Friday as we were coming home from an afternoon walk, the temp company sends an automated message. Basically, "Due to a lack of work for the pickers, those of you who work the Sun-Thurs schedule will work Mon-Fri next week." Cool, three day weekend!
Sunday afternoon, my phone rings. I say to myself, "Watch it be work telling me to come in anyway. It WAS work- another automated message saying the system (either the computer system that runs the conveyors or the conveyor itself, they didn't say which) was down, and NO ONE would be working second shift Sunday. I wasn't anyway, so I didn't care.
Monday, I go to check where I was working, and the chart has a handful of us at the bottom under "comments". WTH? Soon, we learned that:
-Sunday they had been finishing the final adjustments to the new conveyor "multi-line" they'd been constructing apparently all summer. Now it was operational, and they'd be staffing it with 20-30 people they'd choose and pull over after the shift started.
-With this new line and the upcoming holiday rush, they'd brought in another 13 temps who'd be training in the order picking areas (the "pick-mods") that night. As a result, those of us in the "comments section" would be assisting the pick-modders, opening and breaking down boxes, sweeping, and the like.
-There weren't going to be a lot of orders, and with getting the new lines open, things were going to be "slow".
So we set to work, roaming the mods openning up boxes all night. And with few boxes being picked from, we had to use our imaginations to stay busy. Then, I found out that some people HAD been told to work Sunday. Oh, and one other thing: We have company-issued clips that we get at the beginning of each shift that we use to clip the box we're picking for to distinguish it from the others on our line. Somehow, these had all disappeared over the weekend. Thus, those who were picking orders were forced to manufacture "clips" out of scrap cardboard. Nothing like the marching backwards of technology.
Tuesday, I was back as a picker, and it was even slower. Especially given that we had so many boxes openned the night before and didn't have that to fall back on while waiting. Virtually the entire first half of the night was nothing; then in the second half it varied between dead, steady, and a couple little seiges of really busy. It was like an inverse hurricane, with large swaths of nothing with chaotic "eyes" of total catastrophe. Plus, I discovered that something had been messed up in the setting up of the new system. Where before, to scan in a given area, you had to scan your badge to log in, now, you had to scan your badge AND THEN scan a bar code on the area you were in. Just lovely.
Wednesday was even worse. The supervisor made it sound like it was our option whether we wanted to "make up missing Sunday" on Friday. A lady told him, "(the temp agency) told us we WERE working Mon-Fri", to which he said, "Well, let's go with that." So now we're wondering if we have to work Friday or not. In addition, the one real buddy I'd made out there announced that he was moving back to Texas and this was his last night.
Slow doesn't cover the night; between start and last break, we had by my estimate a 15-minute period and a 10-minute period which might be considered legitamate working. I would hide in one of the walk in bays, then look across to the other mod and see someone hiding in their bay, too. Finally after last break we got fairly busy. At 15 minutes to quitting time, I said to myself, "it looks like we have enough work to keep us busy to the end of the shift."
Exactly then, the computer system went down. Stand around for ten minutes, hide in the restroom for four, get in line at the clock and leave.
Thursday, I heard someone say on my way to clock in that "the new line only had three boxes all day." Geez. Then I get up to where we have the shift meeting, and saw a sign up sheet. "Hmmm, " I say, "Perhaps that is to sign up if you actually want to work Friday."
It was a sign up to leave voluntarily, IMMEDIATELY.
The supervisor explained that first off, there was extremely little work, and that was truly a sign up sheet to leave right now. And there would likely be more opportunities to leave as the night wore on. Then, he told us no temp employees were required to report Friday, but those that wanted to could sign up on another sheet.
A lady asked, "Is there a chance that we could get sent home if we worked Friday?" The supervisor said, "Well, we aren't anticipating a rush of orders, and at 8:30 we'll be shutting down the line to work on the new conveyor's spiral, so my answer would be 'very likely'."
I told myself, "stay till lunch, at least pay for your gas out here."
Then a forklift driver said, "Be sure to tell the pickers don't open any more boxes that you don't need, since we'll be moving a lot of them to new locations."
I said, "I am NOT sweeping for four hours." So three day weekend again!
Won't be surprised if I get another call this weekend.
And yet, in about a week and a half, the holiday rush will start, and we'll be on mandatory six-day weeks until the first week of January. Whaddaway ta make a living, eh?
Here's some more of the photographer's best efforts.
|Mr. Pain in the butt by Laurie.|
|She also got a pic of Mrs. Cardinal! They NEVER sit still for me...|
|Tag team munching.|
|Our little $#!thead.|
|The... Three... Amigos! Slap, slap slap, COUGH!|
|So pretty out today with Sandy finally dead.|
|With the river so low, many of the little coves and inlets are now mudflats.|
|Scrappy decided we should take advantage of the one that leads to the jungle above the "Ends of the earth" (see here)|
|This is a true jungle, with no established trails, and a lot of weird growth. The bad thing is, you are spending so much time working your way through, that Scrappy is ahead of you playing "Scrappy's choice"...|
|..and that means he goes one way, sees you struggling, comes back, and gets tangled. And when you catch up and attempt to untangle him, he's moving on to the next tangle.|
|When we finally fought our way out, this is what we faced...|
|And here, on the way home, we see more of those robins that have left the area.|
|In the spring and summer, this is a lovely little duck-filled inlet along the IPFW tree-walk. Now, not so much.|