There, next to a small tub of Legos, is a pallet stacked with new Kindle e-readers. A cart filled with books, toys and other stuff rolls to a stop near a plush red ladybug on a metal shelf.
And behind a counter, a young woman runs a pair of pink scissors through a sheet of blue paper, quickly wrapping a box of kitchen knives. "Speed is of the essence, so they're working fast," says Amazon.com spokeswoman Michele Glisson, describing the scene Wednesday morning not at Santa's workshop in the North Pole, but at the company's Bellevue warehouse. Seattle-based Amazon plans to hire about 130 temporary workers here to pack and ship merchandise for its Northwest customers this holiday season. In all, it's hiring more than 15,500 seasonal workers to handle a coming crush of orders at its U.S. fulfillment centers -- an upbeat outlook that belies the tough economic times. "The purpose of all this hiring is to support continued growth in our holiday orders," said Dave Clark, vice president of North America operations at Amazon.