When I last posted, we had just arrived at Heartland RV Park in Campbellsville, KY, getting ready to start our time working at Amazon.
We arrived a day early, on a Friday, figuring we would be settled and not have to deal with everyone else that would be coming in on Saturday. Amazon pays for your site up to 2 days prior to your Monday start date. All new “classes” start on Mondays, so most people arrive the Saturday before.
We had originally made a reservation for Green River Resort, which is less than 5 miles from the FC (fullfillment center), where we will be working. It has some grass and a pool, but friends of ours had set up there, only to move b/c of issues at that CG. Evidently, someone lets their dogs run wild and do their “business” wherever and no one cleans up. Also, it is very small and tight and there are “weekenders” which means more noise. So, after hearing their trusted report, we decided to stay at Heartland.
We also could have stayed at the local state park, Green River Lake State Park. I had heard it is very nice, and it is. We drove and looked at it within our first few days here. The negatives are: no full-hook-ups, only water and electric on site, and no letting out your grey water. Amazon pays for a “honey-wagon” to come around once per week and pump out your tanks; once per week is fine for the black tank, but we would have to seriously conserve on the grey tanks to last a week. We’ve done that and been ok for a short time, but we will be here 12 weeks and we didn’t want to have to conserve for 12 weeks, while working, etc. The electric is only 30amp, which means when the colder temps come, we would have to put the propane furnace on sooner, as the fireplace and portable electric heater we have in the bedroom would not be enough to keep the rig warm. We prefer not to use the furnace any more than necessary, b/c of the cost of propane (Amazon is paying for the electric but no allowance for propane). The positive would be a MUCH nicer environment to come home to, but we are here mostly to work, so our time at home will be limited. Plus, we can always go hang out there on our days off if we want to.
There is another park not too far away, Green River Stables. This one is also nice, has grassy spots and full-hook-ups. It is very tight, spots are small. The one main reason we didn’t consider this one is (as the name implies), there are stables, and therefore horses. That might not matter or bother most, but my hubby is VERY allergic to horses, and yes, even just being nearby would make his life pretty miserable.
There are other parks that Amazon has arrangements with, but they were further out and we didn’t want to be that far away. I haven’t seen any of them yet, maybe one day we will drive to see them and if we do, I’ll let you know.
Now, I am not trying to sell Heartland RV Park as anything fancy or even “nice”. In truth, it is a gravel parking lot, a few small trees, laundry room, common room – that ‘s it. There are white painted lines to tell you where your site is, a pedestal, sewer hook-up, and water spigot (which is actually kind of cool – its buried to help keep it from freezing) The advantages to staying here are, we can walk to work, we are surrounded by Amazon workers, no one else and we are all full-timers. We are excited to be around all these full-timers, most of which have probably be doing it longer than us. It will be great to get to know everyone and hear their stories! Having everyone being full-timers and Amazon workers is good b/c everyone here is aware that people are working all kinds of shifts and it is QUIET. It is also closest to the Kroger (grocery store), Walmart and the town in general. Bill and I decided the advantages of being in this situation outweighed the negatives, and here we are!
Saturday, friends of ours from an RV Dreams rally, Lisa and Dino (http://mndrifters.blogspot.com/), were kind enough to let us tag along when they visited a local farm stand, and then gave us the quick tour of Campbellsville, so we saw the Kroger, Wal-Mart and local university, Campbellsville University. It is a private Baptist college, appears to be mostly for art type majors. We also saw where the local movie theater is, and a few other essentials. Thanks guys! Afterward, we hung out and visited and got caught up on what’s been going on with each other.
We had heard, from other RV Dreamers Jessica and Harry (http://rikerrvdays.blogspot.com/), that the university allows the public to buy meal tickets for their dining hall, so Bill looked it up online to see what it was about. Their meal ticket is $61.45 for 10 meals. They also have Saturday and Sunday brunch. We decided to give it a try on Sunday for brunch. It was ok, basic cafeteria style food, with a salad bar, hot entrees, biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, a cook-your-own omelet station, and a few others. They also have a dessert bar, which homemade ice cream and a soft serve machine, with all the toppings, as well as cakes, cookies and brownies. The cost for brunch was a bit higher at $8.50 per person. We went back Monday after work and purchased a meal ticket. The dinner wasn’t bad at all, but still just cafeteria style food. I can understand why people take advantage of it, it is cheap, decent food and nearby.
Sunday we also went shopping at Kroger. I used to shop at Kroger all the time when we lived in Oldham County, KY and I always loved the store. At that time, I was super impressed b/c everyone was so polite and nice, they bagged your groceries for you, even offered to help you out to your car. I’ve since learned that most of the country is like that, just not NJ. Not nice.
We also checked out Walmart and picked up a few things. Bill had bought a HUGE wide mouth Thermos for bringing soup/chili to work for our dinner break, I think it was 32oz. He had really wanted one he saw online that was 24oz, but couldn’t find it. Well, this Wal-Mart had one on their clearance rack for only $9.50! Needless to say, he brought the other one back! I have the matching 16oz one – perfect size for me! I figured sandwiches will get boring and wanted to have a way to bring a variety of things for our dinner break since we won’t have time to go home.
Monday was our first day, and our orientation took place right here at Heartland RV Park in their common room. All the newbies met at about 7:50am for the 8am start time. There was about 30 or so of us. We took care of things like documentation for our I-9’s, talked about things like how the schedule worked, specific job descriptions, etc. We broke for lunch at 1pm, and Kelly (the man in charge of Camperforce (the RV’ers) program) told us “Your best 5 hours at Amazon are now complete!” After lunch, we met outside the front door and got our badges that we will scan to get into the building, as well as use to punch in/out at the time-clock. We spent the afternoon in safety school, learning all the processes they have in place to keep employees safe while working in the building.
Tuesday, we reported at 5:25pm for our pickers training. A group of 4 of us was assigned to our trainer; we went over more safety stuff (they are ALL about the safety!), some hazmat stuff and then we learned our actual job. It is fairly easy, but will involve a lot of walking. We purposely signed up for a mobile position, we didn’t want to stay in one place all day, which some jobs you do. We left for home at 10:30pm, feeling pretty confident that we can and will do well at this position.
Wednesday and Thursday we were on our own – picking like everyone else. This job isn’t rocket science, the hardest part is just getting to know which direction to move in next when your scanner tells you to move to a new area. We have not done up stairs yet, but all bets are off next week – no preferential treatment any more. That will be the REAL test of how this is going to go – I’ll have to report after completing a FULL 40 hour week and let you know. From what I’ve heard through the grapevine – soreness will set in; have plenty of Advil on hand; ice packs might be beneficial; etc. Time will tell! BTW they also have vending machines near the nurse station that dispense free Advil, Asprin, Cold Tablets, etc. The Nurse station also has BioFreeze (Icy Hot)!!
As far as the work environment goes, it isn’t too bad. It is a warehouse, some areas the lighting is better than others, the rows we have to push our little carts around in are small, JUST big enough for us to fit. Some rows you can pass someone else, other rows you have to pull into an aisle. There are fans everywhere to keep air moving, which I very much appreciate. The supervisors seem genuinely glad to have us there. We start our days with stretches and stretch again after lunch. They have free safety items in kiosk’s and free bottles of water in frig’s throughout the facility. The lunch/break rooms have huge frig’s and lots of microwaves for lunches. They provide forks, spoons, condiments. They even provide free Hot chocolate, Cappuccino and coffee. There are vending machines with a ton of different items available for purchase. Overall, so far so good, it isn’t a bad place to be. If my attitude about this changes, you will be one of the first to know.
OH – the other thing I wanted to mention is we had bought pedometers. Cheap ones from Wal-Mart (like $5.00 a piece ones) – well guess what? They didn’t work very well – Ha! Who could have guessed that? Anyway, since we really do want to be complete dorks and keep track of our “miles walked” – we ordered some online from guess where? AMAZON! Ha! We should get them later next week. We have been told through the grapevine that people are averaging between 10 and 15 miles per day, some more, some less. Another thing we shall have to wait and see for ourselves.
Til we meet again…