November 05, 2010

Attack of the pallets.

I am going through band-aids. Working with cardboard boxes and wooden pallets provides any number of scrapes and cuts. Yes, I have some nice leather gloves and I do use them when stocking. While I am sure that has saved my epidermis time and again, I do not wear them every minute and it is surprising how sharp an innocuous box edge can be.

My latest is a 1/2 inch scrape on the left side of my middle finger on my left hand. This is one of those that I did not notice until after the fact. I was moving blue tooth I-pod device blister packs. Go figure...

We have a bit of a scramble prior to rolling up the doors. There are pallets of items in the walkways, flat bed carts filled with cardboard and old stretch wrap and bands. Each needing to be stocked in a correct manner. Televisions have two stickers and an envelope that need to be put in specific locations that do not cover text (if possible) and there can be a layer of dust or oily residue that does not allow the quick bonding of the afore mentioned.

Some items need to be rotated so the newest is on the bottom. Other items are just resistant to being stacked. There is an ever increasing set of tricks you employ to bend the packaging to your will.

My strengths lie in some spacial geometric gift, to figure, on the fly, stacking patterns that allow the most items in the smallest area. Also, the speed and precision to employ said patterns in a minimum of time. The strength to move heavier items also helps.

The coolest part, to me, is working with Jean-Paul or Joel, who share the same strengths. Recently while stocking the kitty litter with Jean-Paul, we found that picking up the product in a certain way and tossing it a certain way allowed the other to quickly stack the item with the facing perfect just in time to catch the next.

This built a mutual respect and created an aspect of challenge and fun for the project.

A couple of nights later, I had finished the facing of my area (Hard lines) and headed over the help sundries.

"Okay, I have six minutes left on shift, who needs help?"
"You can't do anything in six minutes." was the response from a fairly new hire.
Looking at a knowingly smirking Jean-Paul I stated "I bet we can break down those two pepsi pallets in six minutes."
With a succinct nod from Jean, we wordlessly assumed a two man assembly line and hefted the rather heavy cubes of soft drinks into their location. Stopping only long enough to shift to the second pallet.

A short time later, job done I panted (slightly) "Okay, I got two minutes left on shift, who needs help?"

I think her jaw is still on the floor.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my job?

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