Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Incident At The Electric Wholesale House

I do not get into the same kind of things with my company's vendors - people WE are buying product from - as I will with my own, personal business - just because I don't want them calling my company and starting junk with me through them.  Even if I'm "right", I just let most of it go.

So, today is the first time in quite a long time that I simply wasn't going to take the kind of s*** that these people doling out.

So here's the situation.  We buy product here and there from this company.  Normally, it's the pipe used for natural gas.  They sell a lot of other stuff, but that's mostly what we get from them.  They have a small yard.  To get into that yard, you have to make a very tight turn.  Recently, they put a sign up - if you're truck is over 32 foot long or are pulling a trailer over 32 feet long, you must report to the office first before going in.

That sign is directed towards truck drivers that are DELIVERING product there.  It's a granted that I have to go in to the will call center first to get the paperwork done and make sure everything is correct.  But, I started following the sign's instructions, anyway, just to make sure there were no problems.  When I get the paperwork done with them, I then ask them if they want me to stay out there in the parking lot or pull into their yard.  Sometimes it's stay out there, sometimes its pull into the yard.

Today, the will call counter man asked the yard man what he wanted me to do - who replied to go ahead and pull into the yard.  I heard them both say this, I wasn't dreaming it, it really was spoken.  So, I get into the semi and pull around that tight turn and lo and behold, there is another semi in there already.  Here's where the trouble starts.

A kid on a forklift - okay, he's somewhere in the 20-25 range, comes up on a forklift and starts telling me that I should have gone into the office first to ask whether I can come into the yard and didn't I bother to read the sign?  Yes, I read the sign and yes, I went into the office and THEY instructed me to go into the yard, if you have an issue with that, please take it up with them.   I mean, really.  This guy goes on and on and on about how I should have gone inside.  I wasn't going to waste time with him, I told him about his attitude and that I wouldn't be dealing with it, thanks, got back into my truck and shut the door and completely ignored him.

He drives back to the other end, where a group of them were standing there, glaring at me.  Whatever, load my truck and I'll be out of your hair, thank you.

I get back out - I have to loosen up straps to move 2 sticks of pipe on the back of the trailer so the other forklift operator can load the truck.  I'm in that process when this long-haired hippie looking dude comes walking up.  He gets right in my face and starts in on me.  What is your issue.  I don't have an issue, what are you talking about.  You told my forklift operator that he has an attitude.  Yes, I did, he came up to me and told me I should have checked in the front office before coming in here and I informed that I had, indeed, done so and that they told me to come in here.  Well how do you call that an attitude?  Because he wouldn't shut up. That conversation should have ended when I told him I had gone through your company's procedures and DID check in and did get the okay to come back here.

This guy started getting nasty.  Attitude all over his face and verbage.  I wasn't backing down.  I did nothing wrong, there was no reason, whatsoever, for  this guy to be talking to me like this.  I finally asked him who his manager is.  "I AM the yard manager".  Yup, and you are going to pay - I didn't say but I thought.  I am the freaking CUSTOMER here.

He started walking off and said: "Well I'm going to let it go THIS time".  I wasn't.  Too late, too much negativity, to much bullshit from 2 different people over an extremely PETTY matter.

I stopped what I was doing and walked inside the front office - he walked into his warehouse.  I looked around for the guy I was dealing with in there, he was nowhere to be seen.  I waited for several minutes but - looking out the window, I saw the forklift operator coming up with my pipe.  I walked back outside.  He couldn't load the truck, it was such a tight squeeze there was no room for that forklift to maneuver that pipe around to load the truck.

I offered to back the truck out of there so he could load it in the parking lot - where they should have said they were going to load it in the first place.  If you think getting IN there was difficult, wait til' you try backing up a truck between a building on one side and trucks parked on the other, around a corner through a narrow gate. I didn't get that far before a swarm of people appeared and came out of the warehouse and towards me.  The man at the counter that I dealt with was the first one to me.

However, his tones were nothing like that so-called yard manager.  We got into a discussion and he informed me that this yard manager thought I was delivering something, not picking something up.  So this is how you treat truck drivers bringing materials into your yard.  It took me back to the days of doing over-the-road and being treated like so much dog crap.  You follow their rules to the nth degree and if you don't, they will give you hell.  I heard that and decided it was time to milk this cow.

I looked the man squarely in his face and asked him in a voice that I don't really know how to describe but certainly not of a squeamish person that is going to fall over and bind his legs up into the fetal position if he's talked badly to - Do I need to get MY management involved?.  If my management hears out the entire story and what happened, I have no doubt that they would back me up.  No, no sir you don't need to do that.

I then informed him and everyone else milling about what really happened versus whatever that yard manager might have told him.

That conversation ended and then I backed the truck out of that yard and yet more people came out there.  What's going on?  Same story.  Your yard manager has an extreme attitude and I did not appreciate it and told them the same story.  They - were obviously unhappy about their employee's attitude toward me which was completely unwarranted and apologized profusely.  They stated they were going to deal with the situation.  They even asked if the guy that was loading my truck was also starting crap with me.  No, I said, he was cool, no problems with him. Okay, good, we just wanted to know whether those 2 - referring to the dude that started this with me on the forklift and then the yard manager - had dragged him into it as well.

Meaning they believed me and yes, it was obvious or at least hopeful from the way they were talking - that some heads were going to roll.  This isn't exactly the type of economy where you go treating your customers like shit on a log. If I had an "ace in the hole", it was the two times on the 2 occasions that I asked them if I needed to get my management involved, they particularly did not care for that idea, at all.

The whole incident brought back all the memories of being OTR driving - going to a different place every time and never knowing how you were going to be treated once you got there.  But when I was in my 20's doing it, I didn't put up with it.  If yard personnel were going to talk down to me, they got it right back from me.  If they treated me with respect as you would any (well most) human beings, then I showed them the same respect and then some.  I used to have them demanding me to unload the truck - for free.

No, I would flatly respond.  We're not talking operating a forklift in these particular instances, we are talking about thousands of boxes stacked from floor to ceiling that would have to be unloaded by hand.  I was in New York once, they informed me that this 53 foot long, 110 inch high trailer would have to be unloaded by hand and that they weren't going to do it.  I called my company who demanded I unload that trailer - for free.

Lol.  I was ready to quit.  They didn't want to pay me and at that point in my life? I didn't care.  I could leave the truck and trailer there, at that dock, get my things, get on a Greyhound and go home.  I would tell them it's there, better get a driver over there to deal with it.  But it didn't get that far.  I informed my company they could pay a lumper to come and unload the truck.  They wouldn't pay for that, either.  I didn't care.  I drove the truck there, that was my job.  Loading and unloading trucks? Not my job. I will do it, but for a price.

I then offered to unload the truck myself, but it wasn't going to be anything near free.  $200.  I figured it would take hours - at least - unload that truck by hand.  Not only unload it by hand, but separate it by the demands of the place I was delivering the junk to - they had pre-painted squares with A, B and C painted in them. Obviously, this was Modus Operandi for them.  Again, couldn't care less.  I did unload that truck, by hand and I did it expeditiously and yes, I got paid $200 EXTRA for doing that.

There are many truck drivers out there that will not touch freight, period.  That's fine, too, that's the norm, really for OTR drivers.  It isn't the norm for local drivers, but for OTR? They're out there driving 11 hours a day and in their minds, that's enough.  I happen to agree after having done it for many years.  If you think driving a truck is easy, I invite you to spend a week with an OTR driver and you will get an education.

I left that electrical supply company that also sells natural gas pipe, lol, with the satisfaction that those 2 idiots were going to hear about their actions - actually they had already heard about it before I left the property.  I doubt that I will have any problems the next time I go in there - but who knows.

The days are wearing thin on me. My dad is - for all intents and purposes, dying.  Part of his heart doesn't work, the blood he lost fr...