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Not A Moving Tale, But A Satisfying One

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: CHAINSMOKERMAGIC | September 8, 2021

I work as a mover for a very small moving company. My boss is a really nice guy. It’s really just a two-man operation, with me working as a subcontractor under him with a few regular guys we call in for bigger moves. It’s really physically demanding work sometimes, but typically our customers are super nice, and the pay is pretty good. Most people are just happy to have someone else lift their heavy stuff and get it into a truck. And we’re always super careful to not cause ANY DAMAGE to the buildings we’re moving in and out of or the items we’re moving, which most people appreciate.

Not this lady.

[Customer] booked a move with [Boss] and told him she had a small storage unit she wanted us to load up into a twenty-foot truck. We said, “No problem!” As the date of her move approached, though, so did a huge snowstorm.

Days before her move, the news started reporting that the weather was expected to take a severe turn for the worst. It’s not uncommon for the time of year in our state, but also something not to be trifled with.

We called [Customer] a couple of days before the move to see about rescheduling to avoid the storm and she said she absolutely HAD to move that day; no other days would work. A lot of (probably much smarter) movers would have cancelled, but after talking, [Boss] and I thought it was no big deal. We move in the snow all the time. It just meant we would have to dress appropriately and be extra careful not to injure ourselves or damage any property.

Cut to the day of the move. We headed to [Customer]’s storage unit, expecting a ten-by-ten-by-fifteen standard storage unit full of your usual stuff based on what she’d indicated on the phone, and ready to load it into a twenty-foot truck. That’s a pretty easy job to get done in the two hours that she had already prepaid for.

As we pulled up, the snow was already coming down pretty heavily, and the first thing that made us nervous was the truck. Instead of a twenty-foot truck, there was a HUGE twenty-six-foot truck. [Customer] greeted us by the truck and showed us the storage unit.

Customer: “Okay! This is our unit. We shut down our businesses, and I’m moving it out of town to pursue other opportunities. I need all of this loaded up in two hours. The last movers I had got it unloaded in about that long.”

[Boss] said something about the truck being bigger than she told us.

Customer: “Yeah, it’s the biggest one [Rental Company] had. Last time, we used another company and it was much bigger. I’m worried about getting it all, but you guys will have to figure it out. I need all of it.”

This was a HUGE storage unit, like the kind you’d store a few cars or some farm equipment in. When we opened it up, it was filled with what appeared to be the contents of a couple of pretty decently sized businesses: a dozen of those huge floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, several desks, office chairs, some really huge glass tables, etc. And all of it was INCREDIBLY heavy.

Our company safety guidelines for weight limits are 100 pounds per person lifting an item, but there’s no real practical way to enforce that in the field, so we usually wind up using our best judgment, even if the item is over that limit. Nearly everything there was over limit, but we had our equipment, and we were pretty confident we could handle everything, weight-wise. [Boss] and I are both pretty strong. But in my estimation, this was definitely going to take a bit longer than two hours.

[Boss] told her that we would do our absolute best. To be fair, he should have leveled with her then and there that it would take a bit more time, but he probably wanted to see if we could just get it busted out as quick as possible and see where we were at before getting the customer needlessly worried.

The customer sat in her truck nearly the whole time we were working so she could stay warm. That’s perfectly understandable since it was -2°F outside and the snow was coming down pretty hard. But she’d occasionally roll down her window to offer up critiques, mostly about how much time we were taking going up and down the metal ramp of the truck, which was now COVERED in ice and snow.

About an hour and some change into the move, [Customer] got out of her truck and started chatting with [Boss] about her previous movers and how they did cause some damage to her stuff, but they were SO fast. It was weird. She went back and forth between complaining about them and praising them for their speed. And she kept referring to them as the “professional moving service I hired,” which really bugged me, because the way she said it seemed to be implying that because we aren’t a big national company, then somehow [Boss] and I aren’t professional movers, despite the fact that this is literally our full-time job.

By the point, we were far enough into this move that we could tell this was going to run long. [Boss] decided it’s a good idea to let her know that it was probably going to take a half-hour or so longer than expected, which was still a feat, considering how much there was to move and how well-packed this truck was. I pride myself on playing a mean game of Truck Tetris.

[Customer] was NOT having this. She started to get upset and started saying we were just trying to get more money out of her and that we were “Dilly Dallying.” Yes, those words actually left the mouth of a grown woman.

Customer: “The professional movers got this same stuff unloaded in two hours, so it should take the same time to load it!”

Boss: “Unloading always takes less time than loading, because you’re moving it into a bigger space, and you don’t have to pack and pad the stuff to fit into a truck.”

Me: “There’s literally a blizzard coming down, and we’re only going to go over by a little.”

She got quiet and seething. My boss could tell how angry she was and let her know we wouldn’t charge her for any extra time since it wasn’t her fault the weather was crappy. He also brought up that the other company had damaged her stuff, and we’d done a pretty good job.

Customer: “I don’t care! YOU SAID TWO HOURS, AND I EXPECT IT DONE! JUST GET IT DONE! I’m going to leave you guys a terrible review!”

She stomped back to her truck without saying a word.

I’m usually pretty chill, but I was already getting increasingly mad at this woman. Her yelling at my boss and calling us lazy when we were risking our health and safety to move her stuff in a blizzard was just too much for me.

[Boss] thought about this for a moment. I know customer reviews are super important to us as a small business. The booking site we use highlights the last handful of reviews, so a bad one takes FOREVER to stop showing up as basically the first thing people see when they click on your page. I was expecting my boss to try and keep her happy, but instead, he just grinned and turned to me.

Boss: “F*** it. You heard her!”

She wanted it all loaded in two hours? That’s exactly what we’d do.

The front half of her truck was loaded up neatly, with everything padded and stacked tightly, floor-to-ceiling, to keep it from moving on the road. The second half of her truck was the worst, jankiest truck I’ve ever loaded in my life. We’re talking huge heavy office furniture haphazardly stacked on top of each other at the weirdest angles, heavy stuff on top of light stuff, anything to just get the storage unit empty and the truck door closed. We even stacked REALLY heavy office chairs on top of glass tabletops. By the end of it, the truck looked like we’d asked Escher or Geiger to draw us a picture of an office.

I just want to be clear; we’ve never intentionally damaged a customer’s property, and we never would. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, courtesy, and specifically our ability to get your stuff where it’s going safely. But the particular combination of unsafe conditions and this lady’s outright disregard for our safety and feelings was just too much. And technically, we didn’t damage anything. Nothing was broken when we closed the truck doors. But literally the first bump in the road or decently tight turn was going to cause hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in damage.

We closed the truck door and walked over to the customer’s truck.

Boss: “We’re done, and I’m not going to charge you at all for the move.”

Customer: “I’m not poor and I don’t need charity!”

Boss: “It’s clear that you’re not happy, and we don’t need your $150.”

That’s right, we charge $75 an hour, so the extra half-hour we needed to do it right would have cost her a whopping $37.

He cancelled the job and refunded her what she’d already prepaid. As we drove away in my boss’s car, I looked at him.

Me: “You realize that by the time she gets where she’s going, she’s looking at a lot of damaged furniture, right? She’s going to hit us with a bad review and maybe even try to sue.”

Boss: “She was worried about paying an extra $37. I doubt she’ll risk more money on hiring a lawyer. And besides, you can’t leave a review on the site if the job gets cancelled. We just gave her exactly what she wanted. It’s worth losing out on the money I would have made just to see her face when I said I didn’t need her $150.”

When he dropped me off, he still paid me for my time because “F*** that lady”.

This story is part of our Not Always Right Most-Epic Stories roundup!

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