Sunday, December 08, 2019

New article at American Thinker: My six months at Amazon

The days after Thanksgiving once signaled training season for Christmas caroling. Recent years have instead heralded the shrieks of entire choruses of Maynard G. Krebs: “Work?!?”

The past few weeks have been no different and once again the squalls of disdain have almost invariably diffused from those tan arcologies of Internet commerce: the Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

Well, for a good chunk of the past year I was an associate in one of those very centers.  I am not employed or affiliated with Amazon at present and don't foresee that changing anytime soon.  Nobody from the company is paying me or giving me some kind of perk (and I'd refuse free Amazon Prime on general principles if Mr. Bezos himself extended the offer).  I’m not trying to curry favor and I don’t cotton to anyone.

But I would have done this anyway: provide a perspective that may differ wildly from what a lot of people have remarked about working in one of Amazon's distribution warehouses.

So all that being said, my first published article in over a year is up at American Thinker today"Six Months at an Amazon Fulfillment Center" says what it means and means what it says.  Half of a year on the floor, and I ended up being involved in everything from stowing merchandise to loading outbound trucks.  It also meant being there throughout the entire "Peak Season": Black Friday through Christmas Eve.

A snippet from the article:
My primary mission was stowing. It means pushing a cart of merchandise around the warehouse, finding bin space that a product can fit in, using a laser scanner on the bar codes and then physically moving the item into the bin. The facility’s inventory system was at all times tracking the associate’s rate of work as well as accuracy. Several times during the night the rates were posted so that each employee could see how he or she was faring. And as many who have written about working at Amazon have already noted, the managers are looking hard at those rates… 
My stowing during those first few weeks? Abysmal. In fact, I was the very worst of the lot from our orientation group. Getting fired would be a decision born within the circuitry of the Amazon master computer somewhere in Seattle, not any human judgment. My career came a few steps too close to ending during that first month or so.
What happened next? Did the rates rise? Or did your friend and humble narrator get a pink slip from the Amazon cluster-processoring mainframe thingy?!  Mash down here and find out!