LETTER: Earn your ‘professional’ title

| June 02, 2013

After having read Wendy Parker’s “Unwanted visitors at a Texas Walmart” post and many of the subsequent comments, I had to sit back to regroup before commenting myself.

This will probably make several of you angry, but I have noticed that when we are wrong about something, we really don’t want to have our errs pointed out to us, especially publicly. But since there is no way to speak with any of you personally, I must do this by public comment.

At least by making a public comment, someone else may not do things in an unprofessional manner when they are face to face with a similar matter.

First off, truck drivers are supposed to be professionals.

Yes, at times we are really mistreated. Sometimes, we bring things on ourselves. Sometimes the things we do bring repercussions on the entire industry. Other times we do nothing, but end up getting treated like we are pure crap.

My point is this: We need to try to act like the professionals we are supposed to be. When a problem arises like this particular one, there is every reason to depart from having words with that individual. Either finish your business there and leave, or just go someplace else to accomplish the same goal.

Now, when you have gained your composure, there is an 800 number for Walmart in Bentonville, Ark. I have called it quite a few times when we’ve had problems with a store: 800-WALMART (800-925-6278).

There are certain ways of doing things that do not make it a bad reflection on the entire industry. If you so choose to do things in an unprofessional manner, then you are part of the problem in this industry. (For example, truckers that drive with road rage, nasty habits on another’s property, the way you act towards your fellow drivers, the way you act towards other people, the way you act while in contact with law enforcement persons, and that is not the entire list.)

So it would be nice to rethink your comments and try to act like the professionals we claim to be. –Earnest L. Williams, CEO, JERICO Way Inc, Greensboro, Ala.

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  • Gary Alexander

    thanks!….well said….even though i had trouble at this wal mart…your words made me re-evaluate myself…..I try to be professional…but at times is hard to…….thanks for your input….i for one appreciate it!

  • 2WildT

    Yep, well spoken. I too have called Walmart in Bentonville,Ar. My last call was on the Walmart at Pineville,La for doing things very similar to what Wendy commented on. I explained to Bentonville that I was an OTR driver and always bobtailed over to this store after I made my delivery across the street. I posed the question to them if they would rather I stock my truck up at Publix,Winn Dixie, or Pigly Wigly. I was told I could shop there as much as I wanted as long as I just bobtailed in. Both sides happy.

  • pops

    I am a long haul trucker.
    I have one more to add and this applies to anywhere and everywhere. If you cannot find a trash can for your garbage then hang on to it until the next stop. I have so many drivers just open the door and drop there trah or tras bag on the groundand drive off. Not only Walmart, truck stops too. I have been known to take a picture of your truck and forward to local police and the company.

  • Hooty

    I agree to the point that everyone needs to keep things civil but when you are “open to the public” then there are certain responsibilities that you have to live up to, like Walmart is in public business of selling stuff, thus they are “required” to furnish parking for it’s customers, it should not make any difference what the customer is driving, they are required by law to furnish parking and they cannot prevent any vehicle from using parking as long as they are doing business with them. Overnight parking can be prohibited since you are not doing business anymore.
    Now as far as anyone claiming the title of Professional, I have never met anyone that said they were a Professional driver in the last 30 years on the road. This is a title the “opposition” tags someone when they want to blame them for something. The quote always says ” You are a professional and should know better or you should not do that….” I don’t know where they come up with this stuff nor is there any “rules” they can back their accusations up with written in any book on this planet.

  • USMC 69-75

    Well Hooty, I consider myself a “professional driver, O/O. I run under my own authority, don’t worry about what the scale are doing, and perform my job in a professional manner! Nothing about anything written in a book, it’s all in ones mannerism, how one acts, work ethics, and having morals and integrity! I treat others as I would want them to treat me, if they want to be stupid , I just walk away, (It’s hard to soar with eagles when your flying with a bunch of turkeys!) Apparently We haven’t crossed paths in the last 30 years, I’ve been at it for 40 years, and still going strong. Been coast to coast more time than I care to remember, now I just run local, home nights and weekend, loving it!

  • Regulator

    This “CEO” sounds just like a CEO. “Driver do everything to keep the customer happy, we need their money. I don’t care what they do to you, drivers are dime a dozen”. Sound familiar to any of you drivers out there? The old days of companies caring about their drivers is gone, right along with the wages we used to make.
    I have driven for 23 years and I know how it was then and how it is today. I had a manager once that would not let anyone run over his drivers. I have heard him on the phone getting on to a “customer” more than a few times and that was just when I happened to be in the office. He ran a tight ship, you broke it you payed for it. Fair enough. You were late for an appointment you payed, if you didn’t have a good excuse. Fair enough. The customers we went to either hated us or respected us either way they got their produce and we got payed, very well I might add. He has passed on now RIP Wayne.
    By the way, you “CEO” types are the people that have let the industry go to hell, not the drivers. We call you a “sell out”. Your bucking for the buck not the drivers have led us to the poverty level while you get rick.

    Wal Mart was one of our biggest customers back then and do you know something, I never had to pay a penny to have Wal Mart take “their” produce off “my” truck. I recall two times that customers didn’t want to unload my truck. They changed their minds when I decided to take my truck and “my product”, that they hadn’t signed for, to the house.
    I don’t care that you can tell me how it was to drive a truck before you became a CEO. Things change and you sir are now part of the problem for the trucking industry. When you go to that big party at the end of the year, you know the one at Christmas time, that you don’t invite drivers to, think to yourself, why am I not bringing the people that made my money for me to this shindig then you will have the answer to why we call you a “sell out” and why drivers a fed up with you cowering to the customer and why we are the middle man in this industry.
    I have been on the other side of that desk your sitting at. I did your job for 2 1/2 years before I was so feed up with the, watch out folks dirty word coming up now, cover your ears, POLITICS. I couldn’t stand to see drivers treated the way they were treated being ripped off by the same people who were supposed to be looking out for them. Being told the load payed one rate and showing the driver another. Telling drivers “we will get on that maintenance problem as soon as you get back in to the shop. Lord knows we don’t want to spend that kind of money out on the road”. Sound familiar to anybody? GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • Ken Nilsen

    Hooty you are incorrect, they are a private company. They do not belong to the general public. They are not “required” to provide parking for everyone. They are not required by law like you say to provide you parking, the only parking they are required to provide is for handicap drivers under the “law”.

  • Ken Nilsen

    Wow! You need to lay off the coffee, you have a lot of hate in you. Remember, that big company pays your salary or hourly wage or mileage wage. How about taking the time to say thank you instead of ranting.

    “By the way, you “CEO” types are the people that have let the industry go to hell, not the drivers.” Really? you mean the CEO’s told you to dress like a slob? The CEO told you to throw your trash and pee bottles on the ground? The CEO told you to come to work with a bad attitude like you have? The CEO made you hateful? Grow up and understand that you are a professional because you are paid for your labor. If you do not like it then quit and leave the industry.

    No one makes you do anything. Can you point out a specific instance where someone held a gun to your head and said do this or die? I didn’t think so.

    “I did your job for 2 1/2 years…” Really? Can you please inform the posters on this board what Corporation you were the CEO of?

    “Your bucking for the buck not the drivers have led us to the poverty level while you get rick.” I am sure you meant “rich”. The CEO did not lead you to poverty. Since starting as a company driver at a beginners wages, I now own my own truck, own my house, own 2 personal vehicles. I did this using efficient money management skills. You can take courses in order to improve your situation.

  • David S. McQueen

    Walmart provides parking as a business necessity. Obviously, if customers couldn’t park, they wouldn’t be in the store buying. They can legally prohibit customers from parking there (and lose that customer’s business). As for Ernie Williams, he’s of the usual “one size fits all” mentality. Individual behavior is not logically indicative of the entire class. Some drivers are pros and some aren’t. some CEOs are professional and some aren’t. Before Ernie chastises other, he really needs to get his own house in order.

  • David

    I had to jump in here, as a Safety Professional that has 16 years of Driving in my background as a Driver Trainer. Some of the problem in the industry is that we have lowered our expectations when hiring drivers. Mainly because all companies NEED drivers. unfortunately this has brought the unemployable 7% of our society to the wonderful world of trucking. I have seen this for 20 years. The idea of being “Professional” has went by the wayside. I agree the industry hurts, pay is not where it should be, the whole manufacturing industry has turned upside down in the last 20 years, going from an industry that kept components or materials on hand to an industry that uses the trucking industry as its warehouse. Company representation by the driver is at an all time low. Many drivers do not represent their company well. Generally, most Drivers will tend to bad mouth the company they work for before saying anything good about their company. This last fact hurts more than ever in an industry that is on the bring of a revolution. This revolution will not involve drivers sitting for two hours to show the world something. The revolution will be the collapse of the Owner Operator, the eventual collapse of the 1-250 truck fleets, and the take over by the larger fleets, the mergers that happen, and the union fortification that will follow. Frankly, that may very well be what needs to happen. look at the Airline Industry, once a thriving community flourishing, now look at it. Does the news report on the success? No. Does the news report on the failures…..you better believe at every opportunity.

  • MercenaryMan

    Respect is earned and being a Professional isnt rated by years of driving or being an O/O etc. You simply park out of the way, allow room for cars to manuever and see around you, and dont use ANY parking lot as a bathroom or dump. Those that do are the Human Garbage and the way to end that is to Take a Picture write down a plate number and forward to there company. Walmart has a huge lot, most drivers do park out at the edge and MOST drivers dont use it as a bathroom or dump, we need the services of Groceries and Bank, etc as the Public does, I respect them and they hopefully respect me. Its a two way street, some stores do not want trucks, they may be busier then most, Ive seen stores that there lots were jammed, no way should a truck be out there, CARS dont observe the protocols most trucks do, they drive and look later, cut thru and ignore that you are there. SO If we want to continue using Walmarts we all need to respect each other, if you cant do that, then go back to the truck stop.

  • Time Will Tell

    Regulator,

    While you call me a “sell out”, and say that I don’t care about drivers; you are wrong.

    You see, I have a very small company. But this country was built by small companies, just like mine.

    The very reason we are small, is by our own decision.

    When a company hires drivers, they have the responsibility of ensuring their drivers represent what their company stands for: integrity and professionalism.

    Since we have seen so many company drivers that steal and sell their company’s fuel, sell their tarps, chains, binders, and anything else that can be removed from a truck, that we chose to stay small without hiring drivers.

    We have seen the leased trucks, get under a load and just disappear. Now the customer calls the company wanting to know where their freight is that they have entrusted you with.

    Well, one thing about it, if we don’t have company drivers, then we don’t have to worry about the loses caused by those whom so-called wanted to work with us. Nor do we have have to worry about where any load is.

    We are not just the CEO, we don’t have company drivers, we are the only truck that is leased to this company, and we don’t steal from our self and we always know where our load is located at all times.

    Since we have been through the steps most drivers go through out here, we decided to do something good for our self, we started our own company so that we can run it as we see fit. We don’t accept any load we don’t want, nor do we accept any load that goes anywhere we don’t want to go to.

    We set our small company up just like the bigger companies, and can do anything they do. But we have enough get-up-and go to do things in a professional manner getting the job done that we chose to accept.

    We don’t have to pay a company anywhere from 20 % up to 32% just to put our truck to work. Most leased trucks pay anywhere from $20,000 up to $32,000out of every $100,000 that truck makes per year just to be leased to a company. If they chose to lose that much money, that is their choice. I will not do it. We keep our overhead down, make more money than most any leased truck does. Plus, whatever is paid to lease this truck to this company; that money is ours also .

    Therefore, anything above real expenses, is ours!

    As far as you having drove for 23 years, that doesn’t really have any bearing on how well you do in trucking or if that makes you anymore of a professional or not.

    I was out here before you were, so I know even more than you do about how it was in the past. Looking back, some of the past was good, but some of it wasn’t.

    But I am a professional! I have over 35 years experience, and my wife has over 15 years experience. That is a total of more than fifty years experience in this truck.

    Even though I have been our here as long as I have, my wife still points out things I should or shouldn’t do. And I must admit, she is pretty much right. I have to give credit where it is due.

  • Time Will Tell

    Ken,

    You are absolutely correct. Drivers like Regulator have an attitude that makes it much more satisfying to me; not to be even associated with them.

    He completely misread the post.I made. If anything, a driver with that much experience should have jumped up and down in support of what I stated.

    Drivers with that much time on the road should be more like a mentor to other drivers, rather than to critique what I said.

    Thank you for your comment! I can tell you may be a real professional!

  • Time Will Tell

    David,

    Spoken very well!!!

    You and Ken are an inspiration to me that there really are others in this industry to are not enjoying some of the ash and trash that we now have in our industry.

    It is a breath of fresh air to hear the two of you respond to this much needed direction that the industry needs to correct itself.

    Thank you too, and may you present yourself as a mentor to others whenever the chance permits.

  • Time Will Tell

    Hooty,

    I appreciate your response as well.

    As far as professionals go, maybe the drivers you have been around in the last 30 years do not consider themselves as professionals. They probably aren’t.

    However, we do! And no one has pinned this title to us. We exhibit professionalism in all of our daily dealings.

    Furthermore, everyone truly knows when they are acting in a professional manner and when they are not.

    At not one point have I claimed 100% professionalism, sometimes even I err. However, I always strive to do my utmost. When I notice I have slipped I do everything in my power to make things right and not make the same mistake again.

  • Time Will Tell

    Gary,

    Even though you may not always succeed at being professional, at least you are claiming your rightful title.

    No one does everything perfect all of the time, but at least you are working for perfection!!!

    Me too!

  • Time Will Tell

    2WildT,

    You done a fine job in your situation, and you did exhibit professionalism when needed.

    You are an asset to this industry.

  • Time Will Tell

    MercenaryMan,

    WOW! Nailed it dead on the head!

    Some people post comments thinking if they have a smart _ _ _ reply, that others will like them more.

    But it is words such as your that let me know there are others whom are doing a great job!

    We pass by some Wal Marts because they have too many barriers in their lot. They definitely do not want you in their lot with a full-grown big truck.

    They are taking pride in their community to make it nice for shoppers. I can respect that.

    Then you have other Wal Marts that are wide open, and many even have designated truck parking. These are stores that we try to patronize.

    Thanks for your great post!

  • Time Will Tell

    David,

    How can you judge whether my house is in order when don’t even know me.

    Judge not, lest you judged.

    From your written words, it would be fairly easy to judge that you jump to conclusions when you don’t know your head is stuck deeply in that hole!

    See ya!

  • Time Will Tell

    Pops,

    At least we know you do not trash up the places.

    You are absolutely correct! There should not be any problem for a person holding his trash a little longer.

    Then he can place it where it belongs.

    Some people think everyone else is supposed to pick up after them like they are a kid.

    They forget that their mother does not work there. And had she done a little better job, they wouldn’t drop trash everywhere they go.

    Maybe someone will read this and grow up.

  • David S. McQueen

    I know that Ernie Williams isn’t the consummate professional he thinks he is. And you don’t know me, either.

  • mousekiller

    I have to disagree with you on at least one point. It is not just the CEO’s that is is the problem with trucking today. Yes they hire the less than qualified new drivers and yes they have no dress code now. HOWEVER!

    The CEO does not drive truck.

    They do not leave trash in parking lots.

    They do not sit in a restaurant and use foul language for all to hear and they do not tailgate with a truck.

    They are not the ones that will evacuate 1/3 of a restaurant due to lack of personal hygiene.

    We !!! the truck drivers are the biggest reason trucking is how it is today. I have been driving for over 45 years so I have seen a bit more and experienced a bit more than the average driver has. We have done nothing as an industry to improve the public image of trucking. What we have done is.

    We have failed to educate the new drivers in how it is supposed to be.

    We have failed to teach by example.

    We have allowed less than qualified drivers to share the road with us and we did nothing about it.

    We have failed ourselves.

    The CEO’s set the brand of truck we drive and the pay we earn and keep the customers on board so we can get paid..

    We set the standards and we have over the last 25 years lowered the standard we once held ourselves to.
    Ask your self . Am I one of those that tolerated the less than a good driver and did nothing?
    Am I one of the drivers that did nothing to improve the industry?

    Do I tailgate if I am in a hurry or that car is in the left lane?
    Do I stop a bit sooner for a light and give some one trying to get on the street from a drive way the go ahead sign and allow them get in front of me?

    Do I use foul language no matter where I am?
    Do I wait for days to shower just because I am going to un-tarp a load in 2 days?
    Do I fit the image of a professional in my appearance, demeanor, how I drive, and is this what the customer and public see when they see me do my job?

    NO! it is not just the CEO’s that are the problem with the industry today. . Nor is it Overdrives problem. They just print opinions and articles and information and you took exception to it . You just have to place blame and it is not where the blame should go.

  • mousekiller

    Sorry Ken but I find an error in your post. Regulator is not a professional or he would not have posted such a childish rant. Blaming Overdrive is border line stupid for how our industry has become.
    Professionals work hard to keep the image of professional. Far too many steering wheel holders just haven’t made the last few steps to the pinnacle of professional. From regulators post he has a very long way to go.
    By the way your post for the most part was right on.

  • mousekiller

    Just a reminder.
    Wal-Mart, and Truck stops and other business are PRIVATE PROPERTY. They can make the decision to allow trucks or not to allow trucks and it is not for us to get pissed about it. Some drivers get upset if a RV is using a parking spot in a truck stop . It is the truck stops right to allow the RV there . We drivers do not have any control over who parks and who doesn’t. It is what we leave behind that is the decision maker

    Personally I go into a Wal Mart or other store with a lot large enough to park out of the way and go inside and let them know I am parked and where and is it all right? I have never been turned down doing that. I have been allowed to park over night in some cases to avoid long dead head to TS and back. Courtesy goes a long way.