Well, I wouldn’t say that we qualify as “Amazonians” just yet, but we are getting settled into a new job at the Amazon.com warehouse in Fernley, NV. The best news is that we asked if we could be transferred to days, and there were openings! We will be working 7am-5:30pm, “donut shift”–Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri. We will be able to pick up optional overtime in a week or two, and overtime will be mandatory as we get into the crazy holiday season.
The whole warehouse thing is a bit overwhelming. Our building is the footprint equivalent to 38 super Walmarts, and even with a map, I never really know where I am. The place is a hive of activity, with huge departments with funny names. (Even funny job titles–the folks who load the elevators with product for upper floors are called “water spiders”!) I still need help just to find the bathrooms, or the exit for when it’s time to leave.
There are a million different jobs there, but the campers pretty much just do a couple: Stow, or put incoming product on the shelves, Picking, or pulling items from the shelves when someone orders it online, and a couple quality control jobs to ensure that Stowers and Pickers are doing everything as they should.
JJ and I are Stowers. We pick up enormous carts filled with products and then head into the massive shelving area to put it away. So, it’s kind of like shelving books, which I’m really good at, so it should be easy, right? The hard part is that we are dealing with almost anything…from single tubes of lipstick to cases of dog food. Stackable things, non-stackable things, and things that refuse to behave in orderly fashions. On the upside, it’s really entertaining to see the variety of consumer products–our warehouse stocks everything. Basically, if you can buy it on Amazon, we’re working with it.
We had one full day of orientation, and then 3 days of half days–so, 5 hours each day. Next week, we start our regular schedule. Because we’ve been doing so much training, we haven’t been doing our normal jobs but for a couple hours each day. We’re doing just fine, physically, but that may change when we move to 10 hour shifts.
We are living at Desert Rose RV Park, about 5 miles east of the warehouse. It is really nice to have electric and water hookups again after a few weeks without. (Although I did want to toot my own horn. We were worried about being able to live on our 50 gallon water tank while we were without hookups. After 6 days in one location, we were only down to 47% of our tank…so we lived on just about 25 gallons during that time!) Amazon pays for the campsite while we’re working, but we are responsible for our electricity bill. At the moment, the weather is still in the 60s or 70s every day, and we don’t need much heat. Decembers here are usually much colder, and we will be investigating how to keep our water lines safe in below freezing temperatures.
The park is pretty much a company town, with most all the inhabitants working at Amazon. The best part is the central bathhouse with dreamy free hot showers, inexpensive washers and dryers, and a book exchange. There are 6 other Lazy Daze RVs here, so we had a built in club when we arrived! Two of the residents are blog writers I’ve followed since getting the RV bug…you can also enjoy the stories of Roger and Jim.
The town of Fernley, though, leaves a lot to be desired. There is a good local grocery chain, and multiple big box stores, but the rest of the town is pretty much residential…so there’s not much to do nearby. We are only 30 miles from Reno, and from what we saw of it on our way through to get here, it looks like a pretty cool town. We are also only about an hour from Lake Tahoe, so we will have some entertainment options, but we will have to work to get to them. That being said, we did find the one yummy taco stand and ice cream place on our first night in town. We might have to enjoy them on a regular basis.
I will do my best to keep up on the blog, but I have to warn you: we might be tired and cranky. From folks who have come before us, I know to expect to feel completely worn out about halfway through our 8 weeks. We plan to take any overtime that we can, to make as much money as we can before Christmas. I promise, once we’re past Christmas, things will be interesting again!