Every driver has a schedule. Some are tighter than others, depending on just how idiotic the planners and dispatchers they are enslaved to are. It is my opinion that every single person who plans, dispatches or works in the customer service department of a trucking company should have to drive the schedule they plan for a week. I have a distinct feeling that most of them would end up in the fetal position, in an alley beside a warehouse somewhere, wetting their pants and crying. It’s easy to be a jackass to someone over the phone or Qualcom when you have absolutely no idea what is actually going on with the freight, traffic or real life outside of the terminal. Get on our level out here and let’s see what you’re really made of.
We spend an inordinate amount of time searching for places that do not exist. A lot of deliveries are made to tiny warehouses in the middle of commercial parks, where street addresses are scoffed at and generally a giant cluster of imagination and mind reading. You will go from the 1600 block to the 400 block and not have made one single turn. No wonder postmen go crazy. There’s no rhyme or reason to the numbers, it seems that if a company wants to be at 4211, then that’s the address bestowed upon them, no matter if their next door neighbor is at 3759. It’s one of the things that makes me nuts, because it MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL.
My husband has never had a service failure. If you knew what company he was contracted to, you would pat this man on the back and give him a beer for that one. I’m pretty sure they have orangutans doing the planning, and no one knows how to tell time or count past ten. If that’s not the case, they are all evil and need to be shipped to an island somewhere where they cannot afflict the general public with their hatred any more.
It never fails when we are carrying a high value load – a gabillion dollars worth of televisions or computer — that we absolutely cannot find the final address. You would think the planners would actually get the correct address for a driver who is not only on a schedule, but carrying something that they could lose their life for, but hell no, they could care less.
We showed up in Nashville with a quarter million dollars worth of flat screen televisions the other day, looking for an address in a very small, very shady industrial park. There were burnt out cars and abandoned warehouses surrounding the area. A giant, hand-painted sign that read, ‘DEAH ROW PARKING’ was the only address placard we could see.
“I think we need to leave.”
“I’m not leaving, I have twenty minutes to get this to the final, or I get a service failure.”
“I think a service failure is better than multiple stab wounds.”
“No. I remember Bob telling me about this place, I can find it.”
(Side note: Bob is a really good friend who has been on the road for about a hundred years and seems to have been to every screwed-up place in the United States. When we can’t find something, we don’t call the dispatchers, we call Bob.)
“Please tell me it’s not the parking lot for Death Row. I don’t feel comfortable here.”
“No, it’s behind another building. You can’t see it from the road.”
“Don’t you think it would have been nice for someone to note that in the plan?”
“The planners don’t know anything about what’s going on out here, and when we tell them, they still don’t note it.”
“Does someone feed and bathe the planners? Because it seems to me they would probably expire without complete care.”
We circled the block for another ten minutes. The vein in my husband’s head started to throb. This is an indication that he’s getting ready to have a stroke, and it always puts me on high alert. We finally saw another driver, who was circling the same block as us, and flagged him down. The guy had arrived the night before, and spent his last drive minutes looking for the place. He finally had to shut down and spend the night in a parking lot on this tiny corner of hell. They man looked like he hadn’t slept a wink and he had a vein throbbing in his forehead, too.
“Hey buddy, you looking for 418?”
“DUDE! THE PLACE DOESN’T EXIST.”
My husband got on the phone with Bob, got a few directions and had the poor man follow us to the final. We made our delivery time, but the other guy got a service failure. I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but I can assure you he had nothing nice to say about the planners and dispatchers.
This was a perfect example of how truckers take care of one another. If they didn’t work together for a common goal, no one would do it for them. Be kind to one another out there, give a hand and help a brother out when you can. No one else seems to give a rat’s ass if you end up one of the burned-out vehicles in Nashville, except for the other drivers. Be safe out there, we’re pulling for you.