Beet Harvest vs Amazon Comparison

So, now that I’ve been working here at Amazon for a few weeks, it’s time to compare 2 non-traditional workamping jobs.

At the sugar beet harvest, I was a piler operator. That paid at the high end of the range for the seasonal workers. It required a lot of concentration and attention to detail. The most physically demanding part of the job was standing for the entire shift. Being in the cab of a million dollar piling machine I was largely protected from the weather although it did still get cold in the cab. I was responsible for the machine itself, the ground crew and the trucks arriving to offload their beets.

Here at Amazon I’m a picker. I carry a hand-held scanner which tells me where to go and what product to pick out of a bin to put in my tote. As long as I follow the directions on the scanner and apply some common sense, I stay out of trouble. It’s a very fast paced environment. To meet the productivity goals I estimate I’m walking at a 6 mph pace between bins or different warehouse locations. When I power walk for exercise, my pace is usually between 3 and 4 mph for 1 or 2 hours. My shifts at Amazon are 10 hrs right now and will bump up to 12 hrs as we get closer to Christmas.

There are other, less mobile, jobs available at Amazon. The folks who take the product from the loading docks and put it in the bins don’t spend as much time walking. They take large stow carts to a location and work that location until the cart is empty. The packers are the ones who actually put your merchandise into mailing packages. They are stationary for the entire shift, but just standing on concrete can really break you down. I’m not sure if they’re allowed to have some type of cushioning mat to stand on.

As an added bonus for RVers, Amazon picks up the camping tab at nearby campgrounds. I’m at an RV park directly across the street from the warehouse so I can walk to and from work although others in the park elect to drive everyday. My guess is that it’s a half mile round trip from my site to the warehouse door. But working at Amazon is not for everyone. My first neighbors here in the RV park were a couple in their late 60s/early 70s. At the end of their first 5 hr conditioning shift, they quit. The next folks on the site, another couple considerably younger left sometime during their first week. I’m sure Amazon loses a lot of people that way

So far, I’m doing OK. I’ve had to make some adjustments to what I wear and some nights I hobble back up the hill to my RV. Hopefully I’ll be able to survive the next 4 weeks with all the overtime and qualify for the end of season bonus, then rest up a lot in sunny Florida.


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