Thursday, February 23, 2006


Life in the Bonded Warehouse.
The first thing I had to do was to learn how to operate a battery powered forklift. This was warehouse lift and you stood up in it; a small wheel to steer and a “deadman” foot pedal to accelerate and to brake. Plus the usual up/down and extend levers. You could turn the lift on a dime and after awhile I became quite adept at maneuvering my way through the crowded aisles of the warehouse. The real danger came from all the other lift drivers in the warehouse; as we would all race from point to point without slowing at intersections. Warehouse Grand Prix!

As I wrote earlier, the government inspector would show up around 9 and I would then join him in the Bonded area. He always carried a cup of coffee with him and the latest computer printout of the inventory in the warehouse. After some deliberation and perhaps another cup of coffee, he would decide which box he wanted to look at. I would then grab my trusty steed, the electric lift, and find that box somewhere on the racks. Once retrieved, we would open it up so that he could find one specific item and then check it off of his list. Most boxes contained hundreds of small electronic parts and each one had a part number and a government property number on it…somewhere. I soon became a good detective and could find most tags quickly. After finding that one part and checking it off of the list, (Success!) the inspector would always say it was time for a break and another cup of coffee. And so we would sit in our secure area, enjoying? our conversation and coffee. That process would continue all day. Or until about 2, when the inspector would say that he was tired and that he was going back to his office. I would then pack the box and put it back on the rack.

That was it. One box each day. And sometimes we would have to repeat the search in a box we had just opened the day before. And we had hundreds of boxes to go through.

After awhile I found that I really enjoyed the 2 hours in the morning, where I was busy doing many things…and I dreaded the rest of the day, spent looking into the depths of one cardboard carton, holding an YF-33Z Wave Guide in my hand while I searched for the elusive tags.

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