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7:37 pm EST        49°F (9°C) in Dallas, TX

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Management types on power trips: aren't they just the most pleasant people in the world to deal with?

I'm not going to name the individual involved, out of respect for his right to privacy, but this is far from the first time I've had problems with him. There are times when he can be extremely nice and polite, and times where he drives me insane. This past afternoon was one of the latter.

Yesterday, when I reported my freight-overage situation to the company, I received a message via my Qualcomm unit (a device roughly the size of a cereal box, with a computer keyboard and four-line back-lit LCD screen, used for sending text-only messages between dispatchers and trucks) stating that the shipper of the load had already authorized dropping off the extra freight at a facility in Dallas. Between that statement and a code number I would need in that message, I (quite logically) assumed all I had to do was show up at said facility. I called that facility to ask what their hours of operation would be; I was told they would be open continuously through 6:00 pm CST today, or a little over half an hour ago.

Since the first of the two receivers on this load had taken me in four hours early on Friday morning (4:45 am CST instead of the 9:00 am appointment time), my ability to get any kind of decent sleep on Thursday night/Friday morning got shot all to hell. Needless to say, I was extremely tired for much of the day yesterday; in fact, after I made yesterday's update here, I laid down for a two-hour nap just north of Houston. It was 1:30 am CST this past morning before I arrived at our own company yard, also here in Dallas, and as tired as I still was, I was out not long after hitting the pillow.

I woke up after a nice long sleep this afternoon, and I knew I needed to grab a shower; this past week has been crazy, and I was kinda starting to smell pretty ripe. (As Marc would say, "P-U! NYAAAAH! NYAAAAH!" smile) I took care of that, and at 3:30 pm CST (three hours ago), I took off and drove 15 miles to the drop-off facility. When I arrived there, I found out that this facility's office had not yet received an authorization form from the shipper to accept the product; without that, they couldn't do a damn thing. (See, I'd been told that would be taken care of, either by the shipper or some representative of my company.)

When I called dispatch to find out if they had the necessary form, or could secure it for me, I was more or less verbally ambushed by the above-referenced person. Instead of trying to call the shipper or locate the form, or even politely tell me no, he started to angrily ask a bunch of questions about why I hadn't gone to this facility last night (I knew better than to try to argue with him), and gave me a flippant, backhanded "You're amazing" response, as if the whole thing was my fault. I mean, would it not have been enough to just say, "No, we don't have that form; just go back to our yard and drop the trailer there" or something to that effect?

This person isn't the only one who gives me the feeling that this company cares little about its drivers, the most critical part of its workforce; it's all about the bottom line, and it seems nothing is ever good enough. Excuse me for being human and sometimes being tired, ill, or in need of time for some basic hygiene, or for things that happen to me that really aren't my fault (like in this case, where I received and relied on information that turned out to be incorrect). As much as I can, I'll just grin and bear this until I buy a car, and find a more "standard" job and a place to live, and then I'm done with long-haul trucking. It's not like things are much different at other companies, to be honest.

I suppose I could have taken a No-Doz™ or two and headed in last night, but I really don't think the outcome would have been any different; night and weekend dispatchers simply don't have the time (two people cover a fleet of a thousand trucks, instead of the 40 or so during regular business hours) or the authorization to accomplish much more than basic operational functions. Given that fact, even saying nothing about the likely lack of personnel at the shipper's office at 2:00 am EST on a Saturday morning, I don't see how anything could really have been done anyway. I'd be willing to bet that the necessary person at the shipper's office went home at 5:00 pm yesterday and won't return until 9:00 am Monday.

Well, enough of that rant. I'm off to Mississippi for Monday morning, and then who knows where after that.