Taking One for the Team

I believe I’ve mentioned before that the parent company of my employer requires us to pitch in and help out from time to time. We are required to work at two warehouse sales per year (if we travel for the company, otherwise, we are on for all three sales). In addition to this, we are required to assist in the warehouse or call center in December. Since I have not had previous call center training, I’m on warehouse duty.

Until yesterday my warehouse duty consisted of checking packages before they were shipped out to customers. While it can be physically taxing (some of the boxes are full of heavy books), and I pretty much hurt my back every year, I’ve resigned myself to it. Yesterday, though, I was required to do “picking” (no, not noses or wedgies). This involved waiting for boxes to come off a conveyer belt, checking the slip, retrieving the item, plunking in the box, and shoving the box back onto the conveyer belt. Not terribly complicated, but not exactly what I went to university for either.

The first three hours were pretty slow. I was just about to pat myself on the back when the onslaught began. All of the sudden, large boxes were flying at me. The last hour I think we had about 150 large boxes come off the conveyer belt. Unfortunately the conveyer belt does not handle the large boxes very well, and so the line kept jamming. Boxes crashed into each other, and one or two even fell off the line. People were telling me to reset the line constantly, which would have been fine, if I’d known how to do it. Then the guy who was opening up the boxes of stuff went on break without leaving me with enough stinky ugly doormats to put in the boxes. So for ten minutes or so, until some people who actually work in the warehouse realized that something was going wrong came to help me, boxes were just piling up, and the conveyer belt was jamming ,and I was saying the “eff” word a lot.

Even though three people wound up helping me, and we were rushing around like proverbial headless chickens, we were still backed up when it was time for me to go. The bell dinged, I said, “Bye,” and then I went to leave. There was just one problem. I could barely walk. It took me forever to get back to my desk, and when I got there I couldn’t sit down. My back was one big zone of pain. I had two more hours to work, but there was no way I could sit for two hours to do it. Before I could drive home, I had to take four Advil to loosen my back up enough to make the trip (I would apologize for the reckless driving, but see post on Hummers below). Once home, I took a forty-five minute hot shower, used the shiatsu massager I got last year after warehouse duty, and then applied a hot water bottle. I fell asleep in my comfy chair at 7:30 and was in bed at 8:00 (not normal). When the alarm went off at 7:00 this morning, I was stunned. I slept for another hour before hauling my sorry ass out of bed.

I feel like an old lady today. I’m sitting up ramrod straight, and it hurts to turn my head. I got myself put back on checking for next week, and if I feel so much as a twinge, I’m going home. The team does not get my back.

11 responses to “Taking One for the Team

  1. may i suggest a good massage?

  2. I’d love one. I’ll bill the company.

  3. Ok they will have to pay my mileage as well unless you want to travel. ;)

  4. I feel like an old lady today also. Get one of them brace thingys for working, I worked warehouse with a bloke with a bad back, not the best line of work for that. Now a days you need to go to college to work in McD’s.

  5. I hear ya on this one! On 12/21/06 I will again stand outside of freakn Wal-Mart ringing a bell beside the little red bucket! Why the Salvation Army thinks standing in front of Wal-Mart will garner the much-needed dough still confuses me. Hello! Many of the people going into Wal-Mart need help from the Salvation Army!

  6. I can picture you in the picking line–we’ve got a warehouse with a pretty involved distribution system, but the only time we enlist the nonwarehouse employees is inventory time, and that only happens once a year.

  7. Rich, anything to make my poor back feel better.

    Knudsen, I’m sorry you feel like an old lady. Feeling like an old lady sucks. I don’t want a back brace. I want to get out of warehouse duty.

    Yetta, they have people standing outside of Wal-Mart for that? You are right–that’s insane. Hit up the cheapies? If there were fewer Wal-Marts more people in this country would have jobs and wouldn’t need the Salvation Army. Oh well… Have fun freezing your ta-tas off.

    Robyn, you don’t want to picture me in that line. I was not at my best. I was mean. I think your company has a better policy.

  8. Sassy, it happens to me every year too-the warehouse back pain. By Tuesday eve I’m sort of hobbling around at least until Thursday or so. Last year it was bad enough that I was seeing a physical therapist and she gave me a note saying I wasn’t supposed to be lifting anything heavy. I’m not sure which is worse for one’s back-checking is pretty awful because of having to lift boxes full of concordances up over the lip of the conveyor. But picking is pretty bad too because you are moving and twisting and bending constantly. Like four hours of not-good-for-you aerobics.

    Things I have found that help: Bayer Aspirin Back and Body Pain. Hot showers and baths. Heating pads-go to a drugstore and look for those ones that have a sticky side to them and heat up with you rip open the packaging-they have ones for various parts of the body, but the ones I get are just little squares. Stick one of those pads right onto your skin (it says not too but I’ve never had any sort of burn from them-tough skin) where your back hurts. They provide heat for up to 6 hours and that will keep you loose all day. If you can stand the smell, put BenGay cream on at night and sleep with it.

    Also, try acupuncture. It’s awewsome.

    Worst case scenario: get a doctor’s appt. and tell them you just need a note to get out of warehouse duty.

  9. Before Girl, I like your last suggestion the best. The whole thing is just so stupid. The warehouse people can’t help me in August when I really need it, so why do I have to help them? Same boat, my bum.

  10. Last time I put my back out, I walked around with a stick for a week or so.
    It was brilliant!
    I got given seats on trains and the tube; people gave me loads of pavement space in the rush hour, and workmates made me coffee and fetched food for me.
    I’m thinking of doing it again sometime but without the bother of putting my back out first.

  11. it’s all in the hands my dear Sassy. the hands will cure your back problems. Massage massage and more massage.

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