PART371 on the brink of a meltdown


Wednesday, 18th, May, 2011. We had a rather interesting moment at work today. I was helping Sebastian in his trolley boy duties. Ferrying the pallets of boxes from the big door were the fork lift driver was bringing them and then I took the pallets over to the tray lining area, either storing them along the wall or putting them next to our tray lining team to use immediately. But today the people who actually make the boxes, in the large clunking machines were having trouble with the glue so we were down to having no spares and the tray liners only had a few pallets between them all. What I find interesting is that one pallet for one tray liner lasts a good 20 minutes or so but one pallet for 6 or 7 tray liners lasts a few minutes. Now I have had the misfortune of not being able to keep up with my line before and things turn to shit very quickly. Firstly the graders on the other side of the machine look over at you with wide eyes as the fruit instead of falling into the box which you should have made just fall on the floor in chaos, then they start shouting for a box “were are the boxes!!!?” then the supervisor runs over and does exactly the same thing, giving you a wide eye and a question. Everyone looks at you, literally everyone, hundreds of eyes looking at you. Then one of your tray lining friends helps out and sends a box shooting down the line and all is well and saved for a moment more.

But in this case we were very close to the whole line going dry of boxes, I was strangely intrigued as to how the effects would manifest. I envisaged a complete shit storm. Like poking your finger into an ants nest and watching the ensuing surge of ants pouring out to deal with the disturbance. The box makers eventually began to make boxes and the fork lift drivers bought some more in from the ware house so things went from the brink to the boring and stressful, the stage of things being well behind schedule. So I didn’t get to see a meltdown.

I was helping Andy up in the sticker machine area in the afternoon, the line was going ridiculously fast and all the sticker machines were breaking or clogging up, just about managing to keep up with repairing one just before another broke down. Andy was very angry because he was meant to be helping Brian the main sticker man. Brian had not returned from lunch, he had gone out with his new girl friend “ its bloody irresponsible, it’s the sort of behavior you expect from a teenager not a 70 year old man” Andy said about Brian as we both crouched down by two sticker wheels which had both broken.

I thought about the different perspectives. Brian probably was head over heels with his new woman and thought that this seasonal job wasn’t much to worry about and they would miss him for an extra hour while he canoodeld some more, while Andy was filled with resentment as he ran around stressed picking up the pieces which were Brains responsibility.

Brian eventually returned “sorry I was led astray by a nice lady” he said to me with a cheeky smile. Andy stormed off and went back to tray lining. It was also Andy’s last day at work, he has to stop working as he has made more money than he is allowed to per year, I think is about his pension or benefits he can only make a certain amount of money before the government start taking 70 cense of every dollar he makes. At the end of the day everyone shock hands with him and he left to go back home in the south. A lot of people are leaving over this next week. Dropping off to continue traveling around New Zealand.

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