When we last checked in v Amazon warehouse employees in November 2015, the consensus was that life as an employee at one of the company"s 110 domestic fulfillment centers to be physically an overwhelming but financially rewarding. On your feet for most of the day, this "Amazonians" (the company"s term for workers) receive, stock, sort, pick, pack, ship, and also problem-solve the numerous thousands that items lugged by the e-tailer in massive facilities between 600,000 and also 800,000 square feet in size. Each deserve to employ end 1,500 full-time associates.
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These days, the pay is going up. Amazon recently announced hourly raises between 50 cents and $3 for 500,000 warehouse workers and other fulfillment jobs, including to the present minimum beginning wage that $15. Employees usually agree the if friend don"t psychic some manual labor, you can uncover benefits — just not Prime benefits — within these enormous buildings.
For more on the job, psychological Floss got to out to several current and former employees. Here"s what they had to say about working through robots, finding time to pee, and also the overall experience that what social media has dubbed "Amazon vest life."
1. Amazon warehouse employees manage a the majority of sex toys.
Amazon prides itself on gift the "everything store," and also they mean it. Kyle, a picker who grabs items from inventory to prepare because that shipping, tells mental Floss the adult new items room steady sellers. Together as? "Dildos," he says. "Sex toys. Ns pull the end a dozen every night. BDSM shibari straps. Stuff I"ve never ever seen or heard of."
2. Amazon warehouse employees have actually robots because that co-workers.
If you discover some of your co-workers a small standoffish, it is in glad you"re no stationed in one Amazon warehouse. One increasing variety of the web page are relocating to automated robots to take it the load off pickers, who deserve to walk approximately 15 mile a day browsing the cavernous structures for notified items. Massive machines called Kivas reverse that task, pass towering eight-foot pods full of items come a picker"s workstation ~ they"ve been invited by employees well-known as stowers.
"The robots are bringing the pods, these tall yellow pods that space coded through bins," Kyle says. "There room eight various levels and columns with thousands of items. The pod has 4 sides and also can weigh approximately 750 pounds. Prior to it comes to your station, it"s facing you through the next that has the item. If it has to turn, it will certainly move, come back, and rotate."
Kyle claims proficient pickers who satisfy a quota have the right to sometimes acquire their surname on a robot. Yet that would need picking approximately 5 000 item in one 10-hour shift.
3. Amazon warehouse employees can never, ever get in the means of the robots.
If the idea the a robot carrying nearly a half-ton of commodities while travel at 20 mph sounds dangerous, it can be. According to Donald, a warehouse employee trained in packing and also stowing, it"s forbidden because that anyone yet trained robot technicians come walk into the path of the motoring machines.
"There have been times
Fortunately, robotics workers have a protective tech vest with built-in sensors to help negate the chances of a collision. "The robotic technology vest is a specialized vest worn through trained staff," Donald says. "The vest speak the robots ~ above the Amazon robotics floor the they space out on the floor and also pretty much communicates with the robots so that the person doesn"t get run over. The robots will not protect against for anything uneven a person is top top the floor with a robotics tech vest."
4. Amazon warehouse employees have actually vending makers that dispense medication.
Working at an Amazon warehouse have the right to be physically challenging, with numerous bending, lifting, and moving. Together a result, their vending machines offer more than simply candy bars and also potato chips. "We have actually no-cost clinical vending machines," Alex, a packer in ~ an Amazon warehouse, tells mental Floss. "They organize individual dosage packets of things like Advil, Tylenol, Tums. I"ve offered them before when i ran the end of my own stash that I bring in mine bag, and also they come in handy."
Amazon additionally maintains a nurse"s station referred to as AMCARE (Amazon Cares) because that anything requiring clinical attention. "People would go there because that headaches, pulled muscles, cuts, etc.," Alex says. "It"s basically choose the nurse"s office in school."
5. Amazon warehouse employees have the right to read your gift notes.
Packers — employees who prepare items because that shipping — are the people responsible because that printing out gift notes and putting them into the packages. And also it"s very feasible for them to capture a glimpse of what castle say. "We have a gift note printer for any item that includes one that we have to grab and then toss in the box," Alex says. "I don"t review them, though. Because that one, ns don"t have time to stop and read if I"m going to hit rate, but additionally I feel prefer it"s rude. I recognize others do."
Alex did capture one, though. "The only exciting story I have on that—and it"s more than likely only exciting to me—was a gift receipt for a toilet plunger. No note, simply a receipt."
6. Amazon warehouse employees keep a digital manager v them at all times.
Many roles in one Amazon warehouse are directed by a handheld scanner dubbed a Zebra, which can tell workers what items must be retrieved and can additionally inform supervisors exactly how busy one employee is. If the scanner captures them slacking, they can be automatically reported. "The scanner brings the alert to a manager, and also the manager would do the composing up," Robert, a picker who operated at one Amazon fresh warehouse in 2020, tells mental Floss. "But it"s based on the data the scanner is feeding them. There are various programs. They clock to see exactly how the process is flowing. The manager will look to see if there"s a bottleneck."
7. Amazon warehouse employee don"t obtain to decide exactly how your order gets packed.
If you"ve ever wondered just how a crate of protein bars winds increase in a soft envelope or why a tiny item it s okay packed in an oversized box, therefore do plenty of employees. "When us scan an item, we obtain a notice on our display telling us which box size or envelope dimension to use," Alex says. "If the favored box
Third-party sellers may pick how items obtain packed, saving money top top boxes, or might opt to load the item themselves, bypassing packers entirely.
Alex adds the owing to employees conference quotas, they might opt to use a different box without making a note of it, or skip wait pillows. If you find a strangely empty box, it"s probably since the packer wanted to store things moving. "Doing that process as rapid as Amazon wants is the key," Alex says. "That"s why you"ll discover packers that override box sizes yet don"t keep in mind it ~ above the account, don"t usage dunnage
8. Amazon warehouse employees have some complaints about break times.
Because Amazon monitors activity, employees tend to adhere nice strictly to the allotted 30-minute and also 15-minute break periods. The problem, follow to Kyle, is the these windows don"t account because that the fact that the takes time come navigate the substantial facility to gain to a rest room, bathroom, or come the parking lot.
"When you take it a break, you log out and also are supposed to come back within 30 minutes, for this reason there"s no an ext than 30 minutes in between the last time girlfriend scanned an object and the next item," Kyle says. "But the problem is that takes 5 to seven minutes come walk to your vehicle or come the break room, therefore it"s no really a complete 30-minute break."
Taking a fill off at her workstation, at least in Kyle"s warehouse, is off-limits. "You"re not allowed to sit on things at a station. There space no chairs provided. You can make chairs v totes or sit ~ above the steps. I usually choose to go to my car."
9. Part Amazon warehouse employees have to have a spotter.
According to Donald, functioning in the Trailer Docking and Releasing (TDR) area that a warehouse is a critical position. "Depending top top the facility, the trailer yard deserve to have everywhere from 20 to hundreds of trailers in them.
"You constantly need an additional person to go with you as soon as you do TDRs because you need someone to be a spotter," Donald says. "You go into a very active trailer yard, and while one human is law the occupational on the Kindle, the other person is there to point out so the they do not get hit v a trailer or a truck. If you get in a trailer yard without a spotter, you are instantly terminated, together this is a severe safety hazard."
10. Part Amazon warehouse employees have a countdown timer.
Like Jack Bauer in 24, part Amazon employees regularly have to resolve the stress and anxiety of a timer counting down the seconds remaining to complete a task. "It"s called takt time," Kyle says. "You"re an alleged to grab an object within 6.5 seconds of things appearing ~ above the screen." when it"s doable, Kyle says it"s feasible to fulfill quota also if it"s a tiny slower. "You"re make the efforts to store up, yet it"s an ext like 7.5 to eight seconds." Kyle likewise says finding details items can take as long as 30 seconds.
11. Amazon warehouse employees have competitions.
In bespeak to rise morale and also productivity, Amazon fulfillment centers promote timed competitions to see who have the right to excel in ~ a task choose picking. Though the name varies by location, part facilities contact it power Hour or King that the Hill. "We have actually pick competitions, wherein you pick a specific amount of items in a specific amount that time," Kyle says. "They provide you Amazon Bucks, or Swag Bucks, the you have the right to turn in for
The reward, follow to Kyle, isn"t precious the extr effort. "I ignore
12. Amazon warehouse employee are kind of annoyed once you bespeak kitty litter.
Although robots room doing the heavy lifting, dragging huge items indigenous the pods can be difficult. Kyle says heavy pet items are particularly troublesome. "Most world hate kitty litter or dog food, bulky items like that," that says. "They"re hard to handle."
13. Amazon warehouse employee can find the occupational pretty isolating.
Depending on the place — and also state of the pandemic — Amazon workers can discover themselves walking for long periods that time without talk to anyone else. "You see managers during the first pair weeks of training," Kyle says. "But
That"s no necessarily a poor thing for some. "I just want a project that I can punch in and out and also make great money," Alex says. "And preferably not have actually to connect with a bunch of people socially. Amazon gives me that."
14. Amazon warehouse employees hear some Japanese.
According come Robert, Amazon has actually embraced certain tenets the Japanese logistics — so much so the words like andon (a processing mistake) and gemba (the worksite) space utilized in the fulfillment centers. "It"s part of their monitoring philosophy," Robert says. "It was brand-new to me. I looked up the terms. They were from Japanese logistics ideas … when you"re new, none of it gets explained."
15. No, Amazon warehouse employees carry out not obtain Amazon prime free.
For all the shipping lock facilitate, there"s no totally free two-day shipping because that warehouse employees. Follow to Kyle, a free Amazon element membership isn"t offered. "We do acquire a $100 a year discount password for item sold straight by Amazon," he says.
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16. Amazon warehouse employees have a mascot.
His surname is Peccy, and also he"s easily accessible on pins offered to employees as a reward because that things favor perfect attendance. The amorphous orange blob (above) to be apparently named for Amazon"s self-described peculiar company strategies and has come to be a hit among employees. "He"s the Amazon mascot," Kyle says. "I collect