BlogJanuary 3, 2005 2:09 PM ET

what can Brown do for you?

Well, another round of holidays are over. How sad. The only people truly happy about this are people who work for UPS, FedEx, and the USPS. I know from experience.

From 1995 to 1999 I worked for UPS. I was what's known as a preloader. Essentially, I was one of the people who loaded the brown delivery trucks you see running around all day. Since those trucks leave UPS facilities at around 8:30 AM, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the people loading them get up pretty early. More specifically, my shitty hours were 3 AM to 8 AM. In the late nineties, I had no night life (except on Friday and Saturday nights) whatsoever. I used to go to bed around 9 PM every single night. Working five hours a day might seem easy, but this job was no cakewalk. It was without a doubt the most physically demanding job I've ever had. I was responsible for loading three trucks. Now this might seem simple, but every single package in a UPS truck is supposed to be in a specific place within the truck, arranged by address. We would stand along a conveyor belt, and have to pick off our respective packages, which meant that I had to know every single address that belonged in my trucks. Many streets were broken up amongst several different trucks too. So while 799 Penn Ave. belonged in my West Reading truck, 902 Penn Ave. would have to go down to the Wyomissing truck. What a pain in the ass. Moreover, certain packages designated as high priority (Next Day Air, etc.) would have to be placed in a specific part of the truck. This was difficult because you'd have to look at the tiny numbers on the barcode of every single package and see if it was an 03, 02, or 01. Again, it doesn't seem difficult. But when dozens of boxes are flowing by you at 2 MPH on a conveyor belt every minute for five hours, it can be quite overwhelming.

I would load some 3,500 packages a day. There weren't any breaks either. If I had to urinate, I would have to run out the front of the truck and piss on the parking lot, then rush back in and catch up on all of the boxes I had missed. Five hours a day on my feet running around lifting boxes, many of which were fairly heavy, was exhausting. And during Christmas season... fuck. Those damn trucks would be packed, from front to back, all the way to the ceiling. It would be like this from November through December. Horrible. And where I worked, the trucks themselves were actually outside, backed up to a building, where the conveyor belt, etc. was. Unfortunately, nothing was sealed properly, and the heater didn't work right, so it was basically like working outside in the dead of winter. I would bring in a bottle of water, and no lie, it would be frozen by the time work was done.

UPS paid pretty well I suppose, and the benefits were good, so the job wasn't a total loss. I started at like $10 and hour, with yearly raises. They had such high turnover though, because everyone hated the job. They also have one of the highest injury rates out of any company in the United States. Of the six people who started at the same time as me, I was the only one still there a month later. I eventually became a preload supervisor, where I was supposed to wear a tie every day, not touch any boxes, and supervise preloaders. Somehow though, every day I ended up still loading trucks -- helping the shitty workers, or filling in for the people who were sick. Fuck that, I quit six months after becoming a supervisor.

I was in the best shape of my life, and had saved $20,000, but I was glad to resume the simple pleasures of life, such as sleeping in a warm, cozy bed at 4 AM.


16 comments

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erwhuntle_ 1/3/2005 11:39:34 AM

first post?

d4n_ 1/3/2005 12:42:28 PM

too long no read

chemicallyimbalancedsloth_ 1/3/2005 1:25:12 PM

neato

bastardmaker_ 1/3/2005 1:44:53 PM

what a girl. did you grow up rich and spoiled i mean at least you had a job.

Hawkin_ 1/3/2005 4:04:02 PM

TLNR

Sekio_ 1/3/2005 6:52:25 PM

That sounds like a pretty shitty job! It makes me appreciate mine a little more.

StreetForce_ 1/3/2005 8:13:21 PM

every UPS store I've ever been to has been staffed by the dumbest and slowest people on earth

jesuschristsuperstar_ 1/4/2005 7:48:21 AM

where did full sail come in?

frenetic_ 1/4/2005 2:09:15 PM

i feel your pain, webby. i feel your pain.

evil hero_ 1/4/2005 5:40:46 PM

there was hella typos in this blog webby... you're slippin!!

oilpoilo_ 1/4/2005 7:27:39 PM

my friend does the same thing, i wouldn't do it just because of the hours though

hxcobd_ 1/5/2005 4:16:43 AM

Awesome entry, methinks

buckwheat_ 1/6/2005 5:40:21 AM

"I was in the best shape of my left"

xpissangelx_ 1/6/2005 11:52:45 AM

i worked at star market and had to clean up old lady diarrheatic shit. INstead of moneyt hey gave us coupons for one cheap item. I win

xdanax_ 1/7/2005 9:10:05 PM

i work at a comic book/toy warehouse we do the same thing but our hours are a bit worse, we work 4, 16 hour days and have fri/sat/sundays off.

Mike, Coatesville_ 1/21/2005 10:50:29 AM

HEY, nice posting here dude, i have to admit, i too was a retail retard at more than one point in my early life...First was working shipping/receiving at a grocery place in Michigan, then after moving to Philly, working the same position at a K-mart. Both jobs, horrendous, boring, and with absolutely no good management, went to shit pretty quickly. Meaning, we did basically whatever we wanted, b/c the day to day sucked so much ass! There was never enough room for all the deliveries, we worked