Friday, February 24, 2012

The SUV

This entire entry is not going to be about this incident.

However.  I was cruising along the 101 Freeway, southbound, approaching the Elliot road off-ramp.
I have traveled this stretch of freeway so often in the semi, I know what happens before it happens.  I am perched up high, I can see over all the cars ahead of me.

I am going 65mph in a 65 mph freeway.  But, I am prepared to shut it down cause' I know that at least the potential is there that the lane I am in is going to come to stop.  I am also looking WELL ahead of me, though I always do that anyway.

Sure enough, I get up to this portion of freeway - maybe a 1/4 mile before getting to the off-ramp and I can see 20 cars worth of brake lights, cars going off the side of the road into the emergency lane and your basic chaos and heterdyne situation.  I'm already slowing down but the 10 vehicles in front of me don't see what's going on ahead of them - or they simply aren't paying attention - or probably a bit of both.  I only had maybe 15,000 pounds on the trailer.  26,000 truck weight equals 41,000 pound or around there in Gross Vehicle Weight.

Well, the SUV in front of me finally sees the vehicle in front of is shutting down, ie: slamming on the brakes and does the same.  I can see her/him looking in rear-view and that person does something surprising:  he bolts in to the emergency lane.  No, not because they were about to run into the vehicle ahead of them - this person's brake slamming avoided that, no.  Because, they thought, I was about to run over the top of them.  Or at least slam into them and cause' some lifelong problems.  Or life-ending.

I was WAY ahead of that game, but I guess it didn't appear that way to that person.  They are sitting in the emergency lane for several seconds.  I did not attempt to pass, instead, I waited until they saw that I saw what they did.  Although it was unnecessary, I did appreciate that once in a blue moon, there is someone that sees the potential for disaster and actually does something about it.  Truck drivers basically drive for everyone.  Whatever you are doing in front of me, I have already gone through the list of things that you could possibly do, eliminated some of them and waiting and prepared for the worst.  It's how I keep out of horrific accidents.

On a somewhat similar note, I already have a voice mail in my phone concerning Monday morning.  A huge order for a contractor has come in - after I left of course.  I was at 40 hours and that's pretty much what I get - which is better than the 3 years of 35 hours I was getting, so I won't complain.  We already have a HUGE order for Monday which I started pulling after I got done with my deliveries.  Some 2 hours into pulling it - my manager also pulling this order as well - he gets a call.

Hey dude, I changed the order.  Oh. What are you doing?  He changed some things and then was going to change even more of it. We're talking around $130,000 worth of orders going to the same place that is going out first thing Monday morning, we are pulling it Friday late morning and trying to get situated for an early morning delivery and this guy comes along and tells us he is changing it.

We both gave up.  What is the point of trying to get ahead when the order is changed?  I was sent home - my 40 hours were there, though I would have stayed a few hours extra to get it done and ready to go.  We have come to the conclusion that it's time to stop pulling orders in advance, this happens so much that we are sick of the garbage.  Which will, of course, cause problems.  If we aren't pulling orders in advance, then contractors aren't getting  product when they want it.  Yet, the salesmen are allowing contractors to totally change huge orders at the last minute and then expect us - to somehow accommodate for it even after we have already pulled the order, palletized it and shrink wrapped it, ready to go.  

Just time to make a statement: get your orders right the first time and quite giving us "phantom" orders.  So, we decided that we will get it done Monday - and it will be LONG after that salesman wanted it done. But to top that, ANOTHER large order was placed in the system after I left, and apparently nothing has been pulled on it.  I was left an email to show up early on Monday.  You know, I am not going to lose sleep over another person's inability to do their job right.  Or to ensure that orders placed by contractors are done correctly the first time.

When you get orders changed over and over and over, time after time, you tend to get to the point where you don't really believe that whatever order is placed in the system? I really what it's going to end up being after all the changes.  I am ready to start writing them:  "when you are done making changes, please let me know and we will definitely get this order pulled". That notation will be given when the order is placed in our system.  I will assume changes are going to be made.  This will delay deliveries.  But it's necessary at this point.  We spent 2 hours pulling this order today and then get a call: I'm making changes to the order.

We're looking at each like, what the freak?  You want us to pull 130k worth of orders and have it ready to go for Monday delivery and you are calling us this late in the day and telling us that you are now changing the order?

Yeah. That was the end of it. I was ready to spend another couple of hours finishing pulling that order.  Now?  I will spend Monday morning pulling a completely different order, lol.  I am asked to show up at 5:30 am.  No problem.  Doesn't necessarily mean I will get off early on Monday, but it WILL either add to my hours for that week or I will be getting off early one day.

Meanwhile, it's the weekend.  Yes, indeed.  Warming up.  80 degrees today.  That isn't really hot here, but inside a house with the sun baking down on it? Yes, it will warm up.  Inside a car? It was hot inside my car when I left work today and I was running the AC all the way home.

Enough for today.

The Accident

I was cruising in the semi today on a 2-lane, country road out in farm country.
Yes, they do farm in the desert, believe it or not, mostly through the use of canals bringing the water to the fields.
I'm approaching this intersection and I'm seeing some strange stuff ahead.
There is a smashed up car blocking the lane I am in.  I get up to the light and realized this accident must have just happened. Well police showed up right as I pulled up.

The police officer blocks the rest of any access I might have had to get around this vehicle, but there was a good reason why: there was debris all over the road. You wouldn't want to drive over a bumper, glass and other various things laying in the street.  I was going to attempt to flip a u-ey in the dirt field on the other side of the street from me - but an apparent witness pulled his vehicle out of the intersection and effectively blocked that passage.  I can't back up cause' there are cars behind me.

I literally have nowhere to go.  The cop is offering me no help at all - like stop traffic from the opposite direction so I can go in the oncoming lane to get around this mess. Again, that was also understandable, there was still a lady sitting dazed and confused in her vehicle and he was running around attempting to secure the scene.  It wasn't that I had an issue with the cops or the situation - it was a BAD accident.  The car in front of me was not the only vehicle. There was another vehicle that was smashed into one of the stop light poles - that pole was broken in half and buckled over, the mini-van was smashed so badly, I wondered if there weren't some seriously injured people in that car.

Then,  a fire truck comes up behind me and goes in to opposing traffic lane and then?  That was the end of the story. There WAS no continuing on.  Uhhh, not that I don't have sympathy for the injured, but paramedics and police are on-scene and they don't need my help, I have deliveries to make and one contractor is anxiously waiting on some of what was on my truck.  I'm looking around.  There is a farm on the other side of the street where the car blocked any idea of a u-turn.  I guess I could have gotten out and asked the guy to move, but he was talking to police and I figured that took precedence so I passed on that idea.  Well, there IS a very narrow, dirt road - such as the ones you see next to crops on all farms - yes, right next to the corn growing there.  One side of the road is corn, the other is a steep drop off.

Yep.  I crossed the road, over the embankment, onto the dirt, to the dirt road and drove down that thing until I found a place to cross over the curb, beyond the steep embankment and got myself out of there.  Back up to the intersection I had been detained at, made a left hand turn and saw even more closely the damage to that mini van. Yikes!!  Made the left hand turn and then - ambulance and another fire truck are heading towards me.  Pull over - what IS it with people who do not want to pull over for emergency vehicles anymore? - let them pass and that was the end of that story.

Fry's Electronics - Tempe, Arizona Piss Poor Customer Service

I have seen bad press/reviews about Fry's Electronics customer service all over the internet.  People bad-mouth the attitudes of the floor associates on a rather frequent basis.  Well, I am adding my two cents and agreement to such today.

I had called Verizon to find out what is wrong with this mobile broadband device.  After some discussion, the lady stated that the simm card needs to be replaced.  Great, how do I get that done?  Go into any authorized Verizon outlet and they will replace it for free.  Okay, can I take it back to Fry's Electronics, where I purchased the plan/device?  Yes, that will work fine.

I put it off until today.  I could not get on the internet with that thing at all.  It showed that I was in 4g network and that it was pumping out information, but my laptop was showing "no internet service" under the Verizon connection.

So, on the way home from work, a stop at Fry's Electronics.  I don't go there much because - yes - I don't much care for the attitudes of much of the sales associates that I encounter.  I am not banning the place, especially considering it's less than 2 miles from my house, but isn't my first choice for a place to buy much of anything - or second choice for that matter.

So, I walk in an show the device to a guy standing at a podium near the entrance. No, you don't have to do anything (I asked if I need the thing tagged or something before going in there with it), just go ahead and take it in.  Okay.  I walk up to the cell phone display which is also where they have these devices.  3 Fry's associates standing there gabbing away, completely ignoring anyone.  I patiently waited for a couple of minutes before finally, a black dude comes walking up.  I tell him what Verizon told me on the phone.

Well we don't do that here.  We are not an authorized dealer.  ???  How can you sell Verizon wireless plans and phones if you are not an authorized dealer?  was my reply.  Well we just can't do that here, he says.  I'm sorry, I replied, but and again, how do you sell Verizon phones and service plans/contracts without being an authorized dealer?  Because, he replies and getting very short, curt and attempting to engage in what appeared to be a stare-down, we are not an authorized dealer.  Well, this is going nowhere fast, especially his unbelievable attitude.  How does this guy make any money attempting to sell products with THAT kind of crap going on?

Perhaps he is only paid by the hour.  As he absolutely refused to help me, I asked to speak to management.  He pointed me towards the door.  I looked over at the little counter where they did the paperwork for the contract I signed and said, no, it's over there.  No, management is over here and I would rather have them deal with  you at this point.  Stated in a way that I cannot fully express here, with facial and body movements/tones that most people would find nothing short of outrageous.

I said find, let's go.  He THEN started to tell my why they are a not an authorized dealer, but I had heard enough of this guy.  No, sir, you don't want to deal with me, remember?  I don't even want to hear your voice anymore, I will just take this - and your attitude - up with your management.  He started spouting off again, which is when I again informed him that I didn't want to hear the sound of his voice at this point.  Well, we are at the apparent manager's location and he starts informing me that if I continue, he will have me escorted out of there.  ???!!!

That's where he crossed the line.  He should have just let it go, I would have just moved on with management and that would have been the end of it.  I informed him yet again that I did not want to hear his voice, please discontinue your speech.  He then asked me if I had heard what he said?  I didn't CARE what he said at that point.  I will have LT (whatever that means) escort you out of here right now.  He had also stated that I had bared my teeth at him and that he wasn't a dog.  Just unbelievable.

With unbelievable good fortune, however, his direct manager was standing RIGHT there when he was threatening to have me removed.  I was not hostile or angry in any way, appalled, yes, but I was refraining myself from letting loose on this guy with how I really felt about him.  So, completely unphased that a manager is standing there, another threat to have me removed.  The manager steps in at this point.  He says, this is the manager and I went on to tell her nothing about the reason I went in there but everything about how this guy was treating me.  I asked for higher level management, please.  She was just a floor supervisor, I wanted this escalated. She said sure and disappeared around a wall for several minutes.

I recognized the manager that came out and knew I had the right person.  He went straight to the sales associate and escorted him back towards the cell phone display, his arm around the guy's back.  The guy didn't want to leave is the point, apparently he wanted to just continue with his threats.  They stopped and started a discussion of which I have no privy to what was being said, though I could imagine.  The pudding was in the proof: the supervisor was balking at that dude while expressing her sincere apologies to me for the way that guy had been talking to me.  She went on and on about how rude that guy was being and then another floor associate that had also heard it chimed in the same sentiments.

Finally, a situation such as this where the right people witnessed and heard enough of the event to give validity to it.  The conversation over there went on for several minutes and then the manager came up, apologized for that man's attitude as well and then we started discussing the problem.  Well, I told him the same thing about the simm card.  Okay, well let's see what we can do.  We headed straight for the counter that the black dude did not want me to go to when I had asked for a manager.  I could get one, yes, I find out, but it's going to cost $5 - but then I was told it was actually $3.  Well, I was already here, $3 isn't enough for me to want to leave and go find the thing for free at an "authorized" center - which never was explained to me, but is not a moot point.

Turns out they had a whole STACK of simm cards.  I start looking over at the black guy who is, of course, completely ignoring me at this point.  No, they don't do that here, right?  They do it, they just charge you for the new card.  Well the charge is so minimal that I didn't even give it a second thought, as I already stated, let's switch it out.  Well the whole ordeal of calling Verizon, getting my account, me verifying who I am, authorizing the new card, etc etc etc.  I pulled out $5 and the manager stated no, we'll just give it to you for your inconvenience.  Okay.  In my mind I was thinking: they should offer me 20% off my next purchase.  But I said nothing but thank you and he left since I was being taken care of at that point, though he did offer a final apology for the trouble I had encountered.

If I have any consolation in this entire ordeal, it is that that dude got into trouble and with the witnesses? I am guessing he is going to have further problems with this incident.  I hope so.  How can you treat customers like that?  Whatever.

I left the store, got into my car and got out the laptop.  The internet came up and started working right away. Good sign, at least, but I was almost home already and had already been fooling with it all day long, had no desire to continue with it.  I will fool with it later or even tomorrow as right now?  Just chillin' on my desktop computer.

A short entry.  4 accidents in various places today left my in want on the total number of miles driven. I guess 600 isn't that bad but...