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This is a question Dodgy work ethics

Chthonic asks: What's the naughtiest thing a boss has ever asked you to do? And did you do it? Or perhaps you are the boss and would like to confess.

(, Thu 7 Jul 2011, 13:36)
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Food distribution
When I was much younger I had a rather brief stint in a warehouse. The job involved zipping around on 'ride on' elctric pick trucks (think baby fork lift truck but with no roof) and moving crates of canned, glass jar or boxed foods. Oddly enough, this same warehouse also handed tinned pet food, but I digress.

The place had this big computerised warehouse called the 'high bay'. Palelts of goods could be seen stacked what seems like miles up and miles away. Tinned goods goods could be stored for years. Normally you wouldnt go in there as it was all computerized machinery that handled everything. The problem was, the high bay got very hot in the summer, what with the metal skin of the building and no ventilation. The volume of air in there was so great that on hot days it would still be warm the next morning, meaning it got even hotter as the day went on. The more hot days we had, the bigger this cycle got.

As some cans (especially the pet food) arrived from the manufacturer so quickly, they were still hot to touch (literally cooking in their cans). Together, the heat of the high bay and the heat of the cans produced an interesting result - the odd quirk of infrequenly making cans explode, usually causing other cans around them around them to pop too.

As no one usually goes into the computerized warehouse (unless something mechanical/electrical breaks), these pallets can sit around festering for weeks or months. There was even the legend of the pallet that had been in for a year after spunking a load of its cargo down into the depth of the warehouse. They just sit in that high bay, warming up. That is until a computer somewhere decides: 'Hello, Pallet location B-129-a. You are due to come out and be shipped to a customer." Electronics whirr into life, robotic sounds come from the high bay. Within a few minutes the festering pallet of *brandname* stewed steak rolls along the converyor, out of the high bay into the main warehouse.

As the stench makes its presence known, supervisors make a dash for the toilets. Seasoned workers jump in their forklifts and disappear into the racks of the main warehouse. All the permanant workers leg it to the canteen. This leaves us, the agency staff, eyes watering and faces gagging from the offensive odour of this stuff, to realise that the problem is now ours. Just then, no doubt alerted by the cacophony of the permanent staff arriving in the canteen, the manager bounds out of his office and over to our little group.

"Right, get your pick truck," he says to me "load up the pallet and take it out the shed. Stay there, Ill be over in a minute."

Why me? !? :(

The shed, I should conject, was not your common garden vareity, it was what appeared to me as a modern industrial unit that could house a truck and it was cleverly situated as far away from the warehouses as you could get. So off I drove through the yard at the 3mph the pick truck would go, with this festering pallet dripping what can only be described as 'gunge' (I shan't elaborate on that one, trust me) in a path behind me. I opened up the 'shed' and stuck the pallet inside, which is when manager put in an appearence.

I wont bore you with his droning words, but the basic gist of it was simple: I was to don the thin latex gloves he was giving me and strip the pallet down of all the cans. Anything which was broken I was to throw into the skip out back. Anything which was not broken I was to wipe of the gunge, maggots and unidentifiables with the provided rag and stack them on the nice shiny new pallet. The cusomter needed their order, and it could be 30 cans short if need be.

Well now I know why i was off in "the shed" where no one ever went. If any food standards or any other H&S such oversight people turned up, what I was doing was well out of sight. It was one of the lowest points of my life. No doubt a breach of a multitude of food hygene and H&S laws. Just me, my jeans, my tshirt and two latex gloves and the rancid, petrid task before me.

I did it. I puked a few times. I came close to cutting myself on a rancid can once, but thankfully it was just a close shave.

Once I was finsihed, I scrubbed *a lot* with the anti bac soap in the loos and theh let the manager know i was finished.

"Great, good work," he says unconvincingly, "The pallet from below that last one is already out, go take care of it."

So this is how I ended up, back in 'the shed' with a pallet full of boxes of pasta, stripping it down and wiping off the gunge that had dripped from the pallet of tins (that had been stored above it).

So next time you pick up a can (or any box of foodstuffs for that matter) and you see the label has got wet and dried, or has this dark stain on it that you cannot identify - its not from some random in a warehouse somewhere spilling his drink. Its not dried coca-cola. Its the gunge from rotten food (or rotten pet food), maggots and flies fucking that some agency worker has had to wipe off in a nondescript warehouse somewhere.

Enjoy your dinner
(, Fri 8 Jul 2011, 21:58, 3 replies)
Sorting smashed up pallets and stock was my job at a well-known supermarket chain for three years.
It was officially titled 'waste and markdowns', and consisted of wiping down what could be recovered and skipping the rest. Admittedly these pallets and trays of goods weren't festering in the depot for years, only for a few weeks at the most. Just enough time for the maggots to get old enough to lay their own eggs.
My own low point, shortly after which I walked out, was when area security came in to do a surprise spot check, found some discrepancies on the waste sheets, and insisted that I climb into the skip to retrieve the supposedly dodgy waste bags. All of which had split open, mingling with the buckets of waste fat from the oven counters. Four hours later, and having thrown up in the yard, I'd re-entered all of the rancid goods from the bags into the system (manually, as none of the barcodes were the slightest bit readable). Of course, no error arose - it turned out to be a clerical error in the office which had caused the imbalance of figures. I had to throw away my trousers and shoes after that day, they were beyond cleaning. Fuck retail jobs, I'm never looking back.
(, Fri 8 Jul 2011, 22:33, closed)
I dislike this, but have clicked to the contrary.
Fairly written, with a hint of Alien.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 15:15, closed)
I had a similar role like this
but the warehouse I was in dealt solely with bottled beer.

The sickly sweet smell was something to behold but made bearable when several unbroken bottles would somehow lose their contents (and shortly afterwards inexplicably become smashed as well). It was always "understood" that the fumes could get a person fairly plastered. This particular job was commonly "disliked" on Friday nights a couple of hours before a shift ended.
(, Wed 13 Jul 2011, 15:06, closed)

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