If ya gotta fail… fail big?

Saturdays are quickly becoming the days that I dread at work.

First, because they don’t have trucks on weekends except during the holidays, several of the regular staff have their schedules set so that they aren’t available for them… and they don’t pull others in off the floor to replace them.

Which means we are really short staffed on truck unload, sometimes as much as half of the sort crew missing.

Second, we have a different supervisor than the rest of the week. And this one really has never seemed to like me.. or several of the other people.

Where my main supervisor will tell me I’m doing well at keeping up, this one will instead look at the same situation and just criticize my pallet building placements (Something on which we were never actually trained, just kind of got thrown in and told to do.. which is harder than it looks when the boxes are all sorts of different sizes and weights, and coming at different times.)

So, you mix the two together…. and we’re short staffed while the unloaders have the regular 4 people… meaning we are getting really backed up… which means it’s even crazier to try and get things stacked and I’m barely managing to get things grabbed and on the pallet before they have been shoved harshly down and ending up past my area.

Large crates of 8 bottles of grape juice each holding 64 oz, or cases of 6 jugs of laundry soap, are bad enough to lift when they are somewhere near where they are going. They are much more of a pain when they are past your area, meaning you have to step over things and around poles to go get them and carry them back while even more things are getting shoved past you.

Life is much much easier when the staffing is decent. When it isn’t, the job starts to really suck.

But today was especially bad.

I had three areas to cover… groceries, household chemical (laundry soap, etc), and health and beauty. Areas with lots of stuff, lots of the heaviest stuff, and lots of random sized boxes.

Probably my least favorite area, but one they keep sticking me in. Seems to be a low man on the totem pole sort of thing.

In addition to being down people on the sorting, we were also down people on pulling the pallets out to the floor.

So, I had a full pallet for one department that needed to be taken because I couldn’t stack anything more on the top and keep it stable. So I ended up with boxes on the floor beside me in a pile because I had to grab them but didn’t have anywhere for them to go.

At the same time, one of my others had been pulled… but they hadn’t brought back an empty one. Usually there are spares not too far away to be able to grab one… but they had been used, and hadn’t been replaced because the guys were behind. There were more down in another part of the back room, but being already behind, I couldn’t get away long enough to grab them without being massively behind and having way too much slide past.

And so I had those stacked on the other side waiting for a place to go too.

And so of course right about this time is when these two departments started getting slammed.

And so I’m pulling things that I have nowhere for them to go, and still behind, and one of the guys who likes to be a jerk when we get behind and shove the boxes as hard as he can where they have nowhere to go does his thing.

Most of the time, the worst that happens when he pulls this is that they jam together so hard that it makes them really hard to get your hands in to grab them, thus making it even harder to get caught back up. Occasionally if things aren’t lined up well it will make a whole section of boxes fly off the conveyor.

But neither of those happened today.

Today, I had two grocery boxes that had round items in them, so the walls of the boxes weren’t very well supported by the goods inside.

And so when he pushed, they broke from the pressure.

And so when I picked them up, I then had an entire case of cans of pringles, and an entire case of bottles of syrup, completely out of their boxes and rolling everywhere.

Only made worse by the two piles of homeless boxes.. which made it hard to even get to them to try to clean them up.

The mess was pretty huge.

It’s actually the first time I’ve seen the line stop when something has made a mess. Even when there was a large puddle of laundry soap, it just got worked around and cleaned up as it could be as life went on.

I was very near tears of frustration.

Fortunately, two of the guys did jump in to help get things back settled again.

Ironically, miss critical said nothing of the chaos… even though she was nearby at the time.

Something tells me if she has any say in who gets kept from the seasonal workers, I’m doomed. Even though several of the others don’t even have to work the truck unloads and do the hard part of the day, they just do the easier shelf stocking in the larger departments.

Days like today make me sort of hope that I don’t get kept on though. Or consider asking a doctor for a lifting restriction to get me pulled off of the line after I do get hired.

About all that I can say at this point is that I’m doing the best that I can with the circumstances I’ve got. I do ok when they are mellow, but not so much the more they get crazy.

I just wish they’d put some of the more experienced guys who roll their eyes at the newer workers into the harder places, and put those of us who are newer into the easier areas.

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