I think having been raised mainly during our
country’s seventies period of civil disobedience,
fighting for civil and women’s rights, I tend to
question authority. Having spent some time in my
life, generally acting like a ‘hippie,’ I tend to
not do well under authoritative bosses.
Our boss, held a big meeting about safety last week.
We convened in the largest ‘conference’ room with
both heavy bulk and the bin order fillers together.
This is rare, since we all have divergent focuses
and different ‘dangers’ attached to our jobs. We
also, traditionally during the past five years of
my employment, been ‘at odds’ with one another.
My safety concerns are protecting my body from
lifting and pushing hampers on lines or pushing
a cart filled with hampers. I also am not too
crazy when they stock things far above my head
that are heavier than ten pounds. I am fine,
using my ‘lifting pose’ with my legs apart and
using their muscles to heave fifty pounds up
onto the rollers or onto a cart, from waist-high
shelving or lower.
As we entered the room, we had lined up, written our
names on lined sheets with complicated information
that I noticed some of the employees needed to check
their name tags for. Two forms of identification,
which include a four digit number, mine is easy to
remember: 2347 and then, a longer ‘code’ which is
367650. The second one, sometimes with six numbers
catches some of our simpler minded people or older
ones. That ‘job’ completed, we sat on metal folding
chairs with a pencil and a ditto. Some use their legs
to answer the questions before we even watch any type
of movie. I laughed and elbowed my friend, Tammy,
because as soon as the lights went out, one of the
older guys leaned back and fell promptly asleep!
His name is Vincent and I always call him, “Vince”
or his whole name, but there are some who call him
“Vinnie” which always makes me giggle, thinking of
Vinnie Barbarino. Yes, that tells you what kind
of silly stuff I used to watch; “Welcome Back,
Kotter.” (John Travolta was cute in those days!)
That made me ‘wax nostalgic,’ for a few moments.
Nothing like the lights going out, to get you
Then, the different crises situations were played
out, like if someone would somehow pass the guards
and have a weapon, what we were supposed to do.
Then, if someone’s mood or attitude had recently
changed, we were told to mention this to our
supervisor, as this is “suspicious behavior.”
Anyway, you can imagine the variety of about 35
minutes of such situational choices and procedures
were shown in this safety movie to us.
When we were finished, there was time to fill out
and complete your questionnaire. Our boss asked us
if we had any concerns or safety issues.
Since practically everyone likes to take time away
from work, a deluge of inane comments and questions
began. I raised my hand, since one of the examples
given of “terrorism” was for an infiltrator, within
the work force, to get in an area where combustibles
were stored. Possibly then, due to anger or depression,
catch the explosive materials on fire.
I had a question,
“Why has there been a black garbage bag covering our
exit sign in the ‘bomb shelter?’
(This is the all concrete room, where pallet riders
pick up cases of aerosol paints and other flammable
car products below where I sometimes am placed. This
area above the riding equipment area is called the
‘Aerosol Room.’) I mentioned that Nick and Corey,
heavy bulk men, had also noticed this. It also has a
sign that says, “Do not use this exit” anymore.
“How, if there is a fire or an explosion will we
make it to the front, where the door is, or the back
of the building, where the docks are?”
The manager smiled and jotted this down, saying,
“We will check on this and thank you for bringing
Another person raised their hand and asked,
“When are they going to move the carbuerators
and other heavy things from the top shelf in
the Mezzanine? That should be considered a
‘safety issue’ since they could fall on our
heads or strain our back and shoulders.”
The manager again smiled, nodded his head,
“This has been brought up before and I will
refer the question, in an email memo, to the
cycle count and stocking people. Are there any
I gave you the only two that were pertinent to
my life, that were not just plain ‘stupid.’
A conundrum, typically, has a puzzle or a twist.
It is sometimes a complicated problem. I have
something more to tell you.
I decided on last Friday, racing around on our
half day, trying to beat Melvin and Tammy in
our best “TGIF” attitude, to write down on a
piece of paper, any products that I had to
climb the attached ladder on my cart to the
top and grab a heavy or awkwardly sized item.
I turned in about twenty products in a neatly
printed list, with their location numbers to
my boss. He told me he was going to pass it
on to his boss’ boss, Ted.
Yesterday, Ted came up to me, telling me that
many of my locations did seem to have heavy
products but they were not going out too often.
This meant, he said, that their frequency of
outgoing products did not meet the demand of
moving them. I asked if they could be moved to
the floor or second shelf level instead of the
sixth shelf. I could not (honestly) understand
why it mattered how often they went out, if
they were too heavy to hold above your head,
while climbing back down the cart’s ladder.
He also followed me to an area that I told
him and gave him two more items, that were
dangerous. They were metal couplings with
‘nipples’ on each end, looked like little
mufflers. I said that the way they were
stocked they were dangerous, as you needed
to pull them forward in bin boxes, which
given a little extra tug, come crashing
on your head!
I got dramatic,
“They are like missiles, Ted! I can see
eyes gored out or head injuries.”
This morning, Thursday, Ted came to our
morning start-up meeting, where we get our
numbers for the day, how many hours we will
working and perform our warm-up exercises.
While we were doing exercises, Ted told us,
“You are NOT to give me any more lists of
items, that were not dangerous due to low
frequency of picking.”
Several of my tablemates rolled their eyes,
raised their eyebrows or otherwise indicated
they knew he was talking about me and worried
how I would react. I was quiet at lunch and I
was silent as I drove to the library and here
is my rant:
Why ask us for our opinions if you don’t want
to know the questions! And you don’t really
want to fix the problems!
Wonder whether that dummy took the black garbage
bag off the EXIT sign yet, if the door is fixed
and we have a proper exit in case of espionage?
Ha! Wouldn’t it serve him right if I called the