Reader K.D., the Big Kahuna, suggested we discuss Kat’s Amazon experience, so we shall. They gave Kat her last day notice: it’s Thursday, December 19. She survived the fifty and sixty hour weeks, the diet of sack lunches, and the ten to thirteen miles of walking every work day. She figured out a solution to her foot and leg pain (new insoles), worked through the hand and shoulder pain, and got it done. Everybody here is worn out. It’s like the end of football season, except that the linemen and backs are mostly over 60 and some are over 70. But hey, we’re all glad to have a job.
Campbellsville is not a bad little town. There is no sales tax on grocery purchases, and nearly everybody here works cheap. I got twenty minutes of auto body work done for $20, and the owner of the shop only asked for $10. The 60,000 mile maintenance on the Red Sled cost less than $250 at a dealership. Pink was groomed for under $50. The police are not predatory, and tend to be peacekeepers. The churchmen are aggressively friendly (we were invited to three revivals and a couple of fund-raiser dinners.)
On the other side of the coin, there is a 2% county income tax with no deductions or exemptions. You have to drive eight miles to buy high priced beer or wine. And did I mention aggressive churchmen?
Kat has not seen any of Amazon’s drones. They don’t yet exist, and who has a backyard big enough to land one anyway? Military drones are flown by humans; it’s risky to trust a costly aircraft to computers to pilot based solely on maps, GPS, and on board radar. Kat is bound by an oath of omerta to reveal nothing of the inner workings of this distribution center; no one is allowed to bring in a camera or cell phone. But it’s old technology, so I will spill the beans. Bar code rules the world and drives your picks and where to go to get them. If it’s not there they fall back on old Homo sapiens to figure out where your pick target is and why it ain’t where it’s supposed to be. Robots will do all of this one day, but that day won’t happen before next year. I figure that won’t happen for another five to seven years. Computer programmers don’t work cheap. Robot repair guys won’t work cheap. Drone pilots don’t work cheap. Only workkampers work cheap.
We’ll see you here next September.
2 thoughts on “End of the Cycle at Amazon”
Ha ha. Thanks for the shout-out, and for the details here on Amazon, and more. 🙂
Wow. Those are some brutally long days and weeks, no matter one’s age.
All that walking, and other physical labor, sounds tough, too.
As an Amazon customer, a special thanks to Kat, you, and all other workampers out there.
What year is it in Campbellsville, or at least at the auto shop and pet grooming place? 😉
Can’t say I’m surprised that Amazon still uses a system with barcodes. It works.
It is also not surprising that they are high on confidentiality. A Corporate Cone of Silence?
It’s a highly competitive, and sometimes paranoid, world out there for places like Amazon.
The drone idea is wrong on so many levels. Even if the FAA and FCC ever okayed it, the logistics are a nightmare.
Tall buildings, power lines, trees, other air traffic, the list goes on.
Then, there is the safety factor around humans alone.
It’s more likely that, until we can teleport, there will be even more sophisticated 3D printers (or their next evolutions), and/or some sort of complex network of pneumatic tubes in every home.
The printers and tubes will be linked up to the Internet (or whatever replaces the Internet by then), cell phones, or directly to some retailers like Amazon.
Special codes will be required to activate the printers for purchases.
Purchases can then be instantly delivered via the printers, or the tubes.
Maybe our robots can just drive to the store for us, or maybe they will also be part of the pneumatic tubes and 3D printers.
Hook the robot up to the tube or printer to receive/create our orders, and they can then bring us our purchases.
You heard it here first. 😉 😀
I don’t think low cost delivery can be uttered in the same sentence with drones. And no matter how good the technology, stuff like clothes lines, new billboards, and private aviation (maybe Fedex will fly drones too?) will present serious challenges to anything big enough to carry five pounds of sugar or electronics. And Amazon is all about low costs. That’s just what successful distribution companies have to do.