Busy Season, silly season

Hello everyone! It’s me again, Makena, the blogging dog!

makena blogging 2-09-2014

Keeping my peeps informed!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I had a good turkey day, as my mom made a turkey breast in the crockpot.  I had to spend 4 long hours smelling that turkey….fortunately, a few pieces magically fell into my dish!

My parents have begun the crazy, busy season at Amazon, so I thought I would take the time to update the blog.  They have now started the 59 1/2 hour work weeks.  They were not going to do these, but then Amazon again offered a $100 VISA gift card for each week that you work it.  And they said it is only for 3 weeks, so they can suck it up!  I really don’t like it, as it makes for long days for me.

With these long days, I have been limited on my play time in the park across the street.  It is dark when they leave, and dark when they get home.  One thing I have learned from my cat friends, is how to make your owners feel guilty. You can either ignore them, or poop outside the litter box.  Since I can’t do the latter,  I have been ignoring them, with great success.   They now make it a priority to play with me on their limited time off.


I do have a dog walker, Rob, that takes me out every day for a long walk.  I really appreciate it, as I don’t like to cross my paws, even if I have four of them.  It sure would have been nice if my buddy Fred would have picked me up on the way to Florida.  That would have been great!

We did have a  major crisis recently.  The dog food that I have enjoyed for my 8 1/2 years has been discontinued!  My parents went to the pet store to look for new food, but came back empty-handed.  Apparently they were too overwhelmed with the dozens of different brands, all claiming their food was the best for your pet.  And my mom noticed many of the brands are now “grain free”.  She is a label reader, and said the grain free products are also much higher in calories.   Since I just spent the past summer working off the 1/2 pound that I gained, she was concerned about the calories.

So she e-mailed Dr. Jodie, my doctor back in Wisconsin.  She recommended Natures Variety, which offers both a grain-free and a holistic blend, which has whole grains.  So my mom placed an order with my favorite website, Chewy.com, and I had a big package to open!  Christmas came early!


Chewy to the rescue!




I must say the chicken and brown rice is super tasty!!!!  And Nature’s Variety also makes peanut butter and banana flavored dog biscuits, that are excellent!  Thanks Dr. Jodie for the recommendations, and to Chewy for super fast delivery and much better prices than that place my parents are working for.

Hopefully, we will be in Florida soon.  My parents are hoping to be done on Saturday, December 19, but they have been told to expect to work until December 23rd.  That is what they have to commit to, in order to receive their end of season bonus ($1/hour for every hour worked).  Oh well, it should go by quickly!

Take care everyone!

Quote for the Day:  “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson



Peak Season Is Approaching!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of France.  We simply cannot imagine the fear and horror that their citizens are going through.  Every day that we have, we feel blessed that we are able to do what we are doing.  We never know how much time we have, so enjoy each day.  Always try to remember what is truly important.


We have just finished week seven, and are down to “one hand” (5 weeks = 5 fingers)!  Last week, they did not have voluntary overtime available when we finished our week on Saturday.  But by Monday, the orders had picked up, and it was offered. (they have an overtime hotline telephone number that you can call).   Since we had already done 5 weeks in a row of overtime, we decided to rest, and spend more time with our dog Makena (I think she will have something to blog about soon!).  In looking back at last years calendar, we did not have any overtime until November 14, so we are already ahead of last year.

This past week, they announced that Outbound (Pickers, Packers, and Shipping) would not be offered any voluntary overtime, since they wanted everyone to rest up for peak season.   We were a little disappointed, until they announced the return of the $100 gift card incentive!  Last year, they offered an incentive that if you signed up to work 59 1/2 hours, you would receive a $100 VISA gift card. In October, the senior management team stated they might not offer that incentive this year, and said we would probably just work 55 hour weeks (five 11 hour days).

However, orders are already way up over last year in the month of November, so they are again offering this incentive.  It will be for the 3 weeks of December.  We will be able to do this for two weeks, possibly all three depending on our release day.  So we have the opportunity to earn an additional $400 (maybe $600) in addition to all the extra overtime (19 1/2 hours overtime each week, adds up$$).

Starting Black Friday, we will be starting our shift one hour earlier, and going to 11 hour work days (voluntary for the Camperforce, but mandatory for regular and temporary employees).  There are six of us in our carpool, and we all decided to take advantage of all the overtime offered.

Last week they had red and blue frosted sugar cookies for us on Veterans Day.  To all the men and women that have served, and are serving our country, we thank you!!  Especially my brothers Greg and Jerry!!

This week Amazon is providing a catered Thanksgiving meal for all their employees.  We really appreciate this, as we miss out on spending Thanksgiving with our families.  But having a meal with our fellow Camperforce (our current “family”) is something we enjoy.  And speaking of Thanksgiving, I thought we were done picking costumes, but apparently a lot of people will be dressing up as Pilgrims, based on the large number of Pilgrim costumes I have picked this week.


And finally, you may remember Amazon tried out a new sales event, Prime Day, on July 15.  Many people bashed it when the sale started, stating they did not have enough “good things” on sale.  Amazon has an employee magazine that I was reading, and they had an article on their Prime Day.  As it turned out, it was the single largest sale day ever in the history of Amazon.  34.4 million items were ordered, which equates to a rate of 398 items ordered per second!  As such, Prime Day will return again next year.

In addition to Amazon devices (Fire TV stick, Kindles and Fire Tablet), the following were the top-selling items in each country:

United States:  Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Germany and Australia:  Croc Sandals

Canada:  Huggies Diapers

France:  Monopoly boardgame

Japan:  10 day Green Smoothie Cleanse (yes, really!)

Quote for the day:  “People sure do buy a lot of crap!”  – Mary Lloyd McDonald (who is one of our carpool riders, after her first week of Picking!)

Changing from costumes to ugly sweaters

Only 54 more days until Christmas!!!

Week five, with mandatory overtime is done!  The cardboard drawers full of costumes have already switched over to ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters and ‘naughty’ Christmas sweaters.  What makes a ‘naughty’ sweater?  The carrot used for Mr. Snowman’s nose is in a different  spot, and Mrs. Snowman is ‘very happy’!  And those reindeer are playing some interesting games!!

We have also noticed some new LED sweaters, with red/blue/green  LED lights knitted into the sweater.  I love shaking the drawers to get them to ‘light up’ as I go down the aisles.  (it helps pass the time!)  It must be getting cold in some areas, because we have picked a lot of thermal underwear, gloves and winter coats this week.  Amazon sells a lot of Columbia, North Face and Carhart apparel.

By the end of the week, work had slowed down a bit, and they offered voluntary time off for an afternoon.  The regular full-time employees were excited about this, and rushed to take advantage of taking some unpaid time-off.  Since orders were slow, they moved some of us around, and I was moved to the Packing department, to do vendor returns for an afternoon.  If merchandise does not sell after a certain amount of time, Amazon sends it back to the manufacturer, or liquidates it.  I really did not like doing this, as you stand in one spot all afternoon.  I like to be moving.


We attended the monthly ‘all hands on deck’ meeting last week, where the senior management went over their expectations for peak season.  Since it coincided with the employee Halloween costume contest, the senior management was all dressed as Star Wars characters.  It was the first time I have attended a meeting run by Darth Vadar, Princess Leia and a Storm Trooper!

The meeting was very informative, and they stated this years Peak should be better than last years.  They said last year, staffing was 50% full-time Amazon employees, and 50% temporary agency staff.  This year, they are projecting 84% Amazon employees, and only 16% temporary employees.  That should alleviate a lot of the craziness that we saw last December when we came up to this facility.

They also announced we will again be switching to 11 hour days, starting on Black Friday.  Our start time will be 6:30am – 6:00pm (currently 7:30am to 6).  Camperforce is not required to do the 11 hour days.  But it is an easy way to get an extra 5 hours of overtime a week, so we will do the longer days.

And since they are not anticipating staffing problems this year, they do not anticipate needing to go to 59 1/2 hour weeks, like they did last year.  We are happy to hear that, as we like having 2 full days off.  55 hours is enough for us!

Quote for the day:  “All I want for Christmas is a really ugly sweater, said no one ever.” – unknown