Pros: steady work, summer overtime, mileage pay, industry networking, possible advancement
Cons: weekends off for route leads only, occasionally very long hours
On a typical work day I wake up at about 5 a.m. to be at an account by 6-7. I get to an account with a product shipment (load), and check in with management at the store to coordinate the plan of action that day. Once we're on the same page, I'll walk the floor and write down a list of the product I need for primary and secondary locations of the – more... product- for example, the refrigerated beer area and a display next to the deli. I'll head to the back, and begin to downstack product that I need on to a u-boat or cart.
I practice proper rotation techniques by taking the oldest product that needs to be filled from the store's current inventory (backstock). When filling the shelf I also make sure to rotate product. Most of the beer brands have clear best by dates stamped on them, making the job easy. Others don't so they're rotated by package change and simply by always putting what's needed behind what's on the shelf. After filling the shelf, checking all of the secondary locations, taking out cardboard/garbage/pallets, I check out with management and head to the next account to repeat the process.
A stockout, where the shelves are filled with backstock will usually be thrown into a load day, and other days my route consist of only stockouts.
Through this job I've acquired the ability to engage random strangers, coordinate with other people on a professional level, work long hours under the weight of heavy stress, and learn about the beverage/distributor/beer industry. I think that the independence of the job will contribute greatly to my resume.
Management is certainly a mixed bag. Communication is occasionally lacking as it relates to brands we've lost of picked up, as well as whether or not overtime is allowed. The merchandising manager, who assigns routes and which store everyone is going to for every day of the week, can be inaccurate or unintentionally misleading- not surprising given that he manages 60-70 people and hundreds of stores, fields complaints from upper management, salesman, stores, and all of the merchandisers. More communication from upper management about overtime, brand changes, and opportunities would create more synergy between upper management and the troops on the ground.
As it is with any job, co-workers range from pleasant and helpful to rude and insane. Many of the veterans are fantastic people and sources of information you can't get anywhere else. Some of the other merchandiser are lazy, some are hardworking. The salespeople are usually intense, as they have to hit certain numbers on their orders to make money.
The hardest part of the job is dealing with occasionally long hours and store employees that can make your job more difficult. The most enjoyable part is getting exercise at work, as well as a constantly changing environment. – less