Well, last night we completed our last 50 hour week. I wish I could report that we had a confirmed last day, but as I type from Due Dirty Laundry, I do not have that info to share. Rumors were flying this past week that we would know by Tuesday; we wouldn’t be back next week; we will know by Wednesday; it’s extra busy now b/c Jeffersonville IN faciliy is behind; and on and on. So far the only rumor that seems to have a shred of truth is the one about Jeffersonville being behind. The level of frustration I am feeling about this is HIGH!
In all fairness, this was just a bad week. This past Wednesday marked one year ago that my 20 year old nephew, Andrew, was killed in a car accident. My whole family was shook to the core and full recovery is no where in sight. Full recovery is probably too much to ever hope for. I was thinking I wanted to write a new letter, (I wrote one this past March (Dear Andrew) for his Celebration of Life service) but I am not anywhere in the right frame of mind to put any meaningful thoughts down in words. He is missed beyond expression. I had originally thought I might take my 5 hours of PTO that day, but I actually got through it ok. My friend Judi was very helpful, she kept coming over and checking on me. I had told her about it a few days before and she completely understood, having lost her nephew tragically years ago.
Totally switching topics:
Bill and I thought we would tell you about some of the things Amazon has been doing for employees over and above the paycheck. They really do try to help keep spirits high and keep people motivated to get through. We have had: 2 Thanksgiving Day meals with turkey, ham and the fixings; 1 pizza dinner, plus a bonus pizza to take home; 1 chili baked potato dinner; 4 Bingo games during our breaks with goofy prizes; 6 snack attacks (free snacks – fruit, granola bars, muffins) during breaks; there were $50 VISA gift cards for working the one 50 hour week (we both got one!); we know people who have won (but there were actually a lot more prizes than this – A LOT more): a 50″ flat screen TV; a Kindle; a $200 VISA gift card; 3 different times they had steel drum band play Christmas music live during shift changes; they decorated both entrances very nicely for Christmas; the robot trolleys were decorated and 2 of the 4 were playing holiday tunes; the last 2 weeks have been daily things with winners for the best – crazy socks, holiday hats, superhero dress-up; there were many productivity “power hour” prizes (usually Kroger gift cards); not related to Christmas at all but they also had best Halloween costumes and I also got a birthday card! Also, there was a picnic back in early September before we arrived.
Another thing – we got emails this week with our exit surveys attached. They want feedback on our Amazon experience, so Bill and I plan to give them ours. Here are some of our bigger observations:
- I realize we might get an abbreviated start to our Amazon “careers” but I think it would benefit them to give all new starts a full tour and brief explanation of all departments, from when items come into the FC and what happens to them until they leave. I think it would go a long way for people to understand what they are doing and how it effects the whole process.
- More specifically to pack, since that is where I spent most of my time: they really should teach people HOW to pack, I mean the dynamics of it, not just how to read a screen, build a box, add cello and send the package. I believe they should show people what the proper way to protect the item is and let them do their job. The way it is set up now, makes one feel like a bit of a monkey – no brain thought required. I had a chat with one of the problem solvers, this guy Nick, and I asked him why does the screen tell you to pack one way, when it is clearly wrong (there are actually a lot of examples of this all day long) and sometimes, even if you ask whoever is “in charge” they will tell you to pack as the screen says, if for no other reason than so the computer, further down the line, doesn’t “kick it out” and therefore have it need further attention from someone with a pulse. It’s a crazy system. I firmly believe people would do a better job if they understood the proper way and just let them do it.
- Bill has a lot of things about picking he will be writing about, but one of the ones that I know drives most pickers crazy is after being sent to a new area, looking for a cart can take a LONG time. It may seem like a “what’s the big deal” kind of thing, but it really is b/c they need the cart to put the tote on before they can pick any items. Pickers are judged on how good they are doing by their pick-rates and if you spent 10 minutes or more looking for a cart, you could have picked 10, 15 or possibly more items in that time. If they move you even once an hour to a new area, that could add up to many non-productive minutes. Bill thinks if they used some type of cart corral system, it would eliminate the need for looking for a cart. They try to have areas for them, but no one leaves their carts there, they are left all over and/or taken to the new area, which you aren’t supposed to do.
Last Saturday we went to Louisville to see Bills Goddaughter, Rebekah, perform in The Nutcracker. It was a wonderful afternoon and gave us a taste of how talented a dancer she is. Since she is not an official member of the school sponsoring the performance, she was unable to have a lead role, but even watching her in the supporting roles she played, we could see her shine! I was hoping to have some of the much better pics her brother took, but he hasn’t had time to get them to me this week, so here are a few of the ones I was able to snap. I’ll post some of the better ones when I get them.
Well, we just got THE CALL! It’s official – we are done Monday night! We finish our “work” at 10pm then have a meeting for about a half hour then we are released! We will take our half day (we have 5 hours of PTO to use or lose!) Sunday, so we have 1 1/2 days of work left! I am so relieved to know! We have some packing up to finish tomorrow! IF we drive 2 long days, we could possibly make it to Clearwater and our reservation on the 23rd, but that will not be easy, so more likely the 24th. But, good news is, no driving will be needed Christmas Day! Let the fun begin!