An Unacceptable Level Of Unacceptability

, , , | Right | April 8, 2019

(I’m spending a summer working for a full-service trucking company, working mostly as a household mover. One particular day there are too many moves scheduled that are too big for the regular moving team to get done, so a couple of the freight guys and I grab a box truck usually used for freight hauling and head 45 minutes north to do a moving job. We load up the first round and get to the new house. After about thirty minutes of unloading, complying with the “only one man in the house carrying stuff across a series of runners” rule the woman of the house has implemented, she comes outside and flips out.)


(Her driveway is newly-laid concrete and it has a trail of light black soot footprints on it from the freight truck.)

Woman: “This is unacceptable. Why is that truck so dirty? I want it cleaned!”

(We then proceeded to drive south 45 minutes, spent an hour cleaning the truck and lining it with plastic sheets, then drove back north to load and unload the rest of their stuff.)

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How Thieves Get Trained

, , , , , | Legal | December 9, 2018

(I work as a driver for a mid-sized haulage company. Our depot backs onto some train tracks, and as a result, we have a higher than average number of people breaking onto the site trying to steal cargo off the back of trailers parked in the yard. This is in spite of better fences, more cameras, changing and even hiring a full-time night guard with a pair of German shepherds to keep an eye on things. We still have people breaking in two to three times a week. I return to the yard about two am, to find four of the mechanics gathered around a refrigerated trailer.)

Me: “What’s going on?”

Mechanic #1: “We’re training.”

Me: “Training to stand near a trailer in the dark?”

Mechanic #2: “No, we’re training tonight’s wannabe thieves. [Night Guard] and the dogs rounded a pair of them up earlier.”

(At this point I become aware of muffled shouting and banging coming from the trailer.)

Me: “So, you caught them and threw them in there?”

Mechanic #3: “Yeah, [Mechanic #1] was getting tired of repairing cuts in the fences every other night, so we’re seeing if we can train them to not come back, instead.”

Me: “How cold is it in there?”

Mechanic #1: “-30 C, cold as it can go.”

Me: “You have entertained the possibility they might freeze to death, haven’t you?”

Mechanic #1: “Still banging, aren’t they? [Night Guard] called the police about ten minutes ago; they’re sending someone to pick them up. We did tell them not to rush, though.”

(At this point, the police did, in fact, show up and retrieve the fairly frosty pair of thieves, whilst also cautioning the mechanics to not take the law into their own hands again. Since they hadn’t actually stolen anything, the thieves could only be charged with trespassing, so the actual police punishment was very minor. The mechanics’ unusual method did seem to work, because following this incident and a couple of further ones involving people being tossed into room-temperature trailers for several hours, our break-ins almost completely stopped.)

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A Key Moment In Solving This Problem

, , , , , , | Right | November 24, 2018

(I am the customer in this story. I’ve had my car shipped across the country to me, but the transport truck can’t get close enough to my house, so I meet them in a nearby parking lot. It is a fair distance, and not wanting to leave my or my husband’s car in the lot, I take an Uber. After making sure the car is still in one piece, I receive the keys, and the two drivers go off to get coffee. I quickly find I cannot turn my car on! I try for nearly half an hour. I am almost in tears, thinking I’ll have to call for a tow. By that time, the two drivers come back.)

Driver #1: “Is everything okay, ma’am? We thought you’d be long gone.”

Me: “I can’t turn the car on! The ignition won’t even turn.”

Driver #1: “Mind if I take a look?”

(I hand him the keys and he looks puzzled.)

Driver #1: “Um… These are the wrong keys.”

Me: *frustrated and slightly angry* “What do you mean, the wrong keys? Did you give me the wrong set?”

Driver #1: “No, ma’am. You’re our last delivery. Those are the only keys we had.”

Driver #2: “We had to have had the right keys in order to get the car off the truck. We gave you the right keys, but these ain’t them.”

(I then looked closer and realized I had been using my husband’s car keys! The drivers had a good laugh as I shamefully turned my car on with the right set.)

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The Driver Went Cocoa-Nuts

, , , , | Working | February 23, 2018

(My uncle is a trucker who hauls various goods. One time he is called to take over a refrigerated truck — a “Reefer” — that another employee has ditched. On arriving, he notices that the refrigeration is shut off, and that the truck contains a massive quantity of chocolate that has now melted in the summer heat. He calls his supervisors.)

Uncle: “Uh, this is [Uncle]. I’m with [Truck Number]. It’s running fine, but the reefer’s been shut off.”

Supervisor: “Just turn it back on.”

Uncle: “Not sure if that’s a good idea.”

Supervisor: “Why the h*** not?”

Uncle: “If I do that, then I’d be delivering a 53-foot block of chocolate with papery bits inside, and I ain’t sure if [Client] can sell something like that, or if we can even get it out of there like that.”

(The supervisor ended up cracking up. My uncle did the delivery. Naturally, both the chocolate makers and the store were pissed at the state of the goods. My uncle later discovered that the person who was originally driving had decided to quit mid-job and deliberately turned off the reefer to proverbially flip the company the bird.)

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Breaking Policy

, , , , | Working | November 9, 2017

(I am a contract truck driver. I am moving a 3.5-tonne van from a repair yard to the store it does deliveries from, a short 50-mile trip. At 30 miles, the dashboard flashes with multiple faults, the major one being “Critical Gearbox Failure.” The van comes out of gear, due to its automatic gearbox, and I coast it to a safe place. I ring my company to get help, and after a while of conferring with the contract company, they tell me to turn the engine off, leave it a minute, and turn it back on. That gets me back on the road for a mile before the whole thing repeats. The second time, they get me to disconnect the battery because, “these vans can have a touchy computer system and a proper reboot fixes things.” Five miles later, there is a loud bang, and the back of the van vaults into the air before dropping hard and much lower. I work out that it is freely slewing at the back and correct for it while dragging to a halt across two lanes of the road. Once I get my breath back and stop shaking, I get out and take a look. The gearbox has pretty much fallen apart. The drive shaft has fallen off, and because this is a rear-wheel drive van it has hit the ground, dug in, and ripped the rear axle off. I ring the office.)

Me: “You know your reboot to disable the alarms?”

Office: “Yes.”

Me: “The alarms were for a d***ed good reason, and I’m lucky to have survived. We need a recovery truck to the middle of the A27 just outside Chichester.”

Office: “Can you get the van to—”

Me: “No, the back wheels need recovering from 100 metres back”.

Office: “Can you push it off—”

Me: “It was a 3.5 tonne truck before it lost big chunks of drive and some wheels; what do you think? I’m calling the police to report it.”

(Policy has now been rewritten so stupid reboots aren’t attempted on the road for some reason, and I’ve never spoken to that dispatcher again. The police had to close the road for two hours to clear debris.)

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