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Lamarr Wilson

Absolutely incredible details. I enjoyed the read.

I don't blame the staffer for asking him WHY he wanted this job when he had a computer background. Little did the employee know that this job wouldn't be as "fun" as he anticipated.

It's a nice look into how Netflix works. It kinda reminds me of my UPS experience as an unloader. Not much training, just an orientation, and go do it!

slobone

Yeah, great stuff, thanks for posting!

So does this mean that NF distribution centers don't have signs out front? Interesting.

And what are these notes customers put in the envelopes? "This DVD is defective"? I thought you did that over the phone or online. Maybe it's "Dear studio, please don't make anymore sequels to The Matrix"...

PS Does anybody know why checking the "Keep me logged in for 2 weeks" box on TypeKey doesn't work for me? I have to re-login at least once every 2-3 days.

Ricklogic

Not quite as good as a toll booth job but, at least, there is less direct exposure to pollution.

If they are getting several half-hour breaks during the day that means the work itself really stinks. Would you want to open, inspect, and stuff all day?

Reed Hastings made hundreds of millions in the software business with highly skilled software developers and today he has hundreds of day laborers working for him.

And he makes 2 or 3 hundred thousand dollars a week selling his stock options. Capitalism at its best.

Speaking of pollution, his physical DVD rental model, which involves round trips for each DVD, of course, is generating tons of carbon emissions. Espacially since he does it on an unlimited, overnight basis. Good job, Reed!

Firstlawofnature

"Speaking of pollution, his physical DVD rental model, which involves round trips for each DVD, of course, is generating tons of carbon emissions."

Highly concentrated deliveries via common carrier many of which are on foot beat the pants off BMWs + pickups driving to the store. Anyway online/downloads chew plenty of bandwith which in turn fires up the power plants a bit more. Good luck on staying green doing leisure activities.

prozac

Interesting read...i think it was here that I saw some fotage of a Netflix facility were they were doing what was talked about here.

"PS Does anybody know why checking the "Keep me logged in for 2 weeks" box on TypeKey doesn't work for me? I have to re-login at least once every 2-3 days"-Ricklogic

Same here...I have no idea why?

prozac

Interesting read...i think it was here that I saw some fotage of a Netflix facility were they were doing what was talked about here.

"PS Does anybody know why checking the "Keep me logged in for 2 weeks" box on TypeKey doesn't work for me? I have to re-login at least once every 2-3 days"-Ricklogic

Same here...I have no idea why?

longklaw

Very interesting! I've wondered about how those distribution centers operate.

Hunter McDaniel

Working at the NF shipping center sounds pretty boring, but it's certainly no sweatshop; I don't think Reed Hastings needs to feel guilty about it. Many of the undesirable features (early hours, really busy Tuesdays) are the inevitable result of what we subscribers want from the service. And one has to remember that people takes these jobs because their other opportunities are LESS desirable.

As Firstlawofnature pointed out, DVD by mail is a lot more energy efficient than video stores. By the same token, buying "locally grown food" saves little energy because the biggest expenditure is from the store to the customer's house, not from the farm/factory to the store. Locally grown may taste better, but that's a different issue.

hawk5391

This was really interesting to read -- I thank the person who submitted it.

As for the typekey issues, I have also encountered this problem of having to log in every 2-3 days. I thought it was because sometimes I post at work and other times at home, but maybe not. Hmmm, maybe I should start hackingtypekey.com?

CJ

Interesting read. Reminds me of my college dorm food service job 40 years ago - where you started at the dish washing machine and worked your way up. A fun attitude, perfect attendance, and being the fastest "silverware sorter" they'd ever seen, earned me quick promotion to "meal ticket checker" (and subsequently many, many dates!). So maybe there is also hope for the entry level NF DVD inspector.

BTW - I have always use post-em notes on the NF DVD sleeves to succinctly point out any problems with that DVD - the front line guys are the ones who pull the defective DVDs so you don't end up get that DVD by mistake.

type-cast

"Does anybody know why checking the "Keep me logged in for 2 weeks" box on TypeKey doesn't work for me? I have to re-login at least once every 2-3 days."

Try every 20-30 minutes. Typepad sucks. They always have, and always will. Half the time, Mozilla won't remember my password so I have to hit "Sign In" repeatedly to get the thing to work. "Keep me logged in for 2 weeks" has never worked, either. What a crummy service.

EssJay

re: "Not quite as good as a toll booth job..."

Oddly, I find toll booth people exceptionally friendly. We interact for what, 15 seconds, maybe 30, and they are almost always cheerful to me.

I think the job would make me cranky and irritable, but they always surprise me with a pleasant, "Hello".

Distribution Centers versus Corporate

Fast Company.com
High-tech Achiever: Netflix
At Netflix, the secret sauce is software.
From: Issue 99 | October 2005 | Page 48 | By: Jena McGregor
… Warehouse workers--those closest to the customer--get free Netflix subscriptions and DVD players…
Corporate employees stay happy...with perks like no hard limits on vacation time and free trips to Sundance each January. …

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/99/open_customer-netflix.html

Edward R Murrow

Quote from the Fast Company article (dated 2005?) "Right now, Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, the online DVD subscription service, has seven movies at home, ranging from Z Channel, a documentary about the first pay-cable channel, to the cult phenom Donnie Darko. He loved chick flick Fried Green Tomatoes but hated the Guy Ritchie heist film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."

Of course he loved the chick flick and hated the guy movie 'cause he's a girlie-man.

Ricklogic

The New York Times (nytimes.com)
June 7, 2006
DAVID LEONHARDT
What Netflix Could Teach Hollywood
…In the San Francisco area, Netflix trucks pick up returned DVD's from post offices by 4 a.m. each weekday morning and bring them to a warehouse in a leafy Sunnyvale office park. There, workers — mainly Asian and Latino immigrants — arrive on the brightly lighted warehouse floor at 5 a.m. to begin tearing open the red envelopes and putting the discs in mechanized sorters...

What is Netflix teaching Hollywood? To hire non-union day laborers at minimum wage?

The minimum wage hike may have an effect on Netflix.

dizzney

I doubt the wage hike will affect Netflix as it is not in San Francisco where the minimum wage is going up. Every permanent employee warehouse or not get a free DVD player and subscription.

gir

I was under the impression that NetFlix starting wage was well above minimum, like $9/hr.

Waveflux

"And what are these notes customers put in the envelopes? "This DVD is defective"?"

Slobone: In my case, I wrote a note asking Netflix to stop sending me the wrong movie. I'd selected the 1959 The Mummy (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing) and twice in a row Netflix sent instead a 1997 abomination titled Bram Stoker's The Mummy (Lloyd Bochner, Louis Gossett, Jr.!!).

The third time was the charm.

dizzney

The warehouse workers do make more than minimum wage and the other people in Customer Service and other areas other than the warehouse make more than the warehouse workers.

dizzney

They do make more than minimum wage. Other people who work elsewhere such as Customer Service make significantly more. Just depends on what dept you work in.

Conguero

Yep. I did all this stuff for Netflix and it sucked. I did make $13 an hour...not too bad for a 21 yr old kid.

kruze

While reading this I got my very first delivery from Netflix. I opened the first movie and it was the wrong one lol. wtf

Sound advice

Working at Netflix got old fast. The early hours, lack of interaction with other employees, and mother hen managers really make me discourage anyone from working at an Netflix hub. I would rather work manual labor for minimum wage than work there. Again, I DO NOT recommend anyone to work there. Save yourself the trouble and find something less repetitive and more friendly.

gofu

customer service slogan "it is what it is" accordingly to employee number "87183".

good luck if you have a complaint!

abbs

this is trippy as hell. they sounded like they were so controlled, like slaves. Did anyone else think that? and is netflix like some mysterious thing? kinda like the chocolate factory in willy wonka and the chocolate factory. idk why else it would get a whole website trying to figure it out

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