Local Food Service As A Rookie

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Continuation:

To get the cooler as close as possible i unlatch the door then use my wheeler just to tap the door open enough to drop the product as close to the cooler as possible to help the guy putting stuff away while avoiding having it hit the freezer. The owner seen this and went ballistic because he says i was bending their door, and telling me he's sick of our S*** and going to drop us. I immediately apologized and told him i didnt think i had hit it hard enough to cause any damage at all, and i did i sincerely apologize. After the owner walked away i asked his son who is about my age if i really hit it that hard. He told me his dads just in one of those moods today and dont worry about it, that hes stressed to the max. I let it slide because i could tell it wasnt normal for him. Turns out he didnt realize im not the one who delivered the previous 2 weeks when the driver (new guy, and someone from the terminal) had a stack of product fall over, spilling 12 1 quart cartons of buttermilk all over their floor and left the mess for the customer to find! They had the audacity to pick up the busted cartons but left the buttermilk all over the place. They also didnt give the customer credit for that which made more work for the customer and made us look even worse. I Took advantage of getting done early and got my much needed oil change in my personal vehicle.

Thursday my day sucked. To avoid me sitting like ive mentioned in the past, my start time got bumped to 530am. My schedule shows me not needing to sit but because ive gotten to where im finishing stops faster than expected i sat for 30 minutes. I used that time to stack product for current stop and also reach out to the office about suggestions for routing changes. My route has me on the southside of Des Moines for 6 stops which totals about 350 cases. None of them get there before 9am and will not allow me in during lunch. That gives me 2 hours to do 6 stops, 350 cases. If i dont get them all done i end up needing to go back at the end of the day as after the southside i go to west metro (cities of Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines). This week was one of those days i had to go back. I attempted to deliver at 11:05 and got yelled at to leave. They ended up calling their salesperson and threatened to take their business elsewhere if we cant get there before lunch. My supervisor called me after he was informed and i laughed at him and told hin look at my manifest. I was running nearly an hour ahead at that point as i was routed to arrive there at 12! He said he was going to see what could be done. I also told him my suggestion of having me do stops on the northside before going west, because the other truck in des moines that day has enough Key Stops to keep him busy, and he has 3 other stops on the southside hes able to do during lunch which will keep everyone happy. I told him im not sure if it would work due to weights and how long route would be scheduled but its atleast a starting point. He was going to get in contact with the 2 sales managers here to get their input because the way its done now isnt working. The salesman for the account that yelled at me about their door called me to apologize. The customer says he felt terrible for the way he treated me, his son told him im not the guy that's been delivering lately and that his son told him he was out of line. The salesman then told me that this customer sounded very sincere. I told the salesman that its understandable considering the crap they've dealt with lately. The salesman also told the customer im "A solid dude" that isn't out to screw someone over. That made me happy to hear that he has my back since ive done numerous things to help him out. Our job duties are quite different but at the end of the day we're a team, and our main goal is to make sure ALL of our customers are satisfied and if that means i do something to help a salesman out, or he helps me out then that's what we'll do. Friday (today) was crazy. My workload for the day was 17 stops, 775 cases 19,700 pounds to unload. It wasnt too much different than usual but what was different was the weather. At 4am it was 70 degrees but heat index of 84! It was extremely humid all day and ended up reaching 99, with a heat index of 114!!!. Lots of water was drank, my legs cramped up on me so i had to stop for a few minutes to stretch them out, and i had to wait at a customer for 30 minutes. Because ive been getting done so far ahead of schedule they tweaked my times so i wasnt getting over an hour ahead. I ended up finishing the day 3 minutes behind schedule which i was quite pleased with given that i had to wait, but also the heat. For the week i had 58 1/2hours. Gross pay for the week is about $1650 but i definitely earned it this week. Ive mentioned before how my wife has made numerous mentions of thinking id be better off getting a regional job where i make it home weekends because that's really the only time i spend time with the family. Its pretty disappointing when i get home and feel too tired or sore to play with my kids, or when my wife wants to be intimate but i cant even stay awake to do so. Unfortunately my family is dealing with many of the same sacrifices in that aspect as many OTR families face. Continued...

Manifest:

Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Sadly, most trucking gigs arent very family friendly with a good work/life balance. Since i got done early enough tonight i took the family out to Applebees for dinner. Them running a promotion in my area for $1 long islands may have played a role in that haha. Last weekend we took a day trip 3 hours south down to Kansas City to check out their zoo because thats something my wife and kids really enjoy. I may not be able to give them my love/attention the greatest during the week so i make damn sure my weekends are all about them and what they want to do.

A little side note: i called my supervisor today and asked if the new guy can run my routes next week so the following week all my customers are grateful im back on it. He thought it was funny, then basically called me an A-hole.

Heres the predicament i found myself in. This is a satelite view of the location. 0070395001530325818.jpg

The green line is the path i had taken, red x is door i go through and the blue X is low hanging tree branches. These arent just twigs we're talking, these were big enough that they definitely would damage my trailer. Here is a google map street view of the location. 0611693001530326000.jpg I did not take pictures of the exact situation because i was too busy trying to figure out how i could possibly get out without hitting that tree or any parked cars. This is directly across the street from the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Well this weekend they have a classic car show going on with over 4500 classic cars. This customer was scheduled for 1145am but i had skipped them because i knew it wasnt going to be fun, and instead got there right at 1pm. Due to the car show they had a very busy lunch rush to the point their parking lot was packed full and some people got creative with parking. The street also had cars lined up all over the place. Ive had to back in from the street before but because of cars parked out there that was quickly ruled out. Usually this stop is scheduled for about 645am, just before they open which allows me to whip a U-turn in their lot, which also was obviously out of the question due to a packed parking lot. The only other option i felt i had was to utilize the alleyway that i later realized the issue with the tree would pose such trouble. After i pulled into the lot i seen the issue with the tree. My plan was to turn left to go down that portion of the alley and then straight line back to get my ramp towards the door as much as possible. When i was getting ready to hook a left i noticed the tree and decided to go right instead and then take the alley between the building and "CJ". after i got my truck in position i felt was best i realized it wasnt going to work. There was an electrical line running to the building i wouldnt clear, despite my trailer only being 13' high. I had to unload 80 cases there so i was really hoping it'd clear out by the time i had to leave. Well the lot did clear out, just not the cars anywhere near me... it ended up taking me probably 10 minutes of wiggling my way around, atleast a dozen G.O.A.L. to get a better look at if I'd clear the tree limbs, but more importantly the cars. Someone in a nearby house decided to come out and watch me to make sure i didnt go onto their grass. I wasnt going to go on their grass because if i went out the same way i came in it'd be even worse because I'd be backing out blind onto a busy street with parked cars everywhere. I wasnt worried about tree branches, but given the size of the branches it'd definitely damage my trailer thats why i tried to avoid it as much as possible. Completely unacceptable to have that tree hanging that low through a street or alley, but theres nothing i could do about it. To get out i ended up needing to do blindside offset, then another offset sight side. I was able to get my tractor jack knifed after that enough to get around the car on the blind side of me. I escaped this without incident but I'd be lying if i said i was calm. With frustration of being in such a bad situation, and the heat/humidity causing my legs to cramp this could've turned out quite differently if i allowed myself to become completely overwhelmed. Any time i wanted to try something different i did a G.O.A.L. to give me a second to focus and make sure that really is best option, but more importantly if it was going to result in me hitting something. I also had a other thing that could've been bad news today. I took a different way back to the yard than i normally do and it was a road I've not taken Before. Turns out theres a 12'1 low bridge. I'd seen the sign warning me of it before i reached it. As i approached where i was going to turn off to avoid it the flashing lights on this sign began flashing. "If lights are flashing you WILL hit the bridge, find alternative route". Despite the signs and flashing lights you can still tell that bridge has been hit numerous times.

Didnt think i had that much to say, ended up taking 2 hours and 3 full posts...

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Brilliant as ever...my night time reading....wore me out again!

G'night 😜💤💤💤💤💤

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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Long update coming: Brace yourself.....

I read that and got up to make another cup of coffee. Whew, that's a long update and a fantastic read. Your blog continues to a) make me appreciate my local food service guys and b) reinforces my desire to never try this position. You've mentioned many times you're doing this for your family and I respect that. I enjoy all of your posts; they're real eye openers.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Rob

Great post as always. You seem to do a great job getting that trailer in and out of sticky spots. Great posts as always. I do feel the need to comment, that your customer interaction seems to be great. I know I would have a hard time biting my lip when getting yelled at, and its fricken hot out, and all that. Good Job, and have a safe week.

Chris

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Simon, it wore you out because youre OLD!smile.gif just kidding...many days i come home and im completely beat.

Hans, honestly if i didnt have the family to provide for i dont think I'd be doing this kind of work. I would've gone the more traditional OTR route.

Army, it does get old having someone taking their day out on you but getting into it with them is only going to cause more problems. Being talked to like that isnt right, but its better than losing my job over.

Monday and tuesday were pretty uneventful days, everything was about the same as it has been. The only difference was i went to pick up a backhaul on monday that we usually pick up on thursday because the new guy, who we'll call ed (fake name) wasnt able to make it on time thursday before they closed. It ended up being put on me which wasnt too bad because my last stop was half a mile away and theyre pretty good about getting me out within a half hour of me arriving. 1 of our 2 shuttle drivers was on vacation this week so After i got back to the yard i unhooked my trailer i had the backhaul in and hooked up the truck the shuttle driver takes. The shuttle driver that was working and i usually share the same truck because im usually heaviest load so hes hooked to it already but for some reason on that day my load was sent with someone from the terminal to bring to Des Moines(brought 2 loaded trailers, then took the 2 empties in our yard back with him) i just took one of the other trucks sitting there and a different guy took my usual truck as it was already hooked to his trailer. When both guys doing shuttles are working they help each other hook up to minimize time spent doing that. My mindset was if he doesnt need to drop and hook up trailers several times he'll make it back in the morning quicker and i can get an earlier start. Tuesday morning he told me he was very thankful for the help especially since temps were in the 90s, and this guy is in his 60s. He also asked what time I'd be back because he had a backhaul to pick up in Nevada Iowa (40 minutes away) . I told him im scheduled to leave Knoxville iowa (hour away) at 4pm but ill do what i can to be back earlier. I sent him a text at 1230 telling him ill be all done with my post trip and ready for him to roll at 330pm as i was 2 hours ahead of schedule. Again, he was very thankful for me helping him out. I received a text from one of my managers asking me to help a fill in driver when i was just about back to the yard. After i made it back i told him no because after i seen i was going to be done earlier than normal we made plans to go to the parade that started at 5pm. Turns out the fill in driver was robbed. He was in the trailer unloading and while he was doing that someone had gone into the cab and stole his backpack, which had dirty clothes since he stayed the night and his paper log book, and stole his wallet which he left sitting in the cup holder (what a dummy). They also stole his moneybag. For some customers when we deliver we're required to collect a check. Customers have different terms of sale. Some force us to collect checks, others have up to 30 days to pay. Most that we get checks for its simply because they prefer to pay as they receive the product so they can track expenses easier. Of course we also have those who dont pay their bill so we're forced to collect prior to delivery. The only thing in the money bag was a check which is basically useless for the thief because its written to PFG. thankfully we dont collect cash. Wednesday(4th of july) i had to work but it was a pretty easy day. I had 8 stops, 7k weight and only like 300 cases. I made it back to the yard within 7 and a half hours then ended up sitting in the yard for another hour finishing up paperwork cleaning my trailer up. The most frustrating thing was needing to call salesmen for different customers because they showed up later than normal due to holiday or not at all which is why my day was as long as it was with such a light workload. I also had a close call with an idiot in a parking lot. There are many customers we deliver to that are in busy strip malls that require us to drive through the parking lots maneuvering around parked cars. When i am in any parking lots im going alot slower than i would in my personal vehicle and keeping an eye out for signs of people backing up such as brake lights or people walking towards cars. As i was getting close to the edge of the building i began to swing wide to make it around to go into the back and there was a car going way too fast from behind the building in my direction. Scared the hell out of me and i for some reason got the "1 finger salute."

Continued.....

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

One of my stops in downtown Des Moines is the science center and i have a access badge for the loading dock. I then call the cafe to come down so they can check in the order and put it away. I arrived there before 7 but they dont show up until 9. I ended up putting everything in their walk in cooler and freezer and then took off instead of waiting for them. I also had to go to a customer ive never been to before. This customer is a keystop and it didnt have any instructions on if i put things away or just leave them out (some places want us to leave cooler and freezer sitting out at room temp). Being the 4th i didnt know if they were going to be in or not so i ended up having to take everything out of the boxes to cram it into their standup coolers/freezers the kind you have at home. Turns out they did come in, and when i asked the driver about it who usually delivers he laughed at me cuz he leaves everything out. Atleast i know for next time. They only ordered 10 cases of temperature sensitive product so i figured the 5 minutes spent was worth not having to explain why i left product out that customer is refusing to pay for now. Thursday i was hooked up to the shuttle truck and because ed had gone to get frozen backhaul again i unhooked my trailer as well as eds trailer and hooked my truck up to it. Again, my goal was to help ensure shuttle guy makes it back as early as possible to benefit me friday. As a "thank you" for helping him throughout the week 2 bottles of mountain dew "mysteriously " appeared in the frozen section. I thought that was nice of him, it beats what the terminal sent me. I cant recall if i posted about it before but it gave me a great laugh so ill tell the story anyways. About a month ago numerous customers of mine called the sales managers in this market to tell them how great of service im providing. On my recognition award it said something like "several customers have called to inform us of the great service, positive attitude and hustle Rob has displayed in servicing their restaurant. Thank you for all you do ". As a way of saying thank you i was sent a TUBE OF CHAPSTICK!. My reaction to that was shock. Im not expecting to be rewarded for simply doing my job but something as small, or odd as chapstick has a "WTF Factor". Anyways, when i uncoupled the truck with the backhaul because i was going to hook up to with shuttle truck i made the mistake of not making sure the ground was level. It also doesnt help that the truck that had it hooked sits lower as its a manual 2011 international and the rest are auto 2017 freightliners. When i attempted to hook the shuttle truck up i noticed that if i kept going I'd end up hitting the trailer with my drive tires. Fortunately there was only 10k pounds of frozen noodles in there. Atleast it wasnt 45k of product that alot of OTR drivers haul. I was cranking that landing gear, in the 90 degree heat with heat index over 105 and another PFG truck pulled in. Turns out my supervisor was in town riding with a guy from the terminal that recently acquired his CDL and isnt allowed to go on his own yet. He immediately came over and asked what i was doing and i explained helping out shuttle driver and that i gotta raise trailer so i can hook it. He helped me crank on it enough so we could get enough of the frame under it to raise airbags and crank it more. Took probably 15 minutes before i was finally hooked up. I then told my supervisor "this is why im an A-hole! Try to help a guy out it backfires." We shared a good laugh, i thanked him for his help and asked if he was in town friday as well. He told me he was so "be on time, do your job properly. Dont know when I'll be watching you". It turns out he went up to Marshalltown with Ed then took off to terminal around 10am. He had me paranoid I was being watched all day haha. I'd tried getting him to ride with me thursday and Friday so i could take it easy but he told me that im doing my job very well and dont need supervision. He also told me they dont need to worry about me because they know ill get the job done with minimal problems. Friday was the usual with a couple extra stops added on. 21 stops, 800 cases with 19k pounds. Only issues i had was customer we rent space for our storage (drop lot) didnt order so i wasnt sent the key for their facility to deliver the 50 cases to drop lot. I had to work around those cases for an extra hour and a half before the staff for that place showed up. I sent my supervisor a text asking him to add the key number to the drop lot order to prevent this from happening again. The way we track our keys is each key gets a number attached to it, for instance 219. I get paperwork that tells me the customer name, what key number it is, and any special instructions such as alarm codes or where to put things. For some reason 9th stop was also supposed to be delivered to the drop lot. Theyre usually pretty good at grouping them all together but someone messed up and had 1 case for drop lot but put it as stop 9, rather than stop 2 with the rest of them.

Continued....

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I was going to be only a couple blocks away and due to them putting it as stop 9 it was included on my keysheet. I text salesman and let him know i couldnt get to it while i was at the drop lot so I'd deliver it for him since I'd be in the area anyways. This is one of the ways working together gets things accomplished more efficiently. There are a couple salesmen we have that have the "me me me" mentality and honestly i dont do anything to help them out. Theyre frequently demanding we do stuff to help them out but the second we do something wrong they're calling our bosses to tell on us. It all comes down to treat me with respect and help me out once in a while and ill do the same. If it had been one of the salesmen i dont care for i honestly would've probably taken more time to take it the extra 10 minutes back to the drop lot as it was scheduled.Total hours worked for the week was about 58. Total pay including 8 hours holiday and overtime after 32 hours worked (due to holiday) was just under $1950 gross. Had it not been a holiday week it would've been $1650 Gross pay for the week. Off my last paycheck it showed my year to date (paid june 29th)pay being just over $42,500 which would put me at about $85,000 for the year. I should end up making more than that though due to having worked about 2 months on a 4 day work week to start the year. The guy I'd mentioned a while back that was a cook for one of our customers unfortunately didnt pass his CDL test a couple weeks ago. The school couldnt get him into the DMV to retest for 3 weeks so PFG sent him back to des moines to work with another driver since hes being paid $16 an hour (including school) until he obtains his CDL. When i talked to him he seemed really depressed and that he thinks he made a mistake coming to work for us. He said hes confident in everything but he failed the paralell park. He told me if he cant even pass the test how is he going to be able to do this job. I told him the backing gets easier with time and practice and that ive been driving about 10 months now and haven't had to paralell park since school. His driving seems to be good enough to pass the test provided he can pass the skills portion. I got the vibe he is considering quitting but i told him stick it out atleast until his 12 weeks of training are up and he gets a month or so of his own in. Its hard for him to see the money right now since hes making alot less than we are currently. The job is still difficult but its actually nice being on your own and not having someone telling you the way someone else told you is wrong and do it differently. I think he's just dealing with the uncertainty, not being an expert at something immediately, and the stress of having a family to provide for. Most of us have had to overcome these feelings as we embarked on our journeys and i told him feel free to talk to me if he needs to as i went through the same things. I also made sure to tell him if he quits he still owes the company $4000 for the schooling. He was only making like $13 an hour cooking so it would definitely be difficult to repay that. I ultimately told him its a choice him and his wife need to make but this job/career has changed my financial situation in a very positive way. I also told him theres many jobs he can use his CDL for once his contract is up if he decides grocery delivery isnt for him. I hope he does whats best for him and his family and doesnt make any impulse decisions.

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
member avatar

Simon, it wore you out because youre OLD!smile.gif just kidding...many days i come home and im completely beat.

Sad but true! lol 😜

These days I have to use my 'old age and treachery' to overcome youth and vigor!! lol

Having said that, my team mate got off my truck last week to take 3 weeks off and then he's gonna come back to run with his buddy instead.

Said that the main reason is that I "run too damn hard!!' 😜

These youngsters today, hey? Can't stand the pace!! lol

So, right now, I'm lovin' the solo life....but still pushing hard...3754 Miles last week. Running on recaps and maximising my time.

It's so darn peaceful in the truck...no incessant phone calls.....no more stops at every darn 'Popeyes' we pass! 😜

Don't think its gonna last tho'.... the company is pushing for me to be a trainer!

Keep up the good work Rob.... I need that bedtime reading! 👍😜

Cheers,

Simon

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Dang simon, those are some really good miles! Atleast with co driver going with his buddy instead itll be less stress for you dealing with his bad habits. Without him guess youll need to find your own fishing spots smile.gif I think you'd be a excellent trainer from what ive seen from ya around the forum.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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