Shipping Season

According to another supervisor, upper management strived mightily to keep the peons as you would mushrooms, ” in the dark and covered in bull shit!” He meant supervisors as well as the workers we supervised. Everyone was in the dark and not knowing what was going on. And it was “peak,” that time of year when our parcel system was working hardest to get your Christmas presents to you on time.

The strain was worst when Cementhead was working in the unloading area; packages, crates, and items small and items bulky would pour out of the trucks in waves. Cementhead would march around the unload like a petty general. His favorite phrase was a shouted, ” Let’s CRUSH them!!!” repeated as a litany. 

Belts moved all that volume from unloaders to sorters. The sorters picked up the packages and sent them to further destinations.

Through a miles-long system of belts, it took minutes for a package to move from where Cementhead strutted to the overworked workers at my end of the building. We loaded the Connecticut trucks going to Hartford and other locations. Your present was in our hands.

We built your present into large walls of similar gifts. We were particular about not creating columns of packages ( they’d compress as the truck moved) and tried to interlock boxes so the walls would not collapse.

Our job was compromised by Cementhead sanctimoniously exhorting his unloaders to more incredible feats of speed and volume. Eventually, the strain began to show downstream from where the petty tyrant strutted about shouting. Delicate items collapsed between less delicate ones. Poorly taped things popped open, and contents went permanently in opposing directions from their boxes.

Eventually, even a mosquito would not be able to pass through the crush of cargo. At that point, I’d climb the ladder to where a small platform allowed me to stand, barely clear of the stream of packages. I’d push and shove to get things moving and mourn for the presents that would not get delivered intact. Then, when I got back down to the trucks, I’d detail one of my loaders to get the tape and begin repairing packages, sorting lost items back to where they belonged, and putting aside the hopelessly mangled.

All this to the shouts coming over the speakers, another series of “loads” were coming. The “lull” would soon be over.

Shipping packages this season? Include a packing list and a second inside label. Please use a substantial container and securely tape it closed.