. We had two dinners, a turkey dinner during Thanksgiving week, and a chili&baked potato dinner in mid-December during our meal breaks. The last two weeks they had boxes of fruit put out for us to snack on during our last break. The local high school choir came over and sang Christmas carols during the meal break. Tokens for the vending machines and gift cards to Kroger's grocery store were given out for good performance, sometimes the whole shift receiving a gift card if the department met or exceeded goals for the night. We were given gloves, kneepads, earplugs, whatever would make work more comfortable for us. Communication could have been better, particularly for our group of workampers that were shuttled around to different departments, but it was getting better towards the end.
Some of the statistics they showed us that we broke the week ending 12/18/2011:
· Pick: 2.54M units picked, crushing the old record of 2.26M
· Sortation: 1.467M units through Crisplant and Rebin
· VDF: 303K though VDF, first time every over 300K. The old record of 239K was broken with one day tied behind our backs. We only needed six to break it.
· Toys: 496K…WOW. I should have packed faster so we could have gotten 500K. That’s my fault. The old record was 357K……+39%.
· Gift Wrap: Although not a record, we wrapped 68,537 units last week, which is the most in one week since 2005.
· Shipped: And the big boy record, 2.24M units shipped in one week from SDF1! The old record was 2.11M from last year.
That's a lot of stuff! And from just one fulfillment center! American consumerism appears to be alive and well.
Will we return? The question on everyone's lips as we say our good-byes. Yes, at this time we do plan on returning here to Campbellsville next year. They are especially happy with Al's work in AmCare, and I believe I have proven myself to be a pretty decent worker. There's a board on the wall as you go through security showing the associates who have met or exceeded goals each week, and my name has been on the board each week since starting. I've received two progress reports (when they could find me...I keep joking they could never find me the way they keep moving me from department to department) that showed I was working over 100%. And Sunday night I was one of the top "chuters" for the night (packing an average of 167 orders an hour). Monday I ended in my favorite department with my favorite manager, Bart in ReBin. He gave me a hug at the end of shift and told me to request assignment right away with him next year :-).
It won't be my favorite two months of the year for sure, but we have made some good friends here...Laura and Nona who worked with me and were my carpool buddies, Brenda and Bill Mims...really nice folks!, Joy and Shawn Creasy, or next door neighbors at the park, Cheyenne and her golden retriever Helo, who had great times playing with Casey, Lana and Michael whom we may see again in Florida, Gary who worked as a safety officer (thanks for the earplugs, I really appreciated them!) and of course the folks who worked with Al in AmCare, Terri and Jaimie. And so many others that we chatted with during breaks.
We should be arriving in sunny Florida for Christmas Day. We report to Otter Springs on the 30th to start our winter camphost gig, and I promise, we will have many more pictures to come soon! I plan on thoroughly exploring the area while there this winter, as well as a quick trip to Disney the end of January, and a trip down to the Everglades in March. Can't miss the RV Supershow in Tampa either! We will also be buying a house in Sugarmill Woods, and setting up domicile in Florida before heading off to Colorado in April.
So, lots of excitement still to come, interesting things to do and see, pictures to be taken and experiences to be recorded. Stay tuned, life is still good!