Captain's log: On site at Amazon

We've landed in Coffeyville to help Amazon with their seasonal work. This is one of Amazon's largest distribution centers, or what Amazon calls a fulfillment center. Let the fun begin.

The first day on the job was an orientation day, which included a quick tour of the facility. I'm not sure what's going on exactly, but here's what I think is happening. Lots of trucks arrive here with stuff Amazon hopes someone will buy on their online site. This stuff is stored in locations based roughly on how big each item is; most of the big stuff stays on pallets but the smaller stuff gets put in green totes along with other stuff so that everything is all mixed up. These green totes then get delivered in mass by big pallet trucks to where this stuff will get stored in row after row of shelves sectioned off into bins. Stowers will then hide the tote's contents in whatever space is available in any bin. Pickers will then try to find this stuff and put it into yellow totes that get put on to the nearest conveyor and hauled off to get sorted into specific orders that are then packed, labeled and shipped.

We were selected to be pickers on the night shift. Four, ten hour days a week with another ten hour day added after Thanksgiving if required. 
At the start of each shift, you pick up the handheld scanner that connects you with the Amazon over mind that makes all this possible. Every time a stower puts an item into a bin, the bar codes for the bin and the item are scanned. The Amazon computer can then match customer requests with product locations that are sent to the handheld screens of the pickers. That will give us the bin it's in and a product description. You take your best guess and scan it; if it's correct you get your next location, otherwise you get to try again. Pretty mindless, but you get a cross section of what people are buying and occasionally stumble on something interesting in the bins. Lots of walking and some stairs, so I'm hoping to lose some weight by Christmas.

Coffeyville isn't far from Oklahoma, so we got to experience the effects of the recent earthquake there. It wasn't much different that being rocked by the strong winds that are common here, which probably masked the original earth quake, but the aftershock was even stronger and there wasn't any wind then. Sometimes it's good to have a home on springs.


  1. I always wondered how it worked there at Amazon.

    How are you going to keep from getting frozen pipes there in the midwest in the winter?

    I don't think I could stand on my feet that long. I hope it gets a bit easier for you.

  2. Glad to hear you only got a small rumble from the earthquake.

    Amazon sounds like it's got things well organized in their warehouse.

  3. I had no idea how all those things I get from amazon somehow get to me so quick. Thanks for the insight and make sure you have some fun while working so hard.

  4. I'm sure you will definitely lose weight and be in such good shape when you finish up. Ten hour days are long but you'll be so busy they should go by pretty quickly. Good luck.

  5. We are looking forward to reading about working at Amazon. Thanks so much.

  6. How was the second week of work? Are your feet getting accustomed to all the walking and standing? Hope you are both well.

  7. Sounds like you will get run off your feet between now and Christmas. Hope the time flys by fast for you. Glad that earthquake wasn't a big one.

    Kevin and Ruth


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Urban Life


Back in Iowa and changes ahead