Picker, Barnsley - June 9, 2015
I worked here for 2 years, I established myself amongst the team leaders and even some of the managers. I hit some of the highest performance rates as a picker. Can't say much about packing, but from the people I spoke to on the job it's even worse. This place is literally a health hazard, stress, aches and pains. Whether your stressed because you're scared to take a day off ill which is risking losing your job or stressed because the whole job is just impossibly ridiculous.
Honest and hard working doesn't get you far here at all. I was a fit 19 year old when I started out and couldn't reach performance. Everything is purely statistics based. Nothing to do with getting orders for delivery, just making numbers for the team leader to present to their manager. You have to learn how to 'cheat' with your RDT or AMT to get the performance rate required. That's how you hear people with ridiculous performances of up to 180%. How? There established like I was and their team leader is letting them get away with it.
My advice, can't beat them join them. If you develop a problem with a team leader there you'll get the sack, one way or another. The policies there are designed in such a way that they can get you up for disciplinary meetings for just about anything. The only way I was able to do 2 years here was by being on the good side of a few team leaders.
The thing that grills me looking back is how everybody knew how to cheat it, the operations manager even knew, all the team leaders, experienced pickers. It's impossible to hit the targets honestly, the team leaders will tell you different. I can't name names, but the Shrek looking one on the day shift, got his job because he threatened to sue the company over an accident. Not because he 'grafted for 2 years'. That sounds like locker rumour gossip, believe me or don't.
Say good bye to your personal life, get ready for unexpected "your working an extra 2-4 hours tomorrow, on flex so no pay" texts. Flex by the way is working over unpaid, but having that time off paid in the future, sounds fair. However, get ready to work up to 40 hours extra unpaid in the summer and wait until February to get that time off.
Because I was established there I got favours, the first to get flex down and if I wanted to sit on my backside and put my scanner on 'hygiene' all I had to do was ask. The culture there is very favouritism based. You'll get treated like dirt for no reason unless your one of the favourites.
I left to go to university, I've probably given myself away there, as I doubt many other people have left to join university based on the general brain capacity of the people I worked with. Asos, communicate, transline and NDL all write reviews for themselves on these websites, sums it all up really. Sounds daft but leaving was a difficult decision, the place and culture really does drag you down into feeling like a 2nd standard person, it gets inside of your head and it becomes routine to feel bullied and useless.
My advice would be to avoid this job, but if your in a situation like I was and you just need to work for money no matter what it is. Keep your head down, get friendly with experienced workers and a couple of decent team leaders, it's the only way to keep the job to be honest. If you want a crafty cigarette, go for one just before another shift starts (about 14:40 is a good time), or when another department is going for lunch.