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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Amazon Recap Part II – Best and Worst

For this installment, I will share some of our favorite and not-so-favorite things about being here in Campbellsville and working at Amazon…

Bests

  • Of course, making some money which was the reason that we are here in the first place – more details to follow on that one – our last paycheck will be the first week of January, so after that I will give some details about hours worked and how much we made…
  • Another great savings has been the money we’ve saved by not having to pay site fees. Amazon pays for your site two days before your starting date through the date you are released. The information they put out says they pay for one day after, but recently we got an email that clarified that and they consider that the day only, not another night. If you want to stay longer, then you just have to make arrangements with the campground to do so. They also pay for the electric, so the only cost we have had is the propane we have gone through.
  • We have loved the people that we have met here. They are so welcoming. The people in the local businesses love the campers – I think we are probably a real boon to the local economy – especially to the restaurants because the campers do quite a bit of eating out. Every time we went out to eat, we could look around and pick out several tables with familiar faces. We also saw a lot of SD and TX license plates. :)
  • Which brings me to another thing we loved about Campbellsville – the great restaurants! And the great prices! A couple of our favorites…a little diner like place on Main Street called Happy Days. You could have a great dinner there for about twenty bucks. And another favorite – Creekside Restaurant with their all you can eat buffet and salad bar for seven dollars each.
  • We really enjoyed making friends among the other campers that were working at Amazon with us. We had a lot of fun during our shifts and towards the end, we were going out to eat pretty frequently. That’s a lot of quality time spent together. :)
  • We enjoyed the rural atmosphere of Campbellsville. It has the essentials as far as stores – Walmart, Lowes, Krogers, but it really is a pretty small town. It didn’t take long to get the lay of the land. And we heard that there are a lot of nice sightseeing opportunities around from those people who had more energy and ambition on their days off than we did.
  • We were lucky to find a great massage therapist, who turned out to be our lifesaver over the past three and a half months. She was really great and each time we went she did a wonderful job working out our kinks and tight muscles. Even though it was a big expense, I really believe that making that a priority went a long way to helping us come through these fifteen weeks feeling as good as we did.

A Mixed Bag

  • According to people who have been here before, this has been an extremely cold fall. I put this in the mixed area because even though it’s been cold, we haven’t had any snow. And only one time did we have ice. Also, even though the nights are cold – in the twenties and thirties some times, we have had a lot of days in the forties, which seems nice to us after being up in NY previous years. It will be interesting to see what the weather is like next year.
  • The campground we stayed at was also not a best or a worst. We stayed at Lakeway Campground, which was about five miles from Amazon. We did like the fact that we have a little green around us. The water, power, and sewer were good. And the owner of the campground was very nice. So those were the positives. Unfortunately, they were outweighed by the negatives….there were few amenities. There is no office or clubhouse here. We are far enough out of town that we can’t get any local channels by using our tv antenna, and there is no cable here. Since we got a lot of rain this fall, our green space turned into mud. And probably the biggest negative – the phone service sucked. We literally couldn’t make a phone call in the rig. We had to go outside and walk around trying to find a spot where the person on the other end could hear us. And it wasn’t always the same spot. When we wanted to make a phone call, we usually waited until we were in town so we didn’t have to worry about the connection. Next year we will be staying at Heartland Campground, which is right across the street from Amazon. We will be giving up the green space. But I think the positives we will get instead will be worth it.

Worsts

These are our least favorite things – in no particular order…

  • The days are long. We set our alarms for 4 am so that we can have some time to wake up and drink our coffee. At 5:30 we would head out to Amazon for a 5:55 clock-in. (You can clock in anytime from five of to five after 6, but they start the morning meeting at 6 am and everyone is really expected to be there by then. So to give ourselves time to walk to the meetup area, we always punched in at the earliest time we could.) The day ends at 4:30 pm. By the time we got ourselves together and headed home, it was 5 pm. That would give us a couple hours to eat dinner, take showers and get ready to go to bed, so we could get a good night’s sleep for the next day. So basically the work portion of the week consisted of work, eating and sleeping.
  • Once the overtime started, the weeks were long too. Campers at Campbellsville are only required to work the 50 hour mandatory overtime weeks; the 60s are optional. We aren’t sorry we made the decision to work the 60 hour weeks, and given the opportunity, we will probably do it again next year. But it made for a strange few weeks where basically life was work. From Friday the 15th of November through Tuesday the 3rd of December we had two days off. And one of those was Thanksgiving. So that was weird…and we really lost track of the days. We were glad when that period of time was over.
  • That was really when we started eating out quite a bit, which brings me to another of my least favorite things – not having time to make real meals. I am so looking forward to going to the grocery store in a few days and buying real food, instead of frozen breaded chicken and premade mashed potatoes and mac n cheese. I haven’t peeled a potato or cut up an onion for so long I can’t even remember when the last time was.
  • I think Harry minded this more than me – but punching a time clock made the list of our least favorite things. The days at Amazon are very regimented. For Inbound employees, the day starts at 6 am. First break is at 8:30 for fifteen minutes. They really don’t want you to leave early or get back late. They remind people every few weeks that the break is actually ten minutes and the other five is your walking time to get to and from the break room. That time goes by very quickly. Lunch is at 10:30 am for thirty minutes. And then the second paid fifteen minute break is at 1:30. Every day…with no changes…After a while you’re just automatically tuned in to what time it is for break and lunch.
  • And then I’ll just touch briefly on this since I’ve already blogged about it – but being in the south where there is periodic more severe weather than we are used to definitely was one of our least favorite things. And being in a campground with no buildings to go to for shelter didn’t make it any easier. We’ll see how this goes next year.

So there you have it – our “Bests and Worsts” for working for Amazon in Campbellsville, KY. :)

Hopefully ONE more day to work (still waiting for that phone call)….

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update. I don't think we would be able to keep up that schedule. I also would have been concerned about the weather. Since they are opening up a few centers in Florida, will you try to work here next year?

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    1. They don't use workampers at all locations. They addressed that question in an email newsletter earlier in the season - they only use campers in those areas where the local population doesn't have enough of a workforce to fill their seasonal needs. It didn't sound like there were any plans currently to expand beyond the three locations that already use campers - Campbellsville, KY, Fernley, NV and Coffeyville, KS.

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  2. EXCELLENT post, Jessica! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. This was the best description of the Amazon Full-timer work experience. Anyone thinking of doing this should read your post. We're glad you made it through the job and you and Harry deserve a warm and relaxing winter.. south. We wish you safe travels!

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  4. I can well understand not liking to hit a time clock. In my working career only had to do that in my very first job from 1962 to 1964. However, do realize the necessity at Amazon.

    I do have to say, I am very impressed with the efficiency of Amazon itself. I order lots of things from them (including books and games on Kindle). Never have had one problem with my orders.

    Interesting that you will be returning next year. They must be doing something right!

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  5. I admire the strength of the Amazon camp workers. I think I'm too soft anad old for it. I know Craig would never survive the early hours and I would need many more potty breaks in the morning.

    But as you said, you made some money any if that is what it takes to enjoy the rest of the year, good for you.

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    1. Yeah the early mornings aren't fun, but on the positive side, you can take those potty breaks whenever you need to...for ex, there were a couple campers who mentioned that they take fluid pills, and they were definitely trekking off to the restrooms more than just the one time when we had an official "break".

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  6. Great job on the recaps Jessica, really good info and great insight which will help us in making our decision to work at Amazon.
    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

    Les and Sue

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