The online retailer Amazon might be famous for selling pretty much everything and shipping it lightning fast, but hidden inside the company's warehouses lies what might be its greatest accomplishment: complete randomness. Traditional warehouses group items together -- all of the lamps are on one shelf, and all of the laptops are on another. Not at Amazon. Creating chaos out of order, Amazon warehouse employees store things pretty much anywhere they fit. The logic? Because Amazon's warehouses are massive -- one is the size of 17 football fields -- and the company ships approximately 5 billion Prime items a year, the retailer realized that it couldn't rely on a system in which a shelf full of lamps might be hundreds of yards away when you only need one. By randomly putting the lamps wherever they fit, employees greatly increase the odds of having one nearby when a customer orders it. Electronically scanning each item as it gets shelved and having robots that can move the shelves also helps.
Some "Prime" facts about Amazon:
- In 1994, Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage in Bellevue, Washington, and originally only sold books.
- When its website crashed for 40 minutes in 2013, Amazon lost $4.8 million USD, or $120,000 per minute.
- Every Amazon employee -- including the CEO -- works at the customer service desk for two days every two years to better understand the process.