They're not what most people would picture as "migrant workers." They're mostly white, they have campers and RVs, toddlers and lap dogs--everything but steady, year-round jobs. But at a trailer park in Campbellsville, Ky., scores of these "Amazon Gypsies" come every year to plug their mobile homes into free power and work at $10-per-hour jobs, filling orders for Amazon.com for the Christmas season.
Techflash pointed out the story, originally reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal, on Monday. It amounts to an inside look a group of families--many of whom used to make big salaries elsewhere, but now are struggling to find work--who have gathered at the rural Southern town, because that's where they know they can earn a buck.
In the words of one such unfortunately-named gypsy:
"We are among the economic refugees. We are lucky to earn enough to get our laundry done and eat macaroni and cheese," said April McFail, 52. "I think it says America needs something different. This is supposed to be freedom and a good life. Now it is a sad note."
The phenomenon is not new, and apparently there are around 500,000 folks who use RVs and campers to migrate the country, searching for work, as opposed to searching for tourist traps and nature hikes. There's even a website, Workamper.com, that caters to the nomadic population.
While most of the gypsies speak of better times, all seem to be grateful for the work Amazon gives them, even if it's at a fraction of the salary they once were paid.
And considering some of them say that, after Christmas, they'll head up to ski resorts to find seasonal work there, it seems that being a migrant worker might not be so bad a gig.