Thursday, May 10, 2012

As promised, my memoirs of the Sheridan Egg company.

I applied for the job while I was still in high school, they called in early June, 1987.  2nd shift, which paid 10 cents more per hour!!!  Remember, minimum wage was $3.35, back then.  Minimum wage has not increased much since then, but lots of places that used to pay it have given up on it, since you can't get decent help for that wage.

2nd shift was awful...4:00 or so until about 2am.  That's right, 10 hours.  I do not do well at night...more of a morning person I guess.  Here's the deal.  They would buy eggs and process them.  That means some poor sucker, (me, that first night and for many many more nights) would be on the end of the line, filling the line with cases of eggs.  This means opening cases of eggs, 30 dozen per case, putting them on a knee high bench.  The loader dude would pull the flats out of the box, putting them onto the conveyor.  My next task was to catch the empty flats, stack them, tie them for reuse.  That meant separating out any that had contained a broken egg.

It was kind of neat, the system of transferring the eggs from the flats to the washer conveyor, 30 rubber suction cups would pick up the eggs and swing over to the next belt thingy which rolled them thru the washer.  From there, they move over a bright light for candling.  There, the dude would pick out the rotten, the bloody, the broken shells, etc.  One old bastard insisted that the egg was sour if it had a big bubble in it.  I don't know.

My next task was to keep a bucket under the suction area which would catch the egg that came running out of the washer; sometimes the heat or pressure would break the egg.  Those shells would be hauled out to a farm somewhere, used as fertilizer.  The egg was strained out and used somewhere else, somehow.

The good boxes and good flats were reused, the bad boxes and dirty flats were burned.

So!  the eggs are candled and transfer onto a breaker, which I could only see thru the little window that the conveyor went thru.  A girl would sit there watching this spinning thing, hitting the levers for each egg, whole, yolk and white.  Not entirely sure what they'd do with it all, sell it to Betty Crocker, I think.

Sometimes we'd get lucky and the eggs would come in on plastic flats and steel wheeled racks instead of in boxes and on pallets.  Much less work involved with the plastic...the eggs were cleaner, hardly ever any broken, and of course no boxes to open and unload.  Sometimes a suction hose would plug, causing all sorts of hell/havoc to occur with the flat stacking.  :(  Just imagine an egg remaining in the flat...they don't stack well.

All for now...I'll be back with the good stuff.  Just try to imagine the smell of this place.  
Post a Comment