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Now where did I put that Ark?
December 24, 2011 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Santa's warehouse? Not quite.
posted by gwint (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I misread that initially.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:53 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Because Santa would be treating his elves MUCH better.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:55 PM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I see the Ark of the Covenant. Over there, at the back.
posted by usonian at 8:00 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


^ usonian beat me to it
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:03 PM on December 24, 2011


In the comic book series SCUD: The Disposable Assassin, there's a character called Drywall who is a "stuff collector" created by Satan. The idea is, basically, that heaven and hell both don't really give a shit about Earth, but instead use humans as very effective creators of cool stuff: consumer electronics, art, technology. Anyway, it's getting pretty close to Armageddon, so Satan commissions an army of stuff collectors to gather and organize all of the cool stuff on Earth. The first few attempts, of which Drywall is one, don't go very well because Drywall can collect a lot of stuff, but has a hard time pulling it back out on command, as his storage system is a gigantic warehouse of labeled bins that stretches to infinity. So, long story short, that's what this image reminds me of.
posted by codacorolla at 8:04 PM on December 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I also think I see myself noticing the title of the post a few minutes late.
posted by usonian at 8:05 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amazon warehouse previously.

Personally, I think it needs more crazy, futuristic 1950s-style giant pneumatic tubes to move product from one wing to the next.
posted by mykescipark at 8:14 PM on December 24, 2011


It's Christmas Eve and the poor boys are in SHORT SLEEVES!
posted by mittens at 8:27 PM on December 24, 2011


That seems incredibly non-automated. Maybe because it's in Wales and labor is cheap enough or the volume is low? Just a couple lads walking around casually picking instead of robots blurring around.
posted by thylacine at 8:39 PM on December 24, 2011


Ah, so this is not the warehouse where people keeled over from heatstroke in the summer. Nice.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:47 PM on December 24, 2011


Wrong photos. This is clearly Warehouse 13.
posted by cccorlew at 9:02 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I looked at those pictures, my first thought was, "Man, there must be a titanic amount of capital tied up in all that inventory!"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:12 PM on December 24, 2011


Hey man, have you seen that box?
posted by jimmythefish at 11:29 PM on December 24, 2011


Pedantic point: What it looks like in Amazon.co.uk !
posted by DanCall at 1:52 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pedantic point: What it looks like in Amazon.co.uk !

Pedantic counter-points:
  1. Amazon.com also looks like this.
  2. You shouldn't have a space before that exclamation mark.
posted by grouse at 2:24 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is interesting, although the shots seemed kind of random and unexplained (maybe Amazon doesn't to say too much). I also was a bit surprised it wasn't more automated; but it's in Swansea, so labour is probably pretty cheap there. It does seem to be quite quiet. You think they would be moving more stuff around that that.
posted by carter at 3:06 AM on December 25, 2011


Looks like Amazon.com is a brick and mortar company to me.
posted by klarck at 4:13 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to photoshop in some elves.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 4:27 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought they were supposed to be zipping around on Segways.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:17 AM on December 25, 2011


This explains why amazon.co.uk shipping is so much slower than amazon.com shipping.
posted by inmediasres at 6:10 AM on December 25, 2011


I can't look at huge industrial (post-industrial?) spaces like that without wondering how it could be repurposed eventually when it becomes obsolete. That's a lot of square footage...
posted by Forktine at 6:27 AM on December 25, 2011


Honestly, my first thought was "This is just a Costco without the products having been taken out of their brown boxes yet". The neat aisles of pallets on a bare concrete floor, the giant steel shelving off to one side, the lighting, and so on (for reference).

I guess it never occurred to me before how much a Costco warehouse actually looks like a, well, warehouse...
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 6:33 AM on December 25, 2011


I bet it smells a little cardboardy in there.
posted by NoMich at 7:09 AM on December 25, 2011


The boxes photos reminds me of this arty grocery store shot whose original source I can't find.

Man, there must be a titanic amount of capital tied up in all that inventory!

There is. One of Amazon's innovations is keeping the amount of capital low relative to the amount of goods they stock. It's Christmas and I'm too lazy to research this, but my memory is the usual deal is net-30 payment for goods from manufacturers. Ie: Amazon has to pay 30 days after receiving a shipment. But they also figured out they can sell much of what they stock in less than 30 days. So they get payment from retail customers before they pay their supplier. It's like a negative carrying cost. At least, I hope I remember this right.
posted by Nelson at 8:16 AM on December 25, 2011


That seems incredibly non-automated. Maybe because it's in Wales and labor is cheap enough or the volume is low?

UK minimum wage is $9.50 an hour.

If you look at other sources you can see there is quite a lot of automation. However there are some other factors at play.

Automation might be present but not shown to press photographers. In those videos you'll see a lot of plastic crates on conveyers - but Amazon also need to deal in things that won't fit in those crates. Flatscreen TVs, pushchairs, laser printers, skis, things like that.

Probably the people with trollies can pick twenty items an hour at least, which is what, 50 cents an item? I'm sure they have more than a 50 cent margin on a flatscreen TV.

Also, if at christmas your volumes double, you'd have the choice to either build an automated system for the christams peak capacity and run it below capacity the rest of the year, or to build a lower capacity automated system and just get cheap warehouse space and trolley pickers for the christmas rush. The latter might mean your margins drop at christmas, but it'd save you the expense of building more capacity than you need.
posted by Mike1024 at 9:27 AM on December 25, 2011


I can't look at huge industrial (post-industrial?) spaces like that without wondering how it could be repurposed eventually when it becomes obsolete. That's a lot of square footage...

If anything, centralized distribution like this is going to be what sticks around while all other types of retail collapse. Once we reach the point where centralized distribution is no longer viable we're in for a world of hurt, like The Windup Girl kind of hurt.
posted by odinsdream at 12:20 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


That seems incredibly non-automated. Maybe because it's in Wales and labor is cheap enough or the volume is low?

The minimum wage in Wales is £6.08 an hour, which is about $9.50 in USD. And, as the caption says, "The Amazon Swansea fulfillment center is one of the largest Amazon warehouses in the world" so I doubt that translates to "not busy." Pick and pack is labour-intensive the world over; what you're seeing at Amazon pretty much is what passes for cutting edge picking and packing automation these days.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:52 AM on December 26, 2011


Revolting.
posted by falcon at 3:09 PM on December 26, 2011


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