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December 17, 2014


Chris Williams

Mmm, pallets. I too have swerved pump-truck or forklift under a blue pallet in my time. Yr blue pallet, though, was hard for a weed like me to lift and stack when empty, even when I was in my prime.

Enough nostalgia already: pallets have also found a niche as one of the key enabling technologies for Occupy protests, functioning as an anti-drunkard wall and handy shelf for handwritten posters, many free of woo. The apotheosis, so far, of the pallet protest structure is this castle in the Marches: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2014/11/22/anti-drilling-campaigners-get-ready-for-winter-at-shropshire-camp/border-23-cam-6/

Dan Hardie

Using a pallet jack was probably the first manual worker's skill that I ever learned, aged 16 and working in Safeway. I had one heavily-laden pallet dropped on my foot by a fellow teenage Saturday job boy when I'd been there a few weeks. And I can still remember the respect I felt when I rocked up for people who could steer pallets into tight corners, and then race back to the warehouse by standing on one of the prongs, holding the handle and pushing off with their free foot: just like the scooters that people use nowadays. I soon learned both skills, having previously been the person referred to as 'yes, I know he's useless, just get him doing a cardboard run'.

There was something really satisfying about being one of the guys who could be trusted to get all the pallets out from the warehouse to the shopfloor quickly on a Saturday evening, without smashing a pallet up, or who could offload a truck. I used to feel so sorry for the girls and boys stuck on checkouts, hour after miserable hour, while I was hauling pallets.

Chris Williams

What Dan said. Also - the amazing day the warehouse got a powered pallet truck, on which you could zoom around the place when the boss wasn't looking.


Widden pallets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4HK5c7VmBw

Barry Freed

Ah yes, your pallet pump-jack. That takes me back to many of my early jobs as a teenager. And using it as a scooter as Dan said. A bit tricky and a good way to get some toes crushed and ankles and shins bruised if you were stupid enough to wear sneakers in the warehouse, which being 16 at the time goes without saying, (being a middle-class suburban kid as I was boots came with the discovery of punk more than the realities of manual labor), but you're immortal as well as stupid when you're 16 so no matter.


Yes, I used to really enjoy twirling pallets too...

Richard J

In my brief experience of manual work (casual labour at a printers in Idle), the fork lift drivers were certainly second-tier in the aristocracy of labour beneath the printers themselves.

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