Loading Up Your Conveyor Belt Is Never a Good Idea

I used to work in a hardware store. It was a family owned True Value Hardware. The family who owns it are incredible. I learned so much being around the people and being in the business. Recently, I have begun thinking about a lot of the things that I used to be tasked with at Howard’s True Value. This may turn into somewhat of a regular feature on my blog. More than ever, I now realize the value in memories. My 33 year old brain is unable to remember all the things that I used to. The first post that I wrote back in this series was all about chain and selecting the right tool for the situation. This one is a little different.

We had a conveyor belt in the back of the store that I worked at in Doraville. The conveyor went down to a basement area where back stock was kept. Downstairs was a bit like a dungeon. There was all kinds of oddities down there, but we also tried to keep enough overage of items that we knew people came to get on a regular basis.

Spilled Paint

Used by Permission: Robert Williams: Crying Over Spilled Paint

High school/part-time employees would be tasked on occasion to make sure that the shelves were fully stocked. This would also help with the ordering process as those doing the weekly orders sometimes did not know what was downstairs. (Inventory System you ask? What inventory system!)

I remember the first time that I dropped a gallon of paint from the conveyor. First of all, this type of accident really shouldn’t happen, but it is inevitable. As I grew with the company, I realized that accidents were going to be normal, and surpisingly those accidents that happened often involved the conveyor and paint.

Why is this? Well, I’ll admit that we were young and lazy. We were trying to get everything from the basement to the sales floor in one trip. I remember times turning the conveyor on only to discover that it couldn’t actually move because of the weight of items on it. We’d try to grab hold of the rubber tread matting and encourage it upward by pulling on it. If only we could get it started, then it would continue upward.

No one would purposefully set out to have a can of paint go flying down the conveyor and spill all over the place. Believe me, when it happened, you could hear the noise all over the store as the can would go end over end, metal upon metal, then THUD upon the concrete at the bottom of the steps. The mess that would be made could not be easily cleaned up. Stains would remain.

I’m rambling. I realize. But it got me thinking about all the times that we know that we’re loading too much on the conveyor of our lives.  Having more weight on there than was intended is going to result in no traction. Eventually something is going to go flying off. When it does, there will be much noise and everyone in the vicinity will know what happened. Then we’ll be stuck with a mess that has to be cleaned up.

On the flip side of this realization, I understand that when it happens to those around me, I need to be willing to stop what I am doing and be available to help with the clean up.

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