They call it "chaotic storage" for a reason. This photo shows a 1.2 million square foot Amazon fulfillment warehouse in Phoenix on November 26, 2012, also known as Cyber Monday, this year's record breaking online shopping day. It's a beautiful sea of stuff. Amazon sold over 17 million individual items last year on that day alone, notes ABC News's Neal Karlinsky and Brandan Baur — and claims it will post bigger numbers this year.
While that heaping pile might look like organizational hell, it's all part of the warehouse's "chaotic storage" method. Rather than put the TVs with other electronics and the soap with the pharmacy stuff, items are organized by barcodes and shelved by code, instead. Often things that don't go together end up in the same place. That craziness actually increases accuracy, reducing possible delivery mix-ups.
The whole thing might sound like the most exhausting job ever for Amazon's notoriously overworked employees, even as they keep trying to ship things — big things — for free, but Amazon claims it helps them find things and ensures they don't waste time shelving. The computer does the thinking, they do the walking and packing, which, as you can see below, is a different kind of daunting.
All photos via The Associated Press.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.