Haslet CamperForce Mid-season Update

Flashback photo: The elementary school in Leadville with broody mountains behind

Flashback photo: The elementary school in Leadville with broody mountains behind

Five and a half weeks gone at Amazon, five and a half more to go – time for a mid-season status report. Wondering what this CamperForce thing is all about? You can find the comprehensive About Amazon’s CamperForce post here.

Overtime has been scarce at the Haslet site so far, a stark contrast to last year where voluntary 50 hour weeks started the third week in October. As mentioned in a previous post, all campers were put into the ICQA (inventory control, quality assurance) department this year, and ICQA has had no overtime opportunities so far, and no word on if or when overtime will come.

It’s theoretically peak season for Inbound right now (Receive, Stow), but the volume of product coming into the warehouse is not what it was last year. I’m not sure about Receive, it being in a different part of the building than I work, but Stow is on 44 hour weeks (11 hour days). Some campers have been cross-trained into Pick or Stow (I’ve been training in stow the past two days), but as we’re still in the ICQA department, most managers aren’t giving their stow cross-trained campers the overtime hours. Pick has no overtime as of yet, but Outbound peak doesn’t kick off until the day after Thanksgiving.

There’s been a lot of speculation among campers about why the hours are so much lower this year from last year. Of course none of us temps really know what’s going on, but here’s my theory:

  • Last year the north half of the building was not in use and empty when we started arriving in August. Us campers in Receive had to bring in a lot of product to fill that half of the warehouse in time for Outbound peak, and this is the largest Amazon warehouse by square foot in the US, so there was a LOT of product needed to fill it up. In turn, campers in ICQA had to work extra hours to make sure all that new product being put on shelves was in good shape and being stowed accurately. Once it was filled up, Amazon only needed to bring in enough product to replace what was sold, so it’s a steady flow coming in this year instead of a massive flood.
  • Three new warehouses opened up in the DFW area since last peak, and they’re likely taking some of the pressure from this one. I heard last year by Thanksgiving the building was over 110% capacity for product. When the pods get that full, productivity drops because stowers have to take more time to find space for each item, and pickers have to spend more time hunting around in the bin trying to find the item they need. It probably saves Amazon money to not fill the building past capacity.

Otherwise, this year has not differed significantly from last year in my opinion, although a few of my fellow work-campers say otherwise. My first year doing CamperForce I noticed how big of an impact the leadership you’re working under has on how you perceive your experience and that hasn’t changed. Few of the same people are around from year to year, I’ve never been under the same manager twice. My area manager this season is inexperienced (most of them are) but rather easy-going, which makes for an easy season.

If the overtime situation changes or any new developments arrive, I’ll let you all know.

There isn’t much to report on the home front. A couple weeks ago, new washers and dryers arrived at Boyd RV park, that’s about the most noteworthy thing that’s happened. The hot and humid weather finally broke last week after a few overcast and rainy days and it’s been more comfortable since then. If this continues, I may go somewhere next weekend and spend some time outside.

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  1. Mary on December 27, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I have a question regarding having a pet and working? I am going to be 58 and really considering hitting the road:) I would have to work so what would you do with your dog while working? I love my dog:)

    • Becky on December 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Look for jobs that give you a long enough lunch break to go back to the RV and let the dog out, or look for a pet-sitter in the campground you’re going to be staying in. I know plenty of people with dogs who work-camp, it’s certainly doable!

  2. Cindy on December 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Ok thanks for the information. Cindy

  3. Cindy on December 5, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Hi Becky,
    Great blog! I just joined few weeks ago. I have been learning from all you have written. I was wondering if anyone at the campsite for Amazon is around to walk dogs during day? Like if I am working. Ever hear of that available?
    Thanks Cindy

    • Becky on December 7, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Often yes Cindy, although there’s no guarantee as it depends on who’s camping and if someone has the time and inclination to walk dogs. Usually there will be a spouse of a work-camper who doesn’t do Amazon and instead is willing to walk worker’s dogs, but again it’s never a guarantee. There are several campgrounds that host CamperForce workers per job site too and there may not be a walker at all of them. Best bet is to try to meetup with others who are going to do Amazon ahead of time on Facebook or whatever (where one of them is willing to walk dogs) and try to get in the same campground as them.

  4. ~Barbara on November 16, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Hi Becky,
    I have been following for a while and am here in Tenn working in Amazon and am finding the same here for work…..overtime just started this week and lots of VTO given. I am working in Pack.

    • Becky on November 16, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks for sharing Barbara, that’s all three sites reporting low overtime this year.

  5. Damian on November 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Where ya headed after Texas?

    • Becky on November 16, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Phoenix to hang with a friend for a week near Ajo/Organ Pipe, then Quartzsite.

  6. Kent on November 15, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Interesting. Pretty astute observations and sounds like good planning on your part with regard to not expecting the OT in your budget.

    Hey, one good thing I suppose. Amazon hasn’t moved shipping to Mexico.

    • Becky on November 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Yeah, I’ve found that being cautious with my budget helps a lot with the variables of seasonal work.

      Two day shipping from Mexico would be hard to pull off.

  7. Lynn on November 14, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Same way in Campbellsville, KY. No overtime yet and giving a lot of VTO days. Also giving people other jobs to do because we run out of work. Not good. Hopefully, will change during peak.

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Sorry to hear that Lynn. I remember 2013 was slower than expected too, less overtime. Less holiday shopping that year. There’s still time for things to turn around.

  8. Furry Gnome on November 14, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Can’t believe it’s half over already!
    Furry Gnome recently posted..Bird FeedersMy Profile

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Me either! Although I’m glad as I’m looking forward to this winter’s adventures!

  9. pictionary on November 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    thanks for update, I was waiting for it πŸ™‚

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      You’re welcome Pictionary!

  10. Jodee Gravel on November 14, 2016 at 8:53 am

    No overtime is a mixed bag I’m sure! Never a good thing to plan on financially. Hope the experience continues to be a good one. Can’t believe you’ve already been there over a month πŸ™‚
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..A Beautiful Day in FredericksburgMy Profile

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Well, when budget planning I always assume that I’ll only get 40 hours because you just never know, actually I always assume on the low end of the spectrum for income and the high end of the spectrum for spending and that way I never end up in trouble.

      Yes, the season is going pretty quickly! Looking forward to hitting the road again next month, my feet are itching!

  11. Dan on November 14, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I think that the three new warehouses in the DFW area have greatly impacted your workload. With Thanksgiving and Black Friday/Monday a couple of weeks away, you might start to get busy this week as we move into the shopping season.
    Personally, I think that the economy has affected everyone. Wages and hours are down, as well as full-time work is harder to find. I just don’t see the crowds in the stores or at the mall, that we had last year at this time.
    Hope that you are able to get more hours, and also find time to relax and get away for some exploring!

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      I do have plans to drive into Fort Worth on Thursday, that’ll be fun!

  12. MnDreamer on November 14, 2016 at 5:01 am

    I hope the time flies for you, and you are soon off to new adventures!

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks Mn!

  13. Ron on November 13, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for the update, you are right, pretty uneventful. Ron

    • Becky on November 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      You’re welcome Ron.

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