Food Production Life
my 1.5 years in a food production warehouse.
December 2019 I was hired at the central kitchen for a grocery chain to package premade deli and meal items. The week before Christmas was hell, I was new, without a clue. I had worked a deli before so I knew basics but nothing to prepare me for this level of bullshit. It was horribly busy but after a few days I had learned a lot. It wasn't so bad aside from the 12+ hour days and insane amount of work crammed into those hours. The yelling during clean up time was not great either, and if you gave any kind of back sass they came down on you even harder. Imagine thousands upon thousands of containers of all sizes and all different products each being assembled, sealed, and labeled by hand as much of the plant is not automated. If we were lucky we would be out of containers. I was new and very scared but I survived that first week, not knowing things would get worse.
After the holidays things simmered down... Until I made a stupid mistake and someone thought they knew how I would be from one encounter. Our first time meeting she had flipped out on me for not having exact weights on a price by weight item, which was not only humiliating but completely irrational and from then on she purposely would be up my ass. I was moved to HER section. My new lead was a bitter older lady who really only seemed to enjoy speaking with her daughter and two other women in the whole plant. Beyond those two she would be fake until she knew just enough of your business to go get you in trouble. Or worse she would lie to try to get her victims in trouble. One story of this is her telling on me singularly for coming in with pet hair but being completely nice to another, management found this hilarious and pretty much told me to prove her to be the ass. Another time she tried to get someone fired for picking his nose. This lead was so unkind she would completely ignore anything good you do, and continue making snide comments to everyone else.
This lasted for two months before and after COVID-19 hit our plant. We began wearing masks all the time and this lead to further bullying and harassment. Management told us to stay home if we felt sick so we wouldn't contaminate anyone else, but unless we got doctor's notes we would get points for the absence. We lost so many people between pointing out and the sheer bullshit that management was pulling with our hours. Now this had been enough and I began reporting to management over many of the abuses and things that I felt were unjust. Of course nothing was done except "Talking" to my knowledge.
This continued on well through the next holiday season until I finally had enough and moved to another section. Of course now the same person who was picking on mostly white people she didn't like, took to spreading her thoughts to my new lead, and ultimately influenced her opinion of me without a thought. The bully also harassed others until they moved departments or left the company altogether. Once my lead went on medical leave I stepped up to help run the section, management noticed and actually kept her from bothering me. She actually would speak to me semi-respectfully!
Overall the job itself was fine, and I did meet some wonderful people there too. The lack of care for employees, the stupid point system and hard unpredictable hours via mandatory became too much and I found another job. As I reflect on it I really only wish I had stood up for myself better and stopped giving a fuck much earlier. I am still speaking to people there and things are only continuing to get worse, especially involving how the employees are being treated.
Overall the job itself was fine, and I did meet some wonderful people there too. The lack of care for employees, the stupid point system and hard unpredictable hours via mandatory became too much and I found another job. As I reflect on it I really only wish I had stood up for myself better and stopped giving a fuck much earlier. I am still speaking to people there and things are only continuing to get worse, especially involving how the employees are being treated. This was also a union job and even out of the job a whole month I still receive texts and such from the union.
Given a choice I would go back to the deli before I'd go back to the kitchen warehouse. For all the coworkers reading this, thanks for the memories!