17+ Secrets An Ex Amazon Employees Revealed

1. Size of the warehouses

A Rare Peek Inside Amazon's Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine | WIRED

Image Source/ Wired

What do you imagine when you think of an Amazon warehouse? How big do you imagine it to be? Well, you might think about it as a huge metal cage the size of a football field. But you’ll be shocked to find that not many actually look like that and most warehouses are smaller.

2. Prioritising Prime orders

What is Amazon Prime? Everything you need to know - Android Authority

Image Source/ Android Authority

Those who’ve subscribed to Amazon Prime will be pleased to know that your order is actually prioritised. Usually, Prime orders are pushed out within 15 minutes of the order actually being placed. Staff work around the clock to ensure that next day delivery is met.

3. Picking quotas

Amazon Employees

Image Source/ About Amazon

The Amazon picking staff are faced with unreasonably high picking quotas. One of the former employees stated that he was picking 120+ items per hour at his peak, which was quite hard considering some items were about a quarter of a mile apart from each other.

4. Amazon robots

Amazon now has 200,000 robots working in its warehouses

Image Source/ Robotics and Automation

Did you know that Amazon are actually working on a way to have all your order picked and packed robotically. For now, it’s still human staff workers that pick up the slack, but Amazon have stated how they intend to automate the process. Not good for workers!

5. Sex toys

How an Amazon Package Travels From the Factory to Your Front Door

Image Source/ Business Insider

Did you know that the amount of sex toys that are actually bought each day is quite high. Supposedly, one in every fifty purchases made are sex toys. Considering how many orders are placed, this must mean that a lot of sex toys are getting bought each day.

6. Picker scanner

Amazon offers bonuses to attract 20,000 temporary staff - BBC News

Image Source/ BBC

As soon as you place your order it gets directed through to a picker’s scanner. From there, they read the item number and locate it in the warehouse, before scanning it and having it packed. Seems a pretty efficient way to work, and is almost instant.

7. Security

Amazon holding vaccination event for thousands of workers at fulfillment center south of Seattle – GeekWire

Image Source/ Geek Wire

Security at Amazon warehouses is pretty strict. Given the countless number of employees, theft is something that the company takes extremely seriously. This involved having security check points and requiring people to leave certain personal items at the door.

8. Disorganised warehouse

How algorithms run Amazon's warehouses - BBC Future

Image Source/ BBC

Taking a first glance at an Amazon warehouse you would realise that the way that it is organised looks completely random, but is done on purpose. By keeping similar looking items away from each other, it reduces the risk of the pickers taking the wrong item.

9. Hiring process

Amazon warehouse workers doing “back-breaking” work walked off the job in protest - Vox

Image Source/ Vox

According to ex-employees, the hiring process at Amazon is actually not very difficult to get through. Some people have said that they found it surprisingly easy, and vacancies are often advertised on Craigslist and Kijiji. Not sure if this is good or bad!

10. Robot colleagues

New robots—smarter and faster—are taking over warehouses | The Economist

Image Source/ The Economist

In their period of taking to automatic robots, a lot of the colleagues of human pickers will be little robots wondering the building. They take the burden off the workers. Stowers would load the robots of objects and the robots would then drive them to the packers.

11. Robot health and safety

Amazon now has 100,000 warehouse robots | Daily Mail Online

Image Source/ Daily Mail

If you’re wondering how workers manage to avoid the robots then listen up. The only people that are trained to approach the robots are robot technicians. If an object falls, only technicians are allowed to approach and sort the issue. If a worker does, then it is instant dismissal.

12. Medication vending machines

Amazon warehouse in Troutdale: logistical marvels and persistent worker complaints - oregonlive.com

Image Source/ Oregon Live

Working in an Amazon warehouse requires a lot of physical work, bending, lifting, moving. So, instead of just packing their vending machines full of candy and chips, Amazon have introduced medication into the machines. Advil, Tylenol and Tums are just a few of the free pills.

13. Reading gift notes

Birmingham student finds message from Amazon worker | Daily Mail Online

Image Source/ Daily Mail

Packers are tasked with printing off all of the gift notes and putting them in the orders. One of the ex-employees stated that they didn’t ever read gift notes as they felt it was an invasion of privacy, but that they knew other packers did read them.

14. Digital manager

Amazon warehouse workers in the US are required to wear masks again - The Verge

Image Source/ The Verge

A lot of workers in the warehouses are paired with their very own Zebra, a handheld scanner. The scanner collects data from the worker and if they deem them to be slacking, an alert would go straight to their manager. This feels almost like a constant surveillance camera.

15. Strange packaging

Amazon's latest warehouse machine demonstrates the slow drip of automation - The Verge

Image Source/ The Verge

Sometimes, your orders from Amazon can end up in packaging you didn’t expect. Protein bars can come in a soft envelope, or small items in an oversized box. Well, it’s not the employees fault, and they just have to go off what the system tells them to do.

16. Break Times

Photos: Inside an Amazon fulfillment center, masked up and spaced apart during COVID-19 – GeekWire

Image Source/ Geek Wire

Employees aren’t too happy with the breaks you get at Amazon. Strictly allocated to 30 minute or 15 minute intervals, they’re often very restricting in what you can actually do. Plus at the big warehouses, it takes a good five minutes to get to the break room!

17. Spotting

Jobs at Amazon

Image Source/ Jobs at Amazon

Some Amazon warehouses employees have to have a spotter. Trailer yards can have 20 to hundreds of trailers in them and safety precautions are a must. For this reason, workers are often required to have a spotter with them. This is so you don’t get hit with a trailer.

18. Countdown timer

Rushed Amazon warehouse staff pee into bottles as they're afraid of 'time-wasting'

Image Source/ The Sun

Some employees have a countdown timer. Called takt time, it requires the worker to grab an item within 6 and a half seconds of it appearing on screen. Sometimes, items can take up to 30 seconds to retrieve, so the target hardly seems achievable.

19. Competitions

Amazon boss, 35, dies of coronavirus as three whistleblowing colleagues are fired for demanding more protection

Image Source/ The Sun

Workers are often involved in time-based competitions with each other to boost morale and productivity. Different warehouses call it different things such as Power Hour or King of the Hill. You can win Amazon Bucks which you can use to get Amazon gear.

20. Kitty litter

10 Clever Alternatives to Cat Litter | Pet Keen

Image Source/ Pet Keen

Apparently, although the robots do a lot of the heavy lifting, workers still get annoyed about the heavy items that consumers order. Usually these are the cat litter and dog food bags which can be quite big. They’re tiresome to drag around the warehouse.

21. Isolating

Amazon says it will hire 100,000 extra staff | Financial Times

Image Source/ Financial Times

It’s not surprise that Amazon workers have spoken out about how isolating the workplace can be. They sometimes have to go really long periods of time without talking to anyone. Managers are usually around during the training, but once that’s over it’s silent.

22. Japanese

Union leaders in Japan say Amazon is weaponizing bogus performance metrics to weed them out - Rest of World

Image Source/ Rest of World

Amazon has utilised certain tenets of Japanese logistics and because of this they have incorporated certain elements of the Japanese language into the workplace. Andon (a processing mistake) and Gemba (the worksite) are just two of the words used.

23. No Amazon Prime

How to Cancel Amazon Prime and Get a Refund

Image Source/ How-To-Geek

Contrary to popular belief, Amazon employees do not get Prime for free. However, one thing they do get is a $100 a year discount code that they can use on items sold directly by Amazon. Better than nothing but I bet they can do a lot better than that.

24. The mascot

Peccy is the mascot you didn't know Amazon had

Image Source/ Fast Company

Believe it or not there is actually a mascot dotted about the Amazon warehouses. Peccy is their mascot and is the face of pins given to employees as rewards. The blob has become a hit among the employees and they often collect the pins they are rewarded.

25. Horror stories

Amazon warehouse workers reveal horror stories, including one with impaired vision | Daily Mail Online

Image Source/ Daily Mail

When you hear of the Amazon warehouses you think of inhumane and hellish conditions. You’ll be surprised to find out that not all employees describe the workplace this way. They say that it is hard work but that the conditions were just on par with most other warehouses.

26. Bubble wrap

Amazon Bubblewrap Is Making Lots of Money - The Atlantic

Image Source/ The Atlantic

Amazon workers described how when the machine that dispensed bubble wrap would dispense too much, the workers took the liberty of popping the bubble wrap themselves for a bit of entertainment. When you work in such a repetitive job, I would do the same.

27. Cafeteria

What can you eat at the 'Amazon Warehouse Cafe'? I went to the Amazon Tochigi fulfillment center cafeteria of curry 1 plate 200 yen - GIGAZINE

Image Source/ Gigazine

Given that their breaks were extremely short and microwaves were limited, a lot of fights broke out between amazon employees during their break periods. In order to try and buy and heat and eat their food as fast as possible they couldn’t wait for each other.

28. Nurse’s office

What Amazon's Black Friday shift is like for workers - Vox

Image Source/ Vox

Some Amazon warehouses actually have a nurse’s office. It’s very similar to that of the school’s nurse’s office. If you go with an injury, you’re usually given ice and aspirin. They can’t really treat you much further than that. Can’t tell if this is a red flag or not.

29. Problem Solver

Amazon Employs People to Tweet Positively About Warehouse Conditions

Image Source/ Business Insider

Problem Solver is actually one of the job titles used in the Amazon warehouse. If a packer screws up on the assembly line, then the machine knows so. After weighing each package, it will call for a problem solver if there is a discrepancy in the weight of the product.

30. Crazy orders

Amazon warehouse worker on the Christmas crush: 'You have to have stamina' – GeekWire

Image Source/ Geek Wire

Think about all the orders that go through Amazon each day, there is bound to be some crazy ones. Apparently stand-up life-size Justin Biebers were a thing for a very long time. And of course, as mentioned before, the sell a LOT of sex toys, making the workers coy.