George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Hurry up and wait or pay $500

This has been an extraordinary trip. I can’t think of any other job in the world where you get to travel from the beautiful green fields of Ohio, to the incredible scenery of Utah, into the excitement and depravity of Las Vegas and out again to the vast, open spaces of Northern Nevada. We’ve met some awesome people, seen some extra-cool things and marked traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway off our bucket list. (George’s alien within was homesick. Kidding! Please don’t shoot me with your laser beam eyes, babe!) I’m always amazed we get paid to do this. Of course, I’m not doing the hard work, so it’s a little less amazing to George, who has to drive all these miles while I simply observe and report.

We’re making our way back home now, and to do so in a timely manner, we take whatever load is going East and reasonable. Consequently, George agreed to take a grocery load to the Safeway warehouse in Tempe. I say that because he generally avoids Safeway loads — they’re heavy as hell and a few of the warehouses use lumpers. Also, Safeway is one of those aggravating companies that schedule a hundred trucks for the same appointment time, when they may or may not have 15-20 bays open for unloading. This pisses me off so bad I can’t see straight. We always end up waiting forever and burning valuable road time, because apparently schedulers for this company are unable to count, or just absolutely don’t give a flying crap. The latter seems to be closer to truth.

George takes it in stride, says it’s the nature of the beast. After about nine minutes of waiting, I’m ready to write scathing letters to everyone involved. I may have a little bit of an impatient streak. Just a tiny one. I usually calm down and find something else to entertain myself with (Hey look! Shiny things!), but this time, after an hour of waiting in line, I made the mistake of reading the notes Safeway sends with the load info on the Qualcomm:

Late drivers will be fined $500.

Late Drivers will be fined $500

What. The. Hell.

We were sitting, an hour after our scheduled appointment time, waiting on jerkos who threaten to take our money if we’re late but have absolutely no regard for our time. I immediately reverted to my standard line.

Safeway, this means war.

So I did what I do best. I bitched. I bitched long and hard on their Facebook page, and sent a lengthy and slightly hostile letter to their business practices office. I pointed out the fact that while it’s bad enough to schedule more trucks than you know you have docks, to threaten fines for the drivers being late, when if they showed up on time they’d likely wait anyway, was disrespectful and showed a complete lack of regard for the very people who make their profits possible. I also mentioned that lumpers originated with organized crime, and aligning themselves with such practices leads me to believe they support criminal activity.

I’ve yet to hear back from either the Facebook page or the business office, and I don’t expect to. This attitude toward truckers is so prevalent in the grocery industry (and most others as well) it’s considered acceptable.

Not in my book. Put your waders on, Safeway. I’m coming for you, and the poop is gonna get deep.

**Addendum**: I did hear back from the Facebook page. I was told they were sorry for our inconvenience, and they would notify the shipping department. I sent a very nice message back, explaining it would take a little more that notifying the shipping department, because the disrespect they have shown has been to the entire trucking industry, not just one individual. I’ll keep you posted.

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  • martymarsh

    I applaud your efforts, but garbage companies like that have been operating like that forever. The only way to handle people like that is don’t go there.

  • Flathead

    That’s why I gave up on van’s & have pulled a flatbed for 21yr’s now & if they take to much time to unload me I can always cut the straps off & dump the load on them , Once they clean up the mess it don’t take long for them to relies my time is money & they don’t make me wait again !

  • Andrea Sitler

    Always hated grocery store loads as well as Wal-Mart, Target and so on. None of them care about the driver or the trucking industry. They motto seems to be “screw you a little harder each run”. My revenge; they don’t get my money when I shop. More than one way to skin this cat.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    I’m thinking they probably wouldn’t book a load with your carrier again if you actually did that…

  • kathy

    go get them you have my vote!!!

  • Tom Mansfield

    Don’t pull the loads. Of course, you will have a harder time using HOS as an excuse these days thanks to EOBRs, but if you own the rig, surely there is a way to get out of it without being screwed for loads later.

    They can’t sell what they don’t have.

  • Sergio Mash

    Safeway receiving is horrible, last time I was there delivering at 16020 Leeland Rd, Upper Marlboro, MD, it was +-2005, they used to take 10-12 hours to receive one pallet of vacuum bagged trays of corn. Appt. 3am, I would arrive 1am to try to leave fast, since I had 2 or 3 more stops, they were terrible, I usually leaved 1-2pm … after a few loads I asked never to go there again, my broker on day tricked me leaving the pallet there, I did all my stops and got there for last, around 12am, just passed the first security gate and drove right trough the second gate where they hold you several hours, made almost all the way around and stopped on a curve so nobody else would pass me, driving fast and with my engine brakes making a lot of noise, went straight for the receiving window and said two options, give me a door of reject the load, I’m not waiting. The manager came and told me I was gonna be expelled from there, I said great, call my company plz and have them know it, because they insist in sending me to this shit-hole full of incompetent slow and corrupt receivers, they were threatening to call the cops to make me move the truck, I give the go ahead, I wouldn’t move and being expelled by the police would work as good as being expelled by them. I just hate their place… expel me plz!! The manager told me to back and unload in any door and I asked for him to sign a copy of the paper right there, I backed in, pulled it off with a broken pump jack(they do it on purpose just so you have to pay them absurd amounts) broke the trays off and was out of there in 10 minutes. Then I told the guy, call the company I hauled for and if they send me back there, expect me to do the same thing again. It was with my trailer hauling loads for a produce company in Philadelphia. I dropped the trailer on afternoon and picked up loaded at night back then… no more surprises.

  • Roman

    Costco is the only one that was an is OK. Usually you can be sure they will unload you in within 3hr time frame, mostly faster. And people that work there are also very friendly, and it is not to specific location, but every where.

  • gary d

    after driving for 3 hours, then it took me 2 hours to bump the dock then I was at the dock 8 hours, $400 lumper fee and then had to wait for a shift change for the checker to come and check in the product before I could leave. I was scheduled to pick up a load that afternoon but I slept just outside their gate out of hours . after that I refused any loads dispatched to them. I wish all drivers would refuse to haul to them then they might wise up.

  • Jimmy

    U go Wendy. I’m a Heavy haul specialist myself.(47 yrs).
    Don’t put up with the BS. Take it or it goes back.

  • Jimmy

    Here’s to U Shawn. Evedently U Have know BALLS or GUTS. You are the problem with the receiver playin games.
    Get out of the business or stand tall. Guys like you are the problem!

  • Terry Massey

    I have quit pulling loads that go to any Grocery company for all of the reasons you mentioned. I am a very reasonable man and have owned my own business since 1975 and it Irks me to no end for Anybody to treat me like “only ” their time is important. If we ALL would quit pulling their loads for a few days and explain to the powers that be why we are not booking their loads, we might get some respect. I am opposed to the word strike because it usually means picket lines and telling others that they can’t do business with whom ever they are unhappy with but that is extortion and I will never condone that behavior. BUT we can quit doing business with them… I don’t go back to places when I’m treated badly.

  • James M.Stepp

    So-they dock you $500.00 if you’re late,huh? Well,seems to me a case could be made that your making an appointment to unload,at a specified time,would constitute a “contract”,seeing as how they’re placing a sanction on being late. In that situation,why wouldn’t they owe YOU $500.00 if you’re there on time and THEY violate the “contract” by not having a place for you to unload,at the specified time? Might be worth running this concept by your Legal Eagles.

  • Jim

    I do not authorize customers to levy fines on me and will sue any who try to collect one.

  • No Reform

    That dump has always been a living hell….they have no concern for any truck driver…never have…never will…most grocery dumps are similar….NO PAY for waiting around either….obnoxious slave driving Hell Begins to describe that Disgusting Crap box of a warehouse.

  • Lee Brau

    My thought exactly. Haven’t the courts held that contracts are 2-way, and terms imposed by one apply to both parties?

  • SalenaLettera

    You might consider getting into flatbed. No appointment times, no docks, no lumper fees, lots more freedom and way more money than van freight. There are some situations where you have to wait, but NEVER as long as these places and after two hours, we request detention. Detention isn’t guaranteed, but we always ask for it and since I’m relentless and think my time is worth money, we often get it. Not a lot of people want to do platform freight (too much work) so there’s less competition. Think about it. :)

  • godfearingrebel

    I accidently hot the like button on your stupid comment trying to reply. Mr shawn either you dont drive for a living or you need to stop and get out of this buisness. I dont feel like i have any right to tell someone how to run their life but your mindset is one of the ruinations of our industry

  • No Reform

    How Funny! We should All do that!! very Gutsy!

  • No Reform

    Yep they suck big time….dont haul those crappy loads….total misery.

  • No Reform

    We should all do that!! I approve!! Very Gutsy.

  • No Reform

    True..those Receivers only want to receive a lot of Butt Kissing…..they want obediant slave boys unloading THEIR merchandise on THEIR docks..while THEY collect Union Wages for doing absolutely NOTHING!

  • No Reform

    Those receivers have nothing but HATE and Contempt for truckers…they want the trucker/boy to perform LABOR while they collect Union Wage for doing NOTHING..and THEY call themselves warehousemen??

  • Chop

    As a dispatch manager I refuse to take loads going to Fred Meyer and Costco in the Washington area because of lumpers, fines, rejected loads/ pallets and unreasonable appt. times.

  • mousekiller

    I handled it a bit different in the past. When the second day rolled around and I was not unloaded I called another carrier. Set up a interline arrangement. Took truck to them off loaded it onto their dock. Then came the honchos in their corfam shoes and string ties and big fancy automobile demanding their products. I just pointed to the dock manager and told them to talk to the man in charge. He told them next wed as he had no drivers to do it now and had to call in a casual driver. They were not happy. He reminded them that this happens all too often and needs to be addressed on their end. Cost the company $150 bucks back then.

  • mousekiller

    Actually it does work. While in Wisconsin at Roundys a load of water melons pulled in. on a flat bed. they gave him a lot of crap. He just started to toss the melons on the parking lot . someone called the office and told them what was with the the crazy driver tossing melons off his truck.. They came out. did not get close and told him where to back in. He was empty one hr later and on his way..

  • mousekiller

    In defense of one grocery house. Dale In. I had been there several time and each time the dock foreman would come into the trailer and help me stack cases. He did a lot of work and said he was not going to allow this business get a bad rep along with the larger places and was doing every thing he could to prevent it. He gave out his phone number for drivers to call if there was a problem meeting appointment time. One of a kind. Don’t know if it is the same now or not.

  • Willie

    Don’t tell Everybody!!

  • Eva Young

    That’s just not right. Give ’em hell, Wendy!

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    I’ve been driving for 13 years now and the difference between our mindsets is I am a professional and you’re a super trucker. Pointing out that sabotaging a load might cost you a customer is factual. I guess you and I live in different dimensions.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Pointing out facts makes me smart. And I would rather be a smart, professional driver than a super trucker like a lot of the yahoos out there, including present company..

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Oh, and as far as who has or doesn’t have balls or guts, here’s an article for you.

  • Shern

    Costco is one of the super entities in the USA known to pay its workers well and provide them good benefits. They have a reason to be friendly and cool to you. If these other shitty places treat truckers this badly, imagine how they treat all their other workers. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Dave Nichols

    I recall years ago 2 of us were sent to a big roofing outfit with flat bed load of tar blocks. these things were stacked on end 3 high on pallets. Yard jockey signed the papers and dissappeared.

    They screwed us around for about 3 1/2 hours until finally we just got in the trucks and drove as fast as we could in a big circle until most of the stuff was on the ground. Then w got on the trailers and kicked the rest off and left.

  • Jack McFadden

    All of the drivers need to go to free website I setup to address this issue. It will be even more important with EORB and new HOS change July 1.

  • Candace Marley

    Let’s face it…there’s always more customers. So what if you piss off one or two. I’ve known my ex to pitch a fit and get his way too. He’s a flatbedder and hauls a lot of pipe. Due to a shipper being an ass after one pipe being put on…he told them they could take it off and he’d be on his happy way. They refused…so he pulled forward, then backed up fast and made a sudden stop making the pipe slide right off the back of the truck. They told him he was banned from hauling from them…he said good riddance. Sometimes you gotta stand up and not take the shippers/receivers shit. There’s only so much abuse you can take before you snap.

  • Candace Marley

    You are correct…I think I never waited more than an hour when I ran flatbed and that was only because their forklift guy hadn’t arrived yet. They had to call him in early so he could get me unloaded.

  • Candace Marley

    I applaud you for your award in saving a life…but it still doesn’t make you more qualified than anyone else on here. But anyway…bravo! I’ve seen drivers do something amazing things…and I’ve seen some do some really stupid shit. Glad to see you did the amazing thing.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    It will never change unless you make it change they continue to treat truck drivers this way because they get away with it. How long they will continue to do this is in your hands stand up for your rights and let your voices be heard quit working for these companies that allow this to happen to drivers and if your independent STOP hauling the troublesome loads the money is not worth the stress and b.s. . I quit dealing with those kind of companies along time ago because they will only get worse buy your own truck and trailer and become independent haul heavy or flatbed I make 2 to 4 times more than I ever did hauling dry van, containers, or being an owner operator because even then your just a glorified employee with no rights.

  • Shawn L Hubbard

    Candace, thank you. But I was primarily addressing the No balls comment. I worked in law enforcement for nine years before I got into trucking and have a folder full of commendations where I’ve made hard choices that others wouldn’t. So when someone questions my integrity or courage, I take umbrage with it. As far as my opinion goes, that and a $1.69 will get me a cup of coffee.

  • Chuck B.

    anybody who bumps a warehouse dock has nobody to blame but themselves. thats why I will never pull a van or reefer again.

  • J walker

    I did almost the same thing with rolled steel. Was told to be there the day before by the scheduler, at 5 am arrived at 3 am was the first truck in line. That morning they came out and told me apt number not correct. Pull thru building and leave property to a holding yard down the street. I refused and demanded to be unloaded, they proceeded to threaten me with police, tow truck and everything else, 2 min to unload one coil but they argued and held their morning receiving for over an hour before unloading it. La vergne tn

  • Steve Paris

    NICE!!!!! This has to be shared with every dispatcher that can be reached. I’ll do what I can.

  • Steve Paris

    I think that is the key. Costco pays the employees. I don’t know but do drivers have to pay lumper fees there? The lumpers, in my opinion have been & are the problem.

  • Steve Paris

    Is Safeway still using lumpers that the drivers pay for? They are the real problem in the equation.
    We need more drivers to stand up to this type of business practice. I’m going to hit the Safeway FB page as well.

  • raffi
  • raffi

    try working the other side of the receiving window, then we’ll talk strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.