Empowerment

| August 11, 2010

The most frustrating thing about trucking is the waste of time.  Shippers and consignees seem to gleefully waste it. Our time has no value to them. They often treat the drivers like we have no value. Since our time has no value to them they don’t mind wasting it. Sometimes it seems like some of them seem to enjoy it.

I had one of those last week in Melrose Park, Ill. It was on a Friday morning about 11:30. Dispatch sent me directly from a consignee in Villa Park about 10 miles away. When I arrived they informed me that my appointment was not until 2:30 in the afternoon. There was only one other trucker there, and they were loading drop trailers.  Leaving Chicago at 3:30 instead of 1:00 means all kinds of traffic. I found myself saying “PLEASE,” but the young woman was having none of it. We were their customer buying their pallets, but still I got “maybe we can get you in at 1:30”  ”OK, I’ll be back before then.”  At least I would beat the afternoon rush.

It takes me less than 5 minutes to get my bike off of my truck and on the road. I was off in search of the Prairie Path.  It is an old railroad right of way that was turned into a trail when I was just a kid. It took me less than 10 minutes, and I was on it. The trail runs almost straight west of the city through the western suburbs. It runs parallel to North Avenue about 1-2 miles south of it.  I had to cross it every day when I walked to Glenbard West High School.

With every mile I felt the word “slave” being washed from my forehead. So often those people in shipping and receiving relish the power they have over us. Getting out and doing something for ourselves gives us back the power. It makes me feel as though my time belongs to me.

One of the excuses I hear is “I don’t have the time.”  Every one of us has had their time wasted waiting at a dock. Take that time back if they don’t need you there do something. A 30-minute walk is a good way not to let them waste your time.

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