Me And My Big Mouth! (How To Start A Fight At A Terminal)

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Old School's Comment
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The following is a true story... about how I learned a lesson, while thinking I was going to teach a lesson.

I was in Phoenix Arizona recently so I decided to spend the night at the Knight terminal there. I usually try to avoid terminals, but this one is a pretty nice terminal so I checked in with the security guard and parked my rig for the night late on a Thursday night. What I don't enjoy about terminals is that there always seems to be a certain crowd of drivers there who enjoy commiserating together about how badly trucking has treated them. I'm sure you know the type, we call them the "Terminal Rats!" When I was at Western Express there were some of them that would almost always be at the Nashville terminal any time I happened to be there - Sometimes I would wonder, "Do these guys ever work?" It is no wonder that they have a long list of grievances about their pay. At some point in this career you have got to figure out that we get paid for our performance, and not just because we are on the payroll.

Okay, Friday morning rolls around and I go into the drivers lounge area to get myself something for breakfast. This terminal has what amounts to a nice little convenience store in it with a self check-out register - It's really nice. So, there are about five of us (drivers) in there, and one of them makes it his business to let each of the other four of us know just how unhappy he is with his dispatcher. He's saying things like, "I've been sitting here at the terminal now almost long enough to get a "34" in... This company sucks, they just don't have the miles to give us... I'm going on a year now, and I have never even done 2,500 miles yet... I can't keep this up, I've got to find a better company that has the miles... etc., ad nauseum."

One guy speaks up and says, "Man, who is your dispatcher? I've never had any problems getting the miles here." "Oh, it's so and so, he spends more time trying to screw me over than he does at making any effort to get me some decent runs, I swear he tries to aggravate me with the loads he comes up with," says Mr. Disgruntlement.

I'm just minding my business and keeping my head down while taking it all in. I don't dare want to mention that I'm almost always in excess of 3,000 miles on a weekly basis, because I really don't know much about what these reefer and dry van guys go through, and half the time when I say to someone in the company that I am a SAPA driver they act like they've never even heard of that division. We may be small, but we are pretty special when it comes to having plenty to do with some really good solid runs.

After some of the others start agreeing with him and say they are experiencing the same thing, the first guy that commented falls out of the conversation, because he seemed to realize, like me, that these guys just don't get it. He kind of gives me a quizzical look as If he was wondering if we were thinking the same thoughts.

After a little lull in the moaning and groaning the original complainer's phone starts ringing. It appears as though he is having a conversation with his dispatcher , and everyone's attention is on him now, some of them wondering what kind of load he got, and a couple of us just wanting to here what he has to say to this "terrible dispatcher." He quickly starts in like this - "Can't you find something better than that! I'm not going to do that run, it would be impossible for me to get that done by Tuesday morning before the payroll cut-off. I need some money on this week's check. I told you that already and here you go and come up with a 1600 mile run! Why can't you ever get me something like this when I need it? Now when I'm just wanting something to get me by until payday you try to get me to jump over the moon for you, well I'm not your puppet man! You can give that to some fool who thinks he just has to take everything you tell him - I'm going to be right here waiting for you to come up with something I can finish by Tuesday morning, or better yet Monday morning just to be on the safe side - I've got to have some money now! I can't be stretching this pay period over into the next week - I've got bills to pay now. What is it about my situation that you just can't seem to understand?"

At that point, he slams his phone to the table and starts bragging to the others about how he is just not gonna take this crap. They're gonna have to come up with something better than that if they want him to take it!

I've got to tell you, I was aghast! I started thinking, "Here's a teaching moment for you Old School, go over there and talk to the guy and show him just how easy it would be for him to do sixteen hundred miles by Tuesday morning. After all it is still early on Friday when he took this call, and somewhere in the conversation you heard him say that the load was ready to be picked up now and it was only about twenty miles away from the terminal." Haha, I'm so accustomed to being able to teach in this forum. It just sort of flows naturally, and most of the time you guys don't give me any grief. Not so in the terminal environment! I tried my best in my kindest voice, but this guy laid into me and let me know that any time he needed some advice from a "super trucker" he would ask for it!

So, now I'm known as the "super trucker" at the terminal in Phoenix! Oh well, I'm just going to concentrate on my own efforts, and leave the terminal rats to their own troubles.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ronny S.'s Comment
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He was embarrassed! Super Trucker is pretty cool honestly. Wear it proudly, you did the right thing.

Pianoman's Comment
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Hahaha I just had to read this when I saw the title! You guys (you, Brett, G-town, Errol, Daniel) are too nice. You try to help people even when they're too stupid to accept your advice. I personally don't have that kind of patience with people, so hats off to you. If people want to complain but refuse to listen to advice, that just shows how dumb they are. Anyways, good for you for trying to help him out.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

OS/ST, that guy had an amazing point of view! You've heard the song "It's Five O'clock Somewhere", meaning it doesn't matter what time it is.

For Knight truckers, you might say "It's Tuesday Sometime", because 1600 miles is 1600 miles. And on a Friday (thinking about getting something in by Tuesday) all he's going to get is some 400 mile run.

I'd be in my truck in a flash for that long run. Plus, I'd like to get the bills in on Tuesday, but if it's later, I'll still be ready for a nice busy week next week.

Some people's egos get in their own way. But from reading TT posts, you already know that.

Phoenix's Comment
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shocked.png Drivers talk to their dispatchers like that? Or anyone (especially someone they want something from)? No surprise he sits..it's his own choice to sit! A Friday morning? He could do that 1600 run and set up for another by Tuesday. Easily! Seems to me he is an egotistical show off and he was simply on stage for y'all to see how well he manages to sc*we himself. LOL

If you were to try to teach me something, Mr. Super Trucker, smile.gif I'd be all ears!!

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

How dare you try to inject some common sense into his way of thinking. Maybe he needs to live within his means.

C. S.'s Comment
member avatar

LOL at not being able to do a 1600 mile run in four days.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Cheese goes really well with whine, take him a hunk of Velveta next time and a box of Ritz. Too funny.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

WOW. I can't believe people would actually talk to a dispatcher like that. It is no wonder he's not getting any miles. I would have have taken the run and asked him to move the delivery date up to Monday. Heck 1600 miles is a nice 3 day trip.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

LOL at not being able to do a 1600 mile run in four days.

Hahahhah. I had to sit and count on my fingers to see if I was reading that right lol

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