I’m No Chicken

Let’s get one thing straight; I am not afraid of hard work. In past lives I’ve been a waitress, a housekeeper, a barista, and even worked in a data-entry sweat shop. When I was a kid I cleaned my neighbor’s house, washed cars and sold avocados in the neighborhood, just to make extra money.

So when I took this job at the factory of the Great Satan*, I knew the work was going to be hard. And it has. Still, I really don’t mind the fact that this job involves working Lucy-style (sans cute uniforms) on a conveyor belt line, moving huge bins of cheap plastic crap around with my arms and pallet jacks. Every day is a physical wipeout, but I still ride my bike to work to energize me in the morning, and burn off steam at night.

But what’s really pissing me off about this gig is the lousy way the workers get treated by the temp agency that runs the show for Satan (in fact, almost everyone who works at the factory is a temp; Satan outsources just about every job). We are talked down to, lied to, given no consideration or respect whatsoever. Everyone lives in fear of individual job production quotas, and management reminds you on the hour if you’re meeting them or not.

Note original post date: November, 2009.

UPDATE: Discover the new and improved Amazon CamperForce.

In the early 90s when jobs were scarce, I played “The Temp” in offices around San Francisco. Back then, I thought I was treated like crap. But this recession is so much worse, and it seems that with so many out of work people, temp agencies are exploiting the situation like never before. At least this one is. I can’t ever recall being treated with such disrespect by an employer.

I keep telling myself; stick it out, this gig is only temporary. I thank Dog I have the resources to move on after 12/23.

*About “the Great Satan” . . . apparently I signed a Non Disclosure Agreement that bans me from badmouthing this certain company. Well, I’m not sure if I signed or not, there were so many forms when I got hired, so to play it safe, from here on out my new boss is going to be known as The Great Satan.

17 thoughts on “I’m No Chicken”

  1. Sorry to hear this Rene, that really sucks. I’ve heard that NV just sucks period for the average working stiff. Its one of the Right To Work states.

    Buy on eBay from some Mom and Pop trying to make a living.

  2. It almost seems like you work for a different company than we do. The night shift people are great. Everyone is smiling and helpful. My trainers, while not the best at training, are very nice and act like they care about your progress.

    Not saying its all fun and games. The work, when its there, keeps you moving. If we have lots of orders, I am usually red faced and sweating trying to get it all done. But, the good thing about that is that flies. I can’t believe that time had moved that quickly when I am in a “zone” and they say its break time.

    Also, you know what think about them sending people home…. not nice.

    I hope you guys had a nice weekend in the desert. Maybe we can go bowling or something soon. Or shooting. Or?

    • I’ve heard the same thing from my neighbor who works nights, the night shift is very different. My other neighbors here, a couple who works the same shift I do, shares my sentiments about the day shift. The three of us have even been “written up” for not meeting quotas or being up to par.

      There’s something about the night shift that I guess attracts a different crowd. Maybe they have to be nicer to keep people there during those hours?

  3. Sorry to hear things aren’t going well. I guess as always it’s best to buy local – from the little guys. It’s good to hear about the inside from you.

    • You’re right Kim, it IS better to buy local. In a future post I’ll talk about the insane amount of resources it takes to shop online at Satan’s Castle, for just one little thing you can get at the local hardware store or someplace like that.

  4. A sickening report. I feel like you are an undercover agent revealing the evil inner guts of this celebrated company.

    Probably a good idea that you aren’t naming The Great Satan. Because these new details of unnamed company are certainly discouraging my desire to buy books from them.

    What you are writing is interesting to read, but it is also important to reveal.

    Great post,


  5. wow, I never realized that the Great Satan is just like Hell Mart~ I am so sorry to hear about the horrible treatment you are getting there.

    Now I am really thinking of not purchasing from them any longer~

  6. Workers of the World UNITE!
    On Strike SHUT it DOWN!
    Huelga! Huelga! Huelga!

    My deepest sympathies to those who are truly trapped in jobs like this. The Great Satan is clever, is he not? How can temps go on strike? You probably had to sign something saying you would never do such a thing. I sincerely will never shop at or through the Great Satan ever again. Kickbacks or not…..

    Codie Rae’s mom

    • It makes me so sad to think that unions can’t break into this world of temps and outsourcing manufacturing labor. It ‘s so badly needed in places like this. For example, there are NO chairs in the warehouse. Nobody sits, ever. You wanna sit, go sit on your break in the breakroom. You have 15 minutes for a break, but it’s a 6 minute round trip, so hurry up and relax!

  7. So sorry your Great Satan is so inhumane. One reason we choose to return to Coffeyville is because of the wonderful way we are treated by Express Pro here. Mark and Kym are polite, respectful, encouraging, friendly and treat you like favorite relatives! Mark hires “coaches” that are on duty for all shifts to be a liason between the workers and amazon.com, who walk the plant and check in with each person to make sure all is well. Amazon folks are inclusive, very friendly, pleasant, fun-loving, caring – couldn’t be nicer, really. We all get along very well.

    We have had many people leave the last week or so. They say they knew the work would be hard but not THIS hard. Well, the film on the website here shows it like it is and everyone tells you that it is very physically taxing, but some people just didn’t understand, I guess. The majority of the workampers in Coffeyville are over 60 years old and it is harder on us “seniors”.

    The first three weeks are very hard, but once you get conditioned it is manageable. We will stick it out and see how long we can go.

    Enjoy reading your blog and comparing your experience in Nevada to ours here in Kansas.

    • Bobbie, I have heard good things about the Express people. It seems like with Reno being the main labor pool, the agency here just has so many people to choose from, so they don’t have to be nice if they don’t want to.

      You’re right, the work IS hard. But if the people running the show are nice and respectful, it can make the job a whole lot more enjoyable. It was like that for Jim and I when we worked at Vickers Ranch in CO for the last 2 summers. Yeah, the housekeeping sucked, but I worked with great people who made the time go by fast and the job not so icky. Here in Fernley, a smile is a rare thing in the warehouse, nobody seems to like working there, they’re just there because they need the money.

      Thanks so much for reading!

  8. Wow…I have so many comments but that involve many wordy-dirts, insults, and general ill-regards about the way that some employers treat their employees, that perhaps it is better for me to say almost nothing. James was fired from a big box for not meeting his sales quotas in the midst of this second great depression, after he worked there a year and a half and did well until the housing market tanked. Fortunately i had gotten my job with better health insurance so his job loss was not the end of the world for us, but certainly left me bitter after the TERRIBLE way he was treated. I do however thumb my nose at then every week when his unemployment check comes in the mail. Anyway, I will say that I am sorry that the great Satan has chosen to treat his minions with such an utter lack of respect. Hopefully his workers will teach him a thing or two about how to catch more flies with honey….


Leave a Comment