Sunday, February 27, 2011

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Nov. 29, 2008

Current mood:smart
So I have always had a problem with confrontation with people.  I didn't know where an arguement stops, and fist fighting begins.  It's not something I'm proud of, but it is the truth. 
In any job, you are going to have confrontation.  Sometimes small, sometimes big.  Well, in truck driving a lot of the consigners, recievers, and any of the companies that have to do with sending and taking in freight do not like truck drivers.  Not only that, but they treat drivers like crap since they may or may not ever see them again. 
Well, this story starts with me being in the Los Angeles area of California.  I was at the Covenant Transportion (who I work for) terminal in Pomona, California.  My co-driver Wilberto and I were told to drop a load 40 miles away, and then to bring the empty trailer back to the terminal... at 1 AM PST in the morning.  Normally, I would say, no problem, but we would only get 80 miles or $13.60 for three hours worth of work.  Now, the problem comes in that, this is such a short load, and that it's L.A. traffic.  And the fact that we have to get up at such a riduculous time for a load that a local guy should do.  And we get word that we have to unload the truck ourselves, and not get paid for it.  But we get it done, get back to the terminal, and try and get some sleep.
So since me and my partner did what we were supposed to do, we figured we'd get a load out of California to head somewhere back East.  Well, we where wrong.  We get sent 60 miles (120 total) right through the heart of Los Angeles to pick up a load that is coming right back to the Pomona terminal.  By this time it's morning, and one of the local guys should be doing this job.  But, Wil and I are "company" men, and do it without agruement.  Well, we have to go through Los Angeles in the morning which has bad trafffic all the time.  However, morning traffic is just a tad bit worse.  So we go to the shipper, get the truck to fit into the tinyist place imaginable, and head back.  (So far the numbers are 120 miles for $20.40 (before taxes) for 4 hours worth of work, and the headache of L.A. traffic)  So we come back to the terminal, and that's when the fun really starts to begin.
Wil and I drop the trailer, and park the truck.  I take the paperwork into the office.  The day manager (who I will now refer to as asshole) asks me where the weigh scale ticket is.  I say I don't have one.  We were told to go pick it up, and that's it.  He says that he can't take it in without a scale ticket.  I say that a local guy should have done this job, and that it doesn't weigh enough to where a scale ticket is needed.  He proceeds to tell me that I need to go weight it.  I flat out tell him, I have another load I have to pick up right now, and that I don't have time to go weigh this load.  He then throws the paperwork at me, and says he won't give me a reciept for me for the trailer I'm trying to turn in, or a gate pass for the trailer I have to pick up, and take back East.
Now the way this guy was talking to me, and the way he threw the paperwork at me, I was wanting to go to his side of the office, and smack him around in no uncertain terms.  However, I held my temper, took my paperwork, and walked out.  I called my dispatcher (something I don't like to do), and let him know what was going on.  He said that I had to weigh the trailer even if the guy was being a butthead.  (His words, not mine.)
So I tell the guard what is going on, and hook the truck back up to the trailer.  (Note: I don't go back to the asshole in the office, and get a gate pass.)  So now comes the part that I haven't told you.  What was in the trailer.  I know I shouldn't say this, but fuck them.  They treat us like dirt, I'm going to tell the story. 
I had a 53 foot trailer full of pharmaceuticals.  That's right.  I had 60 pallets of prescription drugs.  So I ask the question.  How much was that worth?  Was it 2 million?  10 million?  I like the sound of 10 million so I will use that number.  I had 10 million dollars of drugs on a trailer that I was hauling around Los Angeles. 
So in working smarter, not harder, I sweet talked the guard (a female for the record) into letting us out of the gate.  So Wil and I head to the scummyist, dirtyist, and worst truck stop in the U.S.  The Ontario (L.A.), California Travel Center of America (T.A.)  It's chock full of pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and all sorts of unsavory characters.  Do you remember the cantina on Tattooine in Star Wars?  It's kind of like that.  Only bigger.
Now we have to go back through Los Angeles traffic, get a scale ticket, (which costs me $9.00), and get told what I already know.  That our truck is under weight, and the load is balanced just fine.  Well, I'm still mighty hostile, and hungry.  Well this T.A. has a Pizza Hut, and I haven't eaten pizza in over a month.  So me and Wil go inside, order food, and take our time.  We were already up to 6 hours in dealing with this mess (that a local should have done) so what was another hour? 
So we make it back to the terminal, and I send Wil back in to deal with the guy so I don't have to pummel the asshole in charge of the terminal.  Well, from what I heard the asshole went irate when we didn't come back inside.  He then went balistic when he found out that we had managed to take an entire trailer full of drugs out of the terminal without a gate pass.  On a sad note he then chewed out the guard that I had sweet talked to get out of the terminal.  He then told the new guard whose shift had just started to be on the lookout for us, and to give us a rough time if possible.
I looked at my phone, and noticed that I had 11 missed calls, all from the main Covenant phone line.  It seems the asshole had called dispatch, and told them that I had taken a very expensive trailer without permission.  The asshole was a classic control freak, and control freaks don't like when you take control away from them.
What surprised me was that, nothing had come across the Qualcomm.  (Note: that's our in truck computer.)  But then I realized that he didn't want anything official put across the airwaves.  He didn't want it put in writing that someone had outsmarted him, and that he had lost a trailer with 10 million dollars worth of drugs in it. 
Now comes the question, did I get in any trouble?  No.  I did exactly what I was told.  I went to the closest truck stop, and got the trailer weighed.  It's not my fault that the control freak/ asshole got outsmarted by a trucker who can do things besides yell at the female guards.
So here's the final tally:
6 hours worth of work for $20.40.  Take away taxes it's down to around $16.00.  Take away the scale ticket it's down to $7.00.
So $7.00 for 6 hours worth of work.  And you wonder why truckers are angry? 
But showing a control freak/ asshole who's boss without having to pummel him, while making him look like an idiot in front of his boss?  Priceless.

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