Archive for the 'Warehouse Blues' Category


22 May 2005 at 7:29 pm
by Jonah

Well, Bishop wants to know how work is going. So here goes…

Every day I rack my brain for something interesting to tell my husband about my day. And his usual response is, “That’s the most boring thing I’ve ever heard.”

The most interesting thing that happened this week was moving big rows of warehouse scaffolding-like shelves together. These are metal racks 16 feet high and half the warehouse-width long. They’re big. We wanted to move two of them together to make three narrow aisles into two wide aisles. How do you do this? Well, you take 2×4’s and put them under the cross pieces, then put pallet jacks under the 2×4’s. I think we had about seven pallet jacks going. Then everyone pushes, and the whole thing moves. Sorta. We also try not to scrape up the floor (it’s concrete but painted smooth so carts and stuff will glide along nicely). I still don’t believe the scheme worked. Then the warehouse people come and drill bolts into the concrete to anchor the shelving in place…so it won’t go wandering off, I guess.

There are three of us fulltime people who shepherd a bunch of college students hired for the summer. Apparently, we’re going to move everything, not just the stuff that has to empty out of the aisles on one side and into the aisles at the other end. And we have to move stuff when the pullers aren’t pulling. So we build shelves in the morning, then when the pullers are through with the section we need, we start moving things. But we can only move for so long because new tags have to be printed and stuck onto the product in the new location…otherwise the pullers won’t know where to go to get their stuff the next day. And in the case of the actual shelves we moved, we had to move stuff off of them to a temporary location, take all the particle board off them, put the particle board back on, and move everything back.

Anyway, flying in circles has got to be a lot more interesting than reading about this. In any case, work is going well. It’s getting hot, but at least I’m not timed like I was pulling.

(Shave and Haircut) x 2

30 April 2005 at 5:00 pm
by Jonah

I had my second six-month evaluation yesterday. We’re scored on a range from 0 to 4, with 2 being “Satisfactory.” Last time I had all 3’s with one 2 in Knowledge and one 4 for Attendance. This time I had more 2’s (in things having to do with speed, efficiency, and judgment, since I’ve been shifted around to doing new things several times before I can get used to them rapidly) and a whole lot of 4’s (in things like consideration, cooperation, and teamwork). I also moved up a notch in Knowledge.

So, anyway, I got another 50 cent raise, which brings my hourly wage to $9.

Actual Fact:

In 1893 a priest named Casimir Zeglen invented the first usable bulletproof vest made from 1/16th inch steel plate sewn into layers of tightly woven silk. But he didn’t have much financial success with the vest. At one point, he contacted President William McKinley’s secretary, who scheduled an appointment to demonstrate the vest in a month. But only two weeks later, McKinley was shot in the chest twice.

What a mess

19 March 2005 at 4:04 pm
by Jonah

I was excited Friday morning, thinking it was my last morning of having to get up before the sun. As I was leaving work that afternoon, I thought I’d better check with my new team leader to see what time I should come in on Monday. “Oh,” she said, “We’re not starting the new shift next week. But Barry says we’ll definitely start on the 28th.”

Maybe I just shouldn’t have asked and shown up at 10:30 on Monday. Since no one bothered to tell me.

My family is coming to visit next weekend, so I don’t know if the shift change time is good or bad. On the one hand, it would mean I would have more time to spend with them (if only three and a half hours). But what’s bothering me is that my boss is probably going to change his mind and say he absolutely needs me there on that Monday, the first day of the new shift, where those of us who signed up for this will finally find out what we’re actually going to be doing. And my family is planning to stay through that Monday, because that’s the day my boss said I could have off. ARGH!

Berck and I have been giving the apartment a thorough cleaning in preparation for the fam’s arrival. This means that I scrub and cleanse and Berck straightens. You would think that this division of labor would work perfectly, each of us operating in the areas of housekeeping we value most. But what happens is I get ticked off that the chocolate stain is still in the couch, and Berck goes on a rampage against my table, the only place in the world I’m allowed to just put stuff. I can never find anything for weeks after one of these episodes. Maybe one day we’ll learn to clean as a team.

Actual Fact: Archaeological records show that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C.

New Job…Description

11 March 2005 at 7:54 pm
by Jonah

At work we’re moving to another part of the warehouse. There are several companies sharing the warehouse with Mardel. Hobby Lobby is the largest company; it also is in a couple of other warehouses on the site. Our building also houses Greco, which makes picture frames, and Crafts Etc., which makes crafts. Actually, as near as I can tell, all the crafts are made in China, but they’re stored in our warehouse.

Greco is the oldest of the companies. One of the owners started Hobby Lobby to sell Greco’s frames. Greco is also the smallest of the companies, I think, but they’re still growing, and they needed more space. So they’re moving from one side of Mardel’s part of the warehouse, where they were boxed in, to our other side. Now we get to expand into their old area.

Our move is expected to take six months. We’re only moving a few aisles down, so it’ll be a job for forklifts and pallet jacks. But our boss is creating a whole new shift to do the moving. I volunteered for the new shift because it’s from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. I’m currently leaving for work at 6:20 a.m., and I’m NOT a morning person.

Another advantage to the new shift is that it’ll be more interesting and involve more responsibility. I didn’t realize just how much responsibility until this week when I was informed that I would be taking over as the inventory empress’ chief slave. There are currently two people who do her bidding fulltime. Now I will apparently do ALL of it.

Ever since I started working at Mardel’s warehouse, I envied the inventory slaves; they looked so official walking around with their clipboards, efficiently pulling out bin boxes to count what was inside. When you’re dragging a heavy cart around, pulling books as fast as you can, doing ANYTHING else looks preferable. I wonder if I’ll ever get to do that, I thought, watching Jerry or Brenda make notations and slapping blank, white stickers over location tags, effectively deleting that item from inventory. Oh, the power.

So all this week, Jerry and Brenda have been initiating me in the brotherhood of inventorying. I have learned how to perform the following tasks:

DOD’s (I still don’t know what that stands for…Dead On Delivery, I’ve imagined.)
Sell Downs
New Labels
Moved Items
Duplicate Items
Duplicate Locations

And Monday I’ll learn how to do Final Counts.

All of these tasks are simple enough, yet they are not entrusted to mere mortal in-checkers. One must answer to Laura, the Inventory Dictatress herself.

“Sell Downs” are when we discontinue an item. We had 37 pages to do today. “Zeroes” are checking every SKU (stock-keeping unit) that has gone to zero that week; it’s a quick and easy way of keeping up with inventory.

DOD’s are the most complicated. Whenever a puller needs an item that’s in a location that’s empty, they

1. Curse
2. Check their store order sheet to see how many of that item we’re supposed to have in stock
3. Curse again
4. Helplessly, scan for boxed top-stock in the six surrounding sections
5. Give up and scribble “TO” for “temporarily out” on the order sheet

That “TO” now goes to me. I have to figure out where the missing product went. Sometimes this is easier than others. If I’m lucky, the stupid puller was looking at the wrong location, and the product was there all along. If it’s more complicated, I have to go to the warehouse office, find the file for the particular purchase order from the vendor the last time we got that product in, make sure we actually got it, make sure the product was actually stocked, and then search all the locations of that vendor for my missing product. If I still can’t find it, I have to count all the product in the surrounding locations and turn it into Laura (in case the product was misstocked and already pulled and shipped). Whenever Laura deems I’ve sufficiently proven my loyalty and service to her, my search ends.

DOD’s will be my most common task. After every store has finished being pulled, the order sheets all go to the warehouse office, where they are adjusted and reprinted according to what was actually on the shelves. Next someone in the warehouse office calls over the intercom, “Jerry, DOD’s are ready; Jerry, DOD’s are ready.” And Jerry goes and fetches them. Since I’m working much later than Jerry or Brenda, I’LL be the one to get them, and they’ll say my name over the intercom. Ha ha!

Anyway, Laura is a demanding suzerain, but kind. As long as I serve her carefully and make occasional jokes, I will remain in her good favor. She seems to like me, for some reason.

Which is a good thing, because she’s in charge of the new moving shift.

Two Day’s Worth

29 January 2005 at 5:20 pm
by Jonah

I’ve got the house to myself for the weekend. Berck and his dad spent Thursday night here on their way back from California. They got to Nashville last night.

The rain on my way to work Friday morning turned to sleet when I pulled into the parking lot. By 9:30 a.m. there was two and a half inches of snow everywhere, and it was still coming down in thick, wet flakes. But the temperature never got below freezing, so by the time I went home it had all pretty much melted.

They let us go at 2:30. That’s because with inventory and trying to catch up from inventory the next week, we had 15.5 hours of overtime for the last pay period.

Actual Fact:

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (also known as F. Scott Fitzgerald) was named after his father’s distant relative, who authored the Star Spangled Banner.