Local Food Service As A Rookie

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Today (friday) was a pretty relaxed day. Quite a bit of driving and I had to wait at my 2nd stop. I was originally supposed to stary at 4am, but our router had sent me a text last night asking me to start at 430am instead. Last week the driver who delivered the 2 stops called and complained that he had too much work to do, so they took the 2 stops (1 had 10 cases, other was 20 cases) and put them on me Instead of driving straight up to story city, 15 miles(?) North of Ames i had to do the 2 stops in Altoona, which is about 5 miles east of Des Moines . It irritated me because when I was running that route I was able to do those stops and still get done at 2 or so. But no point in raising hell with the router. Customer got their product and are happy which is really all that matters at the end of the day. I had the router re-route my trip today because last week I drove right past 2 stops in Ames then came back after Marshalltown (50 miles east). By putting them before I left the area i was able to shave off about an hour of drive time as there is a highway (330/US 65) that runs diagonal that I took to get back to Des moines, rather than going straight across US 30, driving 10 miles past I-35, Then drive 30 miles south to Des moines. Communication definitely pays off. Today I had 330 cases, 12 stops, 13k weight, 245 miles and once paperwork and post trip was complete ended up being about 14 hours. I Had a close call today....i was driving on US 30 (4 lane highway) doing 65mph and a car pulled out about 50 feet in front of me. This particular highway runs through rural areas so vehicles enter from a stop sign level with the highway. I was constantly checking my mirrors prior to this so I knew nobody was beside me, I hard braked, checked my mirrors and moved over very fast. I ended up draining the air tank pretty good, made me feel better haha. I had been watching this vehicle approach the stop sign but with how slow they were going figured they were stopping. I'm very thankful nobody was beside me because I most definitely would've rear ended that car. For some reason drive cam didn't save the event. It flashed red, then back to solid green.

I also delivered to the place i posted a picture of last week with the narrow alley with vents and poles making it even tighter. This week they only ordered 12 cases so I opted to just park on the street and walk it down. Probably took me less time taking the 1 trip with my wheeler than it would've taken getting truck in, also....SAFER. This is a pic taken at my last stop. This stop had 6 cases in this pallet. I needed the 4 cans of tomatoes on the bottom, and the other 2 cases I needed were in the back corner against the wall.

0219167001518825964.jpg I had to downstack nearly the entire pallet so I could get my cases out, and then I had to downstack more to stabilizethe stack to make sure nothing fell and broke. The rest of those cases are for delivery tomorrow. We have a guy that works tomorrow, works maybe hour and a half to 2 hours total, gets paid for 6 due to union contract which is usually all OT...easy 200 dollars. My truck had room on it so they put 200 cases for him to deliver on my truck. That means I unfortunately has to use my freezer side door all day. This week I ended up with 64 hours, grossing roughly 1750. Good money, but feels like I don't have a life outside of work. Do not let money be the decision maker to get in this sector of trucking, you earn it by the beating your body takes .

I credit my success this far to the 12 week mandatory training period, as well as being in such a small city in comparison to most "big" city's. With what I've dealt with as far as traffic here I'm very happy I didn't get my CDL when I lived in Tampa/St Pete. Traffic down there was nuts!

This will likely be my last update for a little while unless something worth discussing pops up. I Hope this diary helps those thinking local driving is banker hours, or easier get a better viewpoint. Also I constantly here people mention getting into food service because they're into fitness. There is a big difference between lifting weights a few times a week and pushing 300 to 400+ pounds of product around sometimes 14 hours a day, 60 hours a week. Just some food for thought....

Thank you for reading....

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Splitter's Comment
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Enjoy your time away from the diary Rob! Thanks again for keeping us so informed as to how difficult your job can be but also showing us that with the proper attitude & dedication, a rookie can succeed! Continued success & safe miles ahead for you sir!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I decided that I will document another week of my journey, as this will be the week I surpass 6 months of doing this job (licensed august 18th, started delivering august 21). Today was a monster of a day. I had run the new monday route of mine that i haven't run since I was cut loose from training. I had a few stops downtown Des Moines, then all the other stops were relatively close to each other with the exception of one. I had 729 cases! 17k to unload, 12 hours and only racked up 72 miles. Of the 12 hours 9.5 hours was time spent "On Duty Not Driving", and 2.5 hours were spent "driving". Starting in food service you would most likely be given a route similar to this one as the most senior guys tend to prefer the "gravy" runs with less cases. I delivered to the place i posted of picture of on 28th street that requires a 90 degree back from the street (one my trainer goes nose in to only back out after unloading). Despite there not being much traffic there today as I got there at 830am I for some reason wasn't feeling confident enough so I opted to just park on street instead of trying to get it in there. I probably spent the same amount of time walking farther than I would have tried to get it in there. Today we dealt with drizzle nearly all day and had fog roll in. We are under a winter weather advisory starting at 9pm and ending at noon tomorrow. Knowing that temps would be dropping I had hoped to start at 3am instead of 4 as I was scheduled. I woke up around 130am and as I was getting dressed I received a text from the shuttle driver bringing my trailer that he wasn't anticipating being there until 4am. I made the mistake of going back to sleep for a bit and woke up even more tired! I had picked up some new work boots over the weekend that claim to be slip resistant but I doubt they really are. Ended up sliding all over the place due to tracking water into the trailer and the places I was delivering to. I'm hoping once they get scuffed up some it'll be better because I really don't want to get hurt. I'll give it a few days otherwise I'll try some "traction spray" I seen at Wal-Mart. PFG gives us a set amount of money per quarter to use on uniforms and/or boots. In my 6 months I have accrued $105. I have to spend the money out of pocket then they'll send me a paper check to reimburse me. My time at Sysco (Iowa warehouse) they gave us an approved list of vendors and a authorization code to have it $100 taken off at register.

One place I delivered to downtown is in an older building, and everything goes downstairs. If the elevator door is propped open it'll shut down and be disabled, requiring repair company to come fix it. As luck would have it, some dillhole that hasn't delivered there before, despite having signs all over the place warning about it, blocked door open and I had to take the stairs. Thankfully I had just taken my last stack down so I only needed to walk up the stairs to get out. I was running about 20 minutes behind today because of needing to dig for product more than usual. It's very frustrating when I have the first stop that's on that pallet in the far back on the bottom so I have to downstack the whole pallet. I was loaded clear to the tail today and had to throw my wheeler into the freezer compartment as pallets were too high on backend.

If anybody has any questions about this or you want me to explain something more in depth feel free.... I do this daily so I feel that I'm probably not explaining something completely as Im used to talking to other food guys and we all understand.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Man, what a day! This is what i dealt with ALL DAY!

0165766001519181910.jpg Literally everything is coated in ice. Nearly fell several times

We picked up roughly a quarter inch of freezing rain overnight, most of it had already fallen by the time i had to work (4am). Took me 10 minutes just to get my windows scraped off on my personal vehicle. Thankfully the driver who started at 3am started up the other trucks in the yard to warm em up to allow the rest of us to take off right away instead of waiting for Windows to clear up. I had some frustrations today that required me to stay focused. Most of it was related to how the warehouse built my pallets and loaded my pallets, the rest was customers refusing to throw any salt down by the back door, or entire parking lot. I had 3 pallets of frozen so they loaded 2 on the driver side and 1 on passenger side. I've addressed my concerns numerous time with management regarding the loaders putting the pallet next to the bulkhead allowing me to climb inside my trailer to downstack. Well, the loader didn't do it, instead put my first freezer pallet directly in front of my side door which required me to stand on the platform outside to downstack the entire pallet, and of course it starts raining hard. Between the falling rain and tracking water onto the steps from my shoes it was getting VERY slippery. I thankfully got it downstacked without incident but it was definitely pretty sketchy. After I got that stop done I had to go wait at my 2nd stop for 45 minutes until they showed up. They usually don't order on Tuesdays but for some reason decided to today. I then had to drive out to Newton Iowa, roughly 25 miles east on I-80. The interstate was surprisingly in good shape, I was able to comfortably do 55 mph. DOT did a great job pre treating the roads, and staying on top of it with their salt and brine mixture. Once I got off the interstate and started on city streets it really hit me how terrible the roads were. I was in a single Axle daycab so it was even harder to gain traction. At my 3rd stop I got ****ed off because i still didn't have much space in my freezer and the warehouse built my pallet to have the tortilla chips (18 cases) as their bottom layer of their pallet. This was the first stop on that pallet so I had to downstack the ENTIRE pallet, I'd estimate 60 cases. I had no space to organize so i threw my next 2 stops to the ground (unprofessional and risking damage...bad decision on my part) and just piled everything up the best i could. Had to repeat the exact same scenario when i got into the last freezer pallet. I was so damn frustrated that i just did my job, didn't call anyone to complain about it at that time because i didn't want to say something I may regret at a later time. Instead I waited until I had cooled down. When I was parked back at the yard i sent a text to my supervisor to vent. He thanked me for addressing my concerns and offered to allow me to go to the warehouse (paid) and observe how they do things and make suggestions to help us be more efficient. I'm undecided about doing that as I'm sure everything's been brought up before and they do it the way they do for a reason. Supervisor even told me that it's been an ongoing battle to resolve issues and unfortunately transportation always loses. The way they look at it is that it couldn't have been THAT bad if the trailer got unloaded.

The biggest problem I faced today was the customers not salting anything. I went through 2 and a half 25 lb bags of salt within my first 9 stops then gave up putting any down. The ice really made this job much more dangerous. I wanted to place my ramp closer than normal to minimize walking distance but unfortunately I couldn't get the truck to move how I wanted because I just kept sliding.

Today I had 17 stops, 649 cases, 17k pounds, 170 miles and 14.5 hours after I finished my paperwork and helped the shuttle guy hook up. I opted to help him move trailers around because out on the eastern side of the state they're still experiencing the freezing rain. He's always been good about helping me out in the morning so it's only right to help him as well. My time broke down to roughly 10.5 hours ON DUTY not driving, and 4 hours DRIVING. I pulled into the yard with 10 minutes to spare on my 14. Despite the waiting and road conditions I only finished 15 minutes behind schedule. Not sure how I did it, but I'm sure alot of it had to do with my frustration pushing me harder. Also, I didn't want to have to use my extension today because Friday's tend to be another real long day and I don't want to have to finish my route Saturday.

I'm off tomorrow, and resume working Thursday. Unfortunately, it sounds like even more freezing rain than we received today but atleast Thursdays I'm in Des Moines metro all day.

Maybe I should go pick up some ice skates.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Today (Thursday) was my heaviest and highest case count I've had to unload by myself. This was the back end

0431315001519353318.jpg And freezer side door

0208000001519353390.jpg As you can see I had 0 space. The only bright side is first stop had a dock so I was able to safely unload my first stop. I didn't have room to move around in the back until my 4th stop. I had same stops I've been doing they just ordered alot more. My 3rd stop usually only orders 20 cases, today it was 105. With that stop I do a 90 off street between buildings however they had one of their vehicles parked where I back in and theoretically had enough space but no reason to risk it as it'd be extremely tight. I opted to park on the street which I didn't care for especially because the snow started falling. I had to unload through the side door for my frozen which was nerve racking being close to traffic with slippery roads. Fortunately I had most of my frozen cases by the side door as when possible I try to stack the next stop where i can reach it from the ground, and my current stop on the top of my steps. The less times I have to use the steps the happier I am. While unloading them I ended up falling due to ice just outside the restaurant door. It was snowing just enough to hide the ice and down I went. Thankfully I was ok but it could've been worse if my wheeler was loaded to the max and came down on me. I had to deal with my scanner not working again. Last night the shuttle driver made sure it was charging before leaving like they always do, this morning when I got in my truck (4am) it showed it was charging but once I went to use it it ended up dying with a couple minutes. I tried messing with it to get it to charge but kept having the same outcome. I sent a text to my supervisor that deals with the scanners and he called me once he got into the office at 8am. He had me try a couple different things but it turns out the internal battery is fried and not holding a charge so he's sending a different one out. Not scanning sucks! I don't like having to rip apart the entire pallet if I don't need to at that time. id rather look at scanner and see that only thing I haven't scanned is Mayo, and then proceed to look for that. I ended up needing to go back to one of my stops as I forgot a case on my truck. If I had my scanner working that likely would not have happened. I also had 2 items that weren't delivered. Either the warehouse didn't put it on the pallet like they were supposed to, or I mistakenly gave it to a different customer. Either way, 2 places didn't get an item they ordered but atleast they weren't charged for it. The weather was pretty crummy all day. It stayed right around 32 degrees and kept fluctuating between rain and snow so I slowed down with my driving just to be safe. I ended up having the iowa clinic stop again despite having informed the router theres a different driver just across the parking lot, and he could very easily deliver the 10 cases they tend to order. He only had 8 stops, 10k weight and was done in 7 hours. No reason to throw a hissy fit so I just delivered it. The day consisted of 13 stops,754 cases, 19k weight!,113 miles and when I pulled into the yard i put in 13 hours. It broke down to roughly 3.5 hours driving, 9.5 hours On Duty (not driving). I ended up putting in about another hour after making it back to the yard because I needed fuel and do my paperwork. I also helped the shuttle guys drop and hook up so they could get rolling. They wanted to get out of town before everything froze up. I figured why not help em out dropping and hooking up their doubles so they could have an easier night plus get back a little sooner for the morning. I have a bit of driving to do tomorrow so I'm hoping to get an early start. Freezing rain should be done around midnight so I shouldn't have too many problems with the roads but parking lots will be another story. It'll probably be a repeat of Tuesday atleast until it warms up late morning/early afternoon into upper 30s. I haven't had to use my 16 this week so I'll have plenty of time to get the job done though I'd prefer not putting in that long of a day. In 3 days of work I've got 39 hours in. Probably will end up doing 13 or more tomorrow so it'll be another decent paycheck. I was enjoying some family time on my day off when I received a call from my manager. He was calling to tell me how much he appreciates me getting my job done safely, and professionally and as a way to say thank you told me that I was receiving my scheduled raise ahead of schedule. Effective immediately I received a 80 cent raise, and April 1st will receive another 80 cents putting me at top pay. It was a big surprise but he said that I've surprised them in a good way. In the past they've sent people to school and they take off with their new CDL immediately because they don't want to do the physical work. They've also unfortunately had to let some new drivers go due to too many accidents. The risk and likelihood of accidents is the biggest reason why following the path I did is discouraged here. If you get in several accidents early on and get fired nobody else will likely be interested in you driving their equipment.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Fortunately we didn't pick up nearly as much freezing rain as they were expecting. When I left my house around 330am it was rain, and no ice accumulation on my car. The side streets were a little slick but interstate 35/80 was clear sailing. Again, I took it a little slow than normal due to the temp hovering right around 32. After I got logged into my truck and doing my pretrip I opened up the trailer and couldn't believe it. It was half empty (space wise).

0458423001519437751.jpg While on my way to the first stop as I got off the interstate there was a car that tried to stop as their light just changed red and they ended up spinning out and doing a 180 so I sat still until I was certain it was safe to proceed. My first stop was a keystop, or keydrop depending on what company it is. They're the same thing. That is when the customer has given us a key so that we are able to deliver product without them being present, that way we're able to minimize back tracking with out driving and when they get in in the morning their product is there waiting for them. We have an engraved tag on the key with a 3 digit number so that if for whatever reason it gets lost nobody will be able to gain access to that customers facility as they wouldn't know where it is to as their name isn't written on it. Anyways, when I got to my first stop I had grabbed the paperwork that told me what key, as well as an alarm code (if applicable). I've delivered to this place a few times but somebody has always been there. I tried to unlock the door to no success. I called the driver who typically delivers there and he told me that the key has never worked and he's talked to our router and a supervisor so we aren't routed there before 7 when they show up. In order to cover my ass I contacted the only person in the office at 430am and informed her of the situation and she wanted me to go do a couple other stops then come back at 7. Only problem was all my other stops were atleast 45 minutes away as that was my only stop in Des Moines area besides my last stop. After explaining that to her she was in the process of sending an email to salesman, district sales manager, as well as all transportation management to ensure we're given a key that works or they no longer have it as a keydrop. My choices were to either sit for 2 to 2 and a half hours waiting for someone to show up or skip them and do them at the end of day. We decided it would be best if i came back. I had to work around 96 cases they ordered

0933579001519437829.jpg all day but atleast the rest of my customers were happy as their delivery was on time. It isn't right to make other customers suffer because of a miscommunication or poor routing. If I would have been loaded as full as yesterday I definitely would have been sitting and waiting as I wouldn't have any space to move those cases to. At my 4th stop I was 10 milws west of Ames in a little town that if you blink you're already through it. They have a gravel parking lot and unfortunately all the rain we had gotten froze up. This is what i had to deal with

0741049001519438049.jpg I immediately threw a ton of salt down. With how thick the ice was it wasn't going to do me any good melting it, it was more so to give me extra traction to avoid falling. After the salt was done i went inside to let the customer know I'd be atleast 10 minutes before bringing things in as I put salt down outside on the concrete slab at the door and was going to let it clear up. I spent that time stacking their order up so I was able to scoop and go once I deemed it safer. As I went to leave I had a scary, OH SH*T!!!!! moment. The road outside slopes on both sides with the highest point being in the middle. I typically start in 4th gear since we arent loaded extremely heavy, however I was spinning a ton getting out of the parking lot so I put it in 2nd. I made my way out to the road slowly and ended up slipping partially off. LUCKILY, the road didn't have a ditch, instead it was somebody's front yard with grass level with the roadway as this was a tiny street. Also, telephone pole and their mailbox was on the other side of driveway. My steer tires were turning as I wanted but my drive tires just kept going straight. Once my drives go to the grass I was able to gain traction and put the entire rig back onto the roadway. Next time conditions are like that at that location I plan on telling customer due to safety concerns I will be delivering through the front door. They can either accept it, or they can do without their order. I hate to put things like that but safety is my main focus. I want to go home in the same condition I showed up, and I definitely don't need to be involved in an accident when it can be easily avoided. The rest of my day was rather uneventful, just had quite a bit of driving. I did get upset about the warehouse building the pallet. My 5th stop was the first stop on this pallet but they put the case in the back, against the wall and towards the bottom.

0321339001519439053.jpg Continued......

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I find it so frustrating that my first stop of the pallet is buried like that because with Sysco the order selector is told which pallets and what part of pallet (front or back). You will still need to take some cases off but in this instance I had to downstack over half of that pallet to get the case I needed. Honestly, if I end up leaving after my year is up that will be part of the reason. Space is limited In the freezer and when you have to downstack that much you can't organize it well and just keep moving the case multiple times. Also, you risk tripping over cases and falling out the trailer. I addressed that with my supervisor now we wait and see what happens. I stressed my feelings about how there's no reason not to have them select that way as sysco and us foods both do it, and the safety factor. It may take a little bit for warehouse to "get it" but the scanner or headset would tell them exactly where to place the case. Rest of my day was rather uneventful, until I got to my last stop (first stop). When I've gone before most business in the strip mall are not open so cars in the parking lot are minimal. This is also the place i delivered to on black Friday that had the back way blocked due to laying new concrete. Here is satellite view Of my approach on black friday

0188382001519439833.jpg

I entered from the top and came around the back side. The black X is where I stopped due to concrete missing/being laid. I then had to back up enough to be able to turn to go around the front of the building. Pulled up by the street on the right then backed in to place my ramp onto of the curb. I learned my lesson that day and decided to approach it like this...

0416358001519440187.jpg by entering through the other entrance I'm able to scope the area out and ensure there's no hazards before committing to it like I did in previous pic . With me getting there so late (430pm) I was forced to parkmuch farther away than normal. Blue x is where I placed my ramp, red X is doorway . I could have parked right behind the cars but then I would have had to jump the curb and move frequently if their customers wanted to leave. I ended up partially blocking that entrance but I'd jacknifed in order to minimize how much I was in the way. This is how far away I was

0202310001519440478.jpg the doorway is right under that sign. It sucked, but the trailer got unloaded SAFELY, and the customers were happy and at the end of the day that's all that matters. My day consisted of 11 stops, 442 cases, 11k weight, 13 hours, 254 miles. 5:30 was driving time, while 7:30 was ON DUTY not driving. I'll be honest, I didn't push myself as hard today because it was alot easier than yesterday but I didn't goof off too excessive. I had a couple stops in Ames near the Iowa State campus. I can't stand delivering in Ames . College kids up there drive like idiots, and the ones walking don't pay attention too busy texting or listening to headphones. With that being said I had 52.5 hours this week in 4 days, and should gross just under $1400. This week marked my 6th month out of school and I've made about $35,000. You can make the same, or better money if you prove yourself to be a top tier driver. The only upside financially of being a local driver straight out of school is if your paid hour. You're still required to perform at a high level but atleast your being paid while dealing with the learning curve as opposed to burning up your clock OTR as you learn how to maximize your earning potential. With that being said I still completely agree with the experienced drivers here that feel the importance of starting OTR to set a foundation and gain the necessary skills. Driving on the highway is the easy part. Learning to maneuver and back into places that weren't built to accomidate us takes time. I have taken a large risk to my driving career by starting this way but so far it has worked for me. There are numerous people who have stopped by over the years who nobody will hire because they started local and were involved in a couple minor accidents and let go. OTR companies in general are better prepared to help you learn, and are typically more forgiving. Probably won't update for a bit unless anything worth discussing comes up. Feel free to ask questions if you have any.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rob, just be grateful that you’ve developed the safety skills to make it home everyday in one piece. Someone just told me that they saw 4 rollovers along their drive today. May the blessings being showered upon you, keep you safe & secure in your daily life on the road & at home. Deep thanks & gratitude for keeping such a detailed account of what it’s really like out there for you & many others.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Well that didn't take long before I had something to talk about. Yesterday I had a dock stop that Sysco also delivers to. Usually I'm able to beat them to the stop, however yesterday they beat me by about 30 seconds! As he was starting to get positioned to back in I figured i set my brakes and decided I'd record him to show you some of the situations you may find yourself in, and how fast alot of food guys can back in (it's NOT a race, only thing that matters is you get it there safely and don't hit anything) The video isn't that great of quality and it's dark so this is what the area looks like

0522859001519782458.jpg The green line is the path this particular sysco driver took. Blindside 90 off the street, got backed in enough he could pull into the parking area on top and do a straight line back to the dock at the red X. The black line is the path I take as my trailer is shorter than what sysco pulls and I can get in there. I'm able to pull straight in and just do a straight line to bump the dock. I've seen a different driver pull into the business (out of view) across the street, back across the street (Ohio street) and do a sightside 90 to bump the dock. My point is that there's many ways to get into a location, granted some are more risky than others but as long as you do it safely its ok. Here's the video I mentioned. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OW0EB724v8A. For some reason it keeps saying invalid when trying to post video. Started recording after he started as obviously securing the vehicle was my top priority.

So today (Tuesday) I ran a route other than my own. Our driver who does the downtown Des Moines area is dealing with some medical issues and will likely be out for a few weeks. I received a text yesterday afternoon from my manager asking if I'd be ok giving up my route to the guy they sent from Illinois and I'd take the downtown route. I agreed because the downtown route is probably our most profitable and don't want to upset those customers, and I know my usual route would be alot less stressful for someone who doesn't know the area. I'm familiar with a majority of the route as I ran it during the first half of my training period. However, they changed it up a bit, added new stops and changed delivery times. That caused me a bit of problems. When our driver had left a few weeks ago to go back to US Foods it made our office reevaluate all our routes and make changes. I ended up going from Des Moines out to Urbandale (west) and then came back for my final 3 stops. I've been to all the stops I had today but it still caused me a great deal of trouble. The first problem I had was at a busy bar. They previously got their order at 430am, empty parking lot and plenty of room to move around . Now, I was scheduled to be there at noon. Middle of lunchtime, so busy that I couldn't take a few parking spots. I had to park behind cars and unfortunately had to stop unloading so I could push my ramp in and move the truck to allow them to leave numerous times. Now I'm sure there are drivers out there that would make them wait, but i had 100 cases to unload and the way i approach this job is if you treat me with respect I will gladly reciprocate. These patrons had asked how long I'd be and offered to wait, but I predicted I had about 20 minutes remaining so I told them I'd move for them. Another way to look at it is if that particular patron decides they aren't going to go to this bar for lunch because they may get blocked in, my customer won't have as much business and in the long run won't be as profitable for PFG. My very next stop was even worse of a situation. This customer used to get delivery shortly after the last place, roughly 630am. Again, nobody there, plenty of space to maneuver. I got there at 1pm. This is location...

0711393001519784971.jpg red X is door I enter in. Black x is a decorative stone support for their awning/patio. The shaded area is actually where it is, as that's the patio. When I started approached I originally thought about hooking a right into parking lot of the strip mall next door and doing a straight back but opted against it with the amount of traffic being that it was still lunch time. I made a huge mistake in deciding to do it the way I did. I knew it was going to be tight but I still tried. I was keeping a very close eye on the cars (literally every single spot was taken) as well as the building, particularly that stone wall. My trailer was within a foot of taking out the wall when I decided to back up and get a better angle on it. It was extremely stressful having to worry about where the cars were, hoping nobody was moving (had to get it into a jack knife position to wiggle it forward, couldn't see behind the tractor). To add to the stress there were people wanting to leave that unfortunately were blocked in. I told them I'd be out of their way in a minute. This could have turned out much worse than it did. I could have got frustrated, lost my cool and got cars and/or the building. Even though people were waiting in me I wasn't afraid to G.O.A.L. I definitely will not be doing it that way again. Next time I'm going to sit out on the area just outside their parking lot. Still not the best situation but traffic can deal with it. Continued.....

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Especially in food service YOU WILL BLOCK TRAFFIC. The goal is to minimize the amount of time. The next stop I had required me to pull into a empty parking lot. They didn't open til 4pm, I got a key. I know from when I've previously been there that theres a rather low electrical line. Even though I've cleared it before I still took it nice and slow, and got out and checked that I would clear it. Our trailers are 13 feet tall and I barely cleared it. The last stop I want to talk about is this one. There's alot going on in this so bear with me.

0693204001519786386.jpg The green line is how I've approached in the past and the blue scribbles is where I'd park. Again, it was before they opened and other businesses weren't busy at the time I got there previously. This was about 2pm that I was here and there were too many cars parked in my normal area that I felt I couldn't make that turn as they have concrete poles to prevent people from driving on grass. Especially after my predicament I'd gotten into earlier I figured the lesser of 2 evils would be park at the blue X and walk it from there. Lucky for me the people occupying the spots I usually take up left as I finished unloading. I still had to back up before being able to leave which I don't care for, particularly in busy and crowded parking lots. Had they not left I would've been forced to back up all the way towards the grocery store and proceed to exit the same way I came in.

Although it was a very stressful day I consider it a success. I didn't hit anything and I didn't get hurt. I definitely will be trying different ways of getting in to avoid similar mishaps if I run this route again. I had 19 stops, 643 cases, 16k weight, 13 hours. 10 hours was ON DUTY not driving, and 3 hours was spent driving a total of 62 miles!! Much different being in the main city all day than when I branch out. Tomorrow I'll be working my day off to cover the downtown route again so I'll make another post sometime tomorrow evening detailing my adventure.

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