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The massive warehouse is the only one of Amazon's UK distribution centres which doesn't sell books.
Staff were in overdrive as they packaged and distributed thousands of products for yesterday's sale, which, along with next week's Cyber Monday, are the two busiest online shopping days of the year. The name of the shopping frenzy is believed to represent retailers moving into profit after nine months in the red. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. It's 'Manic Monday' and shoppers are expected to spend A?17million an hour today over the internet. His staff would be shorter and, being elves, they would probably have green hats and pointy ears, too.
Santa's one-stop-shop: The Amazon warehouse near Milton Keynes has everything you can think of - including the author's own book!
It's a multi-storey, fully-automated shopping colossus next to Junction 13 of the M1 near Milton Keynes with a roof the size of eight football pitches and a thousand staff. It is several times larger than Britain's largest conventional department store - and, unlike Harrods, it never closes.
There are, quite literally, millions of different products stored in no particular order, their location governed only by their size and the spare shelving available at the second they arrived. It is impossible to get your mind around this place - which is just as well because you do not need to. These days, Amazon has nearly 100 million customers worldwide and sells everything from jewellery to computers to bibs.
World next to a pile of Philips kettles next to a pile of cameras next to a mountain of Wii computer consoles. Allan takes me to the starting point, a concrete expanse next to 30 loading bays where all incoming products are scanned and plonked in yellow crates. Each 'picker' is allocated precisely enough orders to fill a trolley and the gun even calculates the fastest route between products. So our kettle and book end up in an orange crate which is automatically propelled to somewhere called 'binning'. The computer even tells them which one of 15 differently-shaped pieces of cardboard to wrap them in for the optimum fit. The computer has already decreed red paper for small packages, broad gold paper for big ones and assorted silver boxes for funny shapes.


Once an order is packed and ready to go, the Amazon monster weighs it, labels it and, in the blink of an eye, flings it into the right chute for the right bin for the right lorry. Amazon has five monsters in Britain (Milton Keynes, Swansea, two in Scotland and a temporary Christmas plant in Peterborough). With 10,000 staff under his wing, Allan Lyall is running an outfit the size of a major airline. I cannot resist a shameless vanity exercise, even if it does make me look just like that Yellow Pages ad (remember dear old JR Hartley hunting down his book about flyfishing?). This is astonishing and faintly depressing for those of us who prefer to leave our shopping until Christmas Eve. Shop online for jewellery from a host of precious jewellery brands like Diti, Orra and more. Conveyor belts take these orders down to a team of 'packing associates', who then box and get them ready for shipping, which takes place at five times through the day.Although its distribution centres currently rely on manpower, earlier this year Amazon struck a deal with robot-maker Kiva Systems that will see the depots automated in the future. The total outlay will hit A?417million in just 24 hours, making it the busiest web shopping day of the year. And his loading bays would be full of reindeer instead of the ceaseless juggernauts which rumble in and out at the rate of one every five minutes.
Because if you really want to dispatch Christmas presents to millions of people all over the world - or, indeed, cope with today's predicted A?17million-an-hour online shopping bonanza - then you need an operation like this. If you want to know where anything is, you don't ask a worker - or 'associate' as they are known. At first, it was based in the Seattle home of its American founder, a cyber-savvy hedge-funder called Jeff Bezos. These hand-held devices are to the ' associate' what the ball of string was to Theseus as he sought the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Knossos. These automatically shoot off to a far corner of the Amazon jungle where the computer has identified a bit of empty shelving.
Perhaps it also tells them when it's time to go to the loo or do something about their wedding anniversary. Here, over a few seconds, is a random list of destinations: County Cork, Austria, Australia, Wirral, Somerset, London . More than half of the company's global business is outside America and much of that is handled via Britain and Germany. Can the computer track down a certain Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work by, ahem, Robert Hardman?


Allan explains it is deliberate policy to scatter batches of the same product all over the building because it is more efficient. You could even explore our fashion and traditional imitation jewellery selection from Sia and other top brands.
The has a further three warehouses planned for the coming year.British shoppers are expected to splurge A?200million on bargains today, which experts say will smash records and boost struggling businesses.
And if you think this thing is huge, then you should have a look at its shiny new sibling down in Swansea.
They may be cocky, but don't you wish this lot were in charge of baggage-handling at our airports? Moments later, I find my book sitting between The Oxford History Of Music Volume 5 and Erotic Confessions (I wonder which will sell out first). If a 'picker' has to find a copy of, say, my book plus a Philips kettle, it's much easier if there are random quantities of both near each other rather than at opposite ends of a building the size of Stoke-on-Trent. Last year, 'Mega Monday' at Amazon saw a best-ever 1.4million British orders in 24 hours and the computer has calculated that 2009 will beat that record by up to a third. Amazon promises it can deliver December 24 shopping to certain postcodes by the same evening, just like Father Christmas. Whether you're looking for real gold jewellery, diamond jewellery or kundan jewellery, you will find it here at Amazon India. Another hectic period will have occured this morning when mothers got home after dropping their children off at school.
Meanwhile, out in the real world, you or I might decide we want to send the AA Golf Course Guide 2008 and a Philips kettle to someone in Timbuktu. In management consultant circles, it is a work of art - the Mona Lisa of distribution, the Venus de Milo of shelf-stacking. They're expected to be Apple iPod Touch, Wii fit, Scalextric and LCD TVsShould I ever make it to the North Pole and find the great man at work, I imagine Father Christmas's Grotto would look a little like this.




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