Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday is History

Our 6th week at Amazon contained our first Holiday and our first overtime.  Our shift will normally work overtime on Thursdays, except for this past week.  It was shifted to Friday due to Thursday’s holiday. 

For Thanksgiving Day, we had read about some of the Tennessee state parks that have restaurants, and some of them had planned to have a holiday buffet.  The one nearest to us was about 45 to 50 minutes away.  After Dave and Nancy finished their ½ day shift, we loaded up for Henry Horton State Park only to arrive and find a crowd outside with a 2 hour wait to be seated.  We don’t care how great the food might be, very few places might be worth that time, plus we all had to work again on Friday.  We opted for “Plan B” and headed off to parts of Tennessee we had not seen before.  As luck would have it, we happened upon a small restaurant with a gift shop and gas pumps out front.  It was like a mini-Cracker Barrel, with immediate seating, a huge menu, and a Thanksgiving dinner for the special of the day.  It was also quiet enough to have a great conversation.  We had a leisurely dinner and ended up enjoying this very small restaurant.  As this is a time to give thanks, we are particularly thankful that we have the health and stamina to put in the 10 hour days at Amazon, but also thankful that it is a choice we've made and that we don't need to work like this.

Friday was supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year, but that must be in the malls only.  Amazon had geared up in anticipation of a busy Black Friday, but we didn’t have much to do in the morning.  The afternoon was a little busier, but the morning was very slow.  Maybe this will change on Cyber Monday – we will see.

Saturday, as this is being written, is our normal day off.  We hosted our niece, Jamie, and her family for a lasagna dinner and a fun time.  It was so great to see them again! 

Now we have quiet time, before making up tomorrow’s lunch bag and getting ready to start a normal 50-hr week.  Only 3 full weeks left – we see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Our 5th week at Amazon

We have just completed week #5 which was “more of the same” – just like last week’s description.  At least we are indoors, in short sleeves, and not lifting anything too heavy.  After standing in one place for 10 hours (except for lunch and 2 short breaks) we come home pretty tired and stiff, but it is really surprising how quickly we recover and are back again for the following day.  A 3-day weekend gives us even more time to recuperate.

This coming week includes Thanksgiving Day.  We will have a normal 40 hour week from Sunday through Wednesday, with another 10 hours of overtime on Black Friday, on the 28th.  Then we’re having Jamie, Jeff, Shay, and Kyla over for a lasagna dinner on Saturday.  It’s so nice to be able to connect with them while we’re here!

We’re going to start working more now as everyone is ordering more from Amazon – 50 hours per week.  It’s amazing what we pack!  Paige’s most surprising package was 1 cake mix!  Who would order just that??  Or one package of shoe laces??  We think there are people that just don’t want to leave their houses for anything!!  We also can’t believe the electronic device covers.  Literally millions of them!!  Bob’s been surprised at how many gun holsters he’s packaged.  They don’t sell guns or ammunition, but a large amount of holsters.  There must be more paranoid people out there than he expected.

We have two days left on our break this week.  On our way to Best Buy and the Knotty Knitter yarn shop.  Enjoying our time off!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Week #4

We’ve just completed our fourth week at Amazon-Murfreesboro and have our 3 day break now.  We are coming up on the peak Christmas shopping time period, but we’re not quite there yet.  The stowers and others working the Incoming departments are working overtime already, but Packers like us are part of the Outbound group.  Optional overtime was available to us today, but we elected not to go in, since we are both getting over having colds.

So what does an Amazon packer do?  Check the computer monitor for a recommended box, tape its bottom, flip it over, scan item(s) barcode, put it in the box, check the monitor to see if the order is complete, add dunnage (bubbles) if needed, tape the top shut, apply a SP00 sticker (temporary ID label), and drop it on a conveyor.  Repeat everything over and over and over and over for 10 hours, standing in the same station, moving a step or two if needed sometimes reaching up and bending down.  It is really pretty mindless (not much decision making) and little interaction with others, except for resupplying our boxes and taping needs which is done by turning on a blue light and another employee (a water spider – don’t know why they’re called that) responds to that request.  No cameras are allowed inside so we can’t show you our work area.  There may be about 100 packers for a weekday shift, with more expected to start soon.

Last weekend, we drove Dave and Nancy to the Opryland Hotel where the Christmas decorating is almost done.  They were amazed at how beautiful it is inside.  The Christmas decorations were due to be turned on last night so we may go for a short visit again tomorrow.   

After our outing to Opryland last Saturday, Paige came down with a cold which was passed to her by her wonderful, sharing husband, Bob.  It hit her pretty hard and she ended up staying home from work on Sunday.  Both of us are basically recovered now – just a little coughing now and then.  Thank goodness for good health!!

The cold from Minnesota is now visiting us.  Today it is in the 30’s here with lows in the 20’s forecasted for tonight.  We haven’t been through a cold spell like that with this motorhome yet but are confident we’ll keep warm and experience no freezing water lines.  The cold is forecasted to last for a week or so.  Florida is sounding good!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Three Day Weekend

Until peak shipping season begins (which should be soon) we work 4 days in a row with three days off.  In order to get onto our regular schedule of Sunday through Wednesday, we had only one day off last weekend (Saturday) but now we are into our normal schedule so we had Thursday for routine errands, Friday for a little sightseeing, and today to spend with our friends Dave and Nancy.

Our first full week passed without any incidents and no unusual aches and pains, but we sure appreciate having a day (or 3) off.  We learned on this morning’s news that a fire had started in a cardboard baler at Amazon late last night, and production had to stop for the fire to be put out and the smoke to be cleared.  We expect to hear more about that tomorrow morning at start-of-shift.

On Thursday we spent the day doing laundry and errands.  Friday we did a little road trip and stopped at a small whisky distillery called George Dickel’s.  It was in the country and the drive there was windy, hilly, and scenic. 

There are a few smaller children here in the RV park so we expected to have trick-or-treaters for Halloween but no one came, so we will just have to eat the treats ourselves.  What tough duty.  In addition, Bob made some of his Palm Beach brownies which we’ll also have to eat!

Dave and Nancy invited us along today for a trip to a nearby town which was full of antique shops.  A late afternoon stop, before returning home, was at a very small distillery where they had a display of an actual old time still manned by a couple of old time bootleggers.  They sure entertained us with stories of the old moonshine days.  Today’s production uses the same recipe but with higher volume equipment.