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Proper Lifting for the Grocery Clerk
When Your Job Sucks, You Might Want To Seek Advice, Like Adam Did, from the Ghetto Grocer
“Hey there James, hope all is well. I've recently accepted a position at the local university working as a stock clerk, and I wanted to know from The Ghetto Grocer himself what stretches or exercises I could do in my off time in order to supplement the physical stress my body is going through picking up and throwing around cases of food. I'd also like to know what advice you have on proper lifting technique and how to keep physically viable throughout each shift even as technique begins to degrade towards the end of the shift.”
“Thank you for being the best damn manager I've ever had, even after all this time.”
-Adam Swinder
Thank you, Adam and thank you very much for conveniently forgetting that, when you asked me to train you for management, I made you write yourself up over some minor infraction of my draconian code…
As you well know, my stout friend, when your job sucks, you generally have to lift a whole lot of stuff!
Thankfully, you were designed to lift and have an excellent build for handling freight. You might find it ironic, that, as I write, I can hardly walk. After hobbling into work this past Wednesday night, however, I did manage to break down 2.5 tons of refrigerated freight and walked out at 7:19 A.M. as if I were designed for bipedal locomotion. I improved my wretched condition as I worked.
Lifting
1. Never lift from the waist but from the knees
2. Never lift with arms locked at the elbow
3. Avoid lifting overhead, stack overheads in stages
4. With heavy objects get down on one knee, tilt it up on your opposite foot or thigh and then use your arms to slide it onto the thigh and lift, or tilt it enough over the foot so that you can get your other hand under it. You do not want to waste strength and develop tension by press-lifting something between your hands. You want to lift from underneath.
5. Heavy cases on the bottom of the palled should be armed dragged or pushed to the edge and then tilted as you lift from under both ends.
6. Cases that are too heavy to left can be corner-walked if there is no dolly, or broken down and carted out into smaller units before being moved.
7. When using the dolly, push and rock-tilt back, do not jerk back directly.
8. Stack pallets with a clean and jerk motion. The heavy Chep pallets are especially tough and you may have to stack to 17 high depending on the stockroom. Stand the pallet up or on its side, whichever way offers more space for your fingers between the slats. Bend at the knees and straighten up far short of a leg lock, leaving enough bend in your knees so that you can rest the pallet on your thighs—fuck your pants!—then do a rocking half-squat and toss the thing to the top of the pile. When it gets too high to do this, replace the toss with a slanted push of the pallet op the face or side of the stack and then slide it on.
9. When kneeling to take a load off your back and knees, kneel on the shin bones, not the knee cap.
10. Never twist when stacking to the side or behind, but step around.
11. Avoid reaching
12. Do not walk on pallets
13. Do not try and catch falling cases—unless they are headed for your boss’s head
14. When passing, cases don’t throw them from further away than fingertip-to-finger-tip reach
15. If using manual jacks, push whenever possible rather than pull and pull with your thighs, never straightening your legs, less you engage the low back.
16. If you must set a heavy case on the floor, squat down and place one corner on the floor and then guide the case so that it falls flat. Eventually, with everything but glass, you should be able to gentle drop cases without damaging the contents.
Likely Injuries
1. Lower back injuries to L-4 L-5 disc, involving the quadrates [from lifting and twisting at the waist and from tight hamstrings]
2. Rotator cuff [from overhead loading]
3. Torn scalpula ligaments [from reaching]
4. Carpel tunnel [mostly from case cutter use]
5. Knee damage [from squatting with tight calf muscles and from using knee pads]
6. Elbow strain [from facing labels]
Salvaging Your Parts
1. Breakup your breaks into at least two, hopefully three segments, using this opportunity to stretch…
2. Calves
3. Hamstrings
4. Forearms
5. Chest muscles [in doorway]
6. Sacrum [squat flat-footed on your haunches against a wall or cooler door]
7. Stretch each muscle for 30 seconds, for 1-5 sets.
8. Keep hydrated instead of eating lunch meal, just eat a snack
Good luck, Adam. You’re an excellent clerk and you should do well.
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Add Comment
FatmanjudoNovember 6, 2016 3:55 PM UTC

Every night take ten to fifteen minutes to stretch out your back immediately before going to bed. Do it whether you need to or not that night. It will help a lot. You
Adam SwinderNovember 4, 2016 4:42 PM UTC

On the contrary, I've never forgotten that day. It was during my very short stint as a price checker working up in the office (attempting to complete a 50+ hour a week job on 30 hours a week while trying to go to college will always end in ruin), and in my haste I had left a refrigerated item out in the general restock basket overnight.

I remember how happy I was when you mentioned that you had managerial training for me and then how much I laughed when I realized I'd be writing myself up. I didn't take it personal; it really was good managerial training and it allowed me to hold myself accountable.

If I have any regrets, I'm sorry that my appointment to the office didn't work out. It was good for me that it didn't work out in the end, for I don't think I would have lasted long in the effeminate game of thrones environment that was the office upstairs. I would have either lost my job or adapted to survive, and thus my masculinity would have been irrevocably damaged in the process. Thank you again for the opportunity, however, as it allowed me but a glimpse into a world that is not my own.

Thank you again for the advice, I hope to do well for myself in this new job.