By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This holiday season could be one for the record books.

Retail experts say Americans could buy up to $859 billion worth of gifts. That’s about 10% more than what was spent last year.

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But with worries about supply chain issues and work shortages, will your gifts arrive on time? WCCO went to Shakopee’s Amazon Fulfillment Center to see how it’s preparing for the surge.

The center is as big as 14 football fields, and the machine is running 22 hours a day as the team preps for the e-commerce Super Bowl.

Products from around the world make it here, are sorted, then whisked away by thousands of robots — which make work for the humans at the center faster and easier.
The 1,500 employees will balloon to 3,000 for the holiday peak. And yes, they’re still hiring, according to Amazon’s Chatonn Armstrong.

“We always just try to be there for one another just to get through the holiday and the craziness that comes with, you know, working through a peak time,” Armstrong said.

(credit: CBS)

She admits when it comes to holiday shopping, she doesn’t plan ahead.

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“I’m last minute with everything!” Armstrong said.

And if you’re like her, Prime may be a good option for you. The company says it plans to keep that two-day delivery promise alive even through the holidays.

After traveling through the 14 miles of conveyor belt, it’s time to pack. On a busy day this season, a million of packages could go through in a single day.

Packages go for a ride down the slide, into the trucks and eventually the delivery vans. The beefed-up fleet of 1,000 drivers in more than 800 vans is promising to deliver this holiday season.

“We do have it handled,” Armstrong said.

Shipping your packages separately in a big order may help them arrive slightly faster, but not always and not by much. And you can have a set delivery day for all packages every week if you’d rather get stuff all at once.

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Customers also have an option to ship with minimal packaging, which Amazon is pushing to achieve its goal of “net carbon neutral by 2040.”

Erin Hassanzadeh