Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Is an AOPT? You Know What I Mean

Well, week 1 of the Amazon adventure is in the books. And it's not exactly what we thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, we knew it would be work.....real work. We've read the blogs from other workampers enough to know it wasn't like working at a campground or our previous job in Mt Hood. But I don't think either one of us was ready for the reality. On our applications we stated that we would prefer a job walking, not standing. That's not exactly what we got. We're considered 'shooters'. Or maybe the correct spelling is 'chuters' as in we manage chutes. We are in the shipping department and work along an assembly line where customer orders containing multiple items are pooled together to be boxed. Example: a customer orders 2 tubes of toothpaste, a pack of batteries, a romance novel, ski gloves and....let's say an adult oriented personal toy (and you know what I mean). Other employees 'pick' these items one at a time from the warehouse stocks and they are loaded individually onto a conveyor. The conveyor is smart and knows to pool the individual items at a single chute. Once all items are pooled into a chute (this may take a couple of hours) the chute lights up telling 'chuters' (us) the order is ready for boxing. We scan the chute with a bar code reader and the computer tells us what items should be there and what size box is needed. We form the box from flat stock, scan and package the individual items, close, tape and bar code the box before placing it on another conveyor to be addressed and shipped. That's not the hard part. The hard part is that we basically stand for 10 hours a day doing the work....neither one of us is used to that. We're a little sore from the bending and our age is showing in how our fingers and hands feel....but we expect that to get better. What really hurts is our feet. And we're really hoping that gets better quick. Our normal schedule is Fri-Mon, 10 hours a day. We've formed a car pool with two other workampers and one of them has already been asked his preference for which day of the week he could work should mandatory overtime be required. And from what we've read this is a likelihood for all of us.


Today is our day off and we're taking advantage to get off our feet! We still have a lot of chores to do.....laundry, grocery shopping, etc......but we fully intend to rest. Might even get a massage....foot massage! We'll see. OOOO Baby that sounds good.

When our job at Amazon ends we've decided to drive our car home for Christmas/New Years and stay for several weeks. We should be working into the week before Christmas so we've been researching what to do with the MH while we're gone. We looked at winterizing and storing; leaving the MH hooked up in a campground, etc. We think we've found a good solution; indoor climate controlled storage. We've found a place where we can store both the MH and bikes without having to winterize either; and it's indoors.... quite a bit more secure than most storage lots. And the cost is quite reasonable. That way we can relax while we're home, not worry about things freezing or being damaged while we're gone. And rather then a flight back to Nevada we can take our time returning, enjoy the drive and sight-see a little along the way. We want to stop at my son's new home in Atlanta and see Joan's brother Jimmy and his family in Alabama. And when we get to Sparks we just stock up on groceries and head out to our next location. We're researching what to do between our return to Sparks after the holidays and the start of our summer gig in Colorado. We're thinking we'll try our hand at a volunteer job (no pay, just a free site) for a month or two somewhere between here and there.

Wednesday we're meeting some of our fellow 2013 Colorado workampers for lunch. Sandi and Joe are in Fernley working for Amazon as well, but with more than a thousand seasonal workers just starting we haven't met them yet. They've worked at Chalk Creek in Colorado for two years and are returning next year. Joan and I will be the rookies at Chalk Creek as the other 3 workamping couples are all returnees.

That's all for now. If you are aware of a Saint for Ailing Feet (or Amazon workers) please let us know. We're going to be buying gel inserts for our shoes and I figure we'll take all the help we can get.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.


  1. That picture sure looked like hot "dogs"!

  2. Ooooo, my feet hurt FOR you! I think a foot massage is definitely in order!

  3. We did that exact same job last year in Coffeyville. It did get better, but standing for 10 hours is hard no matter what. After Thanksgiving we were moved to the singles area where you don't move at all, just pack single item boxes the entire shift. That was really hard on my wrists, making and sealing all of those boxes. This year we chose pickers. It's a lot of walking, but my back hurt much more with the standing. We drove home to Wisconsin last year for Christmas. We left the 5th wheel at the campground in Coffeyville. They let us keep it plugged in, but still winterized just in case the propane ran out. We left the furnace set at about 60 degrees and left the refrigerator on electric. It worked well for us. We plan on doing the same again this year. Good luck at Amazon. The bank balance when you're done helps a great deal in forgetting the pain!

  4. My sister works on her feet 10-12 hours a day. She's been doing it for year. She went to the Good Feet Store (don't know if there's one in Reno) and bought an arch support system like nurses use. (Apparently it's not cheap.)

    When we worked the conveyor belt in receiving, we were sure to do all the exercises in the morning and after lunch. Plus, when there was a break in the action when receiving couldnt keep us stocked with product, we would strecth as much as possible. We worked the receiving line right after products came in off the trucks. You can read about it in our blogs from last year. It's definitely difficult work.


  5. You two have the same job we had last year. Rest when you can and we went to a chiropractor as our wrist were killing us.

  6. We are picking in Campbellsville. We also worked many years on our feet in a similar environment. The trick is to wear shoes with a decent arch & try to find some good insoles. If you can try to have a second pair of shoes & insoles to switch off. Just thought I'd share 32 years experience on my feet