Friday, April 24, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Trucking Edition, Part XIV

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

Trucking companies charge what they call "Detention" charges if the driver has to wait more than two hours at either end.  It's charged in increments of 15 or 20 minutes and can add up fast.  Best we can figure, the driver gets some of the money and the company gets the rest, and since we all know they don't exactly deduct anything from their fees if they're late to their next appointment, it's pure profit for the company, and likely piled on top of the wages for the driver, too.  So the driver has incentive to plug this fee into their tracking system, and the company has incentive to allow it without question.

We mostly pre-load the spare empty trailers we have on the lot, so all the drivers have to do on our end is arrive, park the empty trailer they brought us, hook up to the pre-loaded trailer on our lot, drive over the scale, MAYBE wait while we unload some of the product if the trailer comes in over weight (but we pre-weigh them so this isn't very frequent, just when their truck is drastically different than we expect), and they can be on their way.  Often it's under 30 minutes.

A driver called last night from a ways out of town asking if they could stay on our lot.  This isn't uncommon, and since there aren't any truck stops or rest areas anywhere nearby (nearest is like 70 miles), and since we don't have a fenced/gated lot, we allow it.  I warned her (yes, it was actually a team of women truck drivers, plus we had a third woman truck driver in a different truck this morning--quite a coincidence!) that we lock up the building at 5 and don't open again until 8, so she wouldn't have access to our restrooms between those hours, but that she was welcome to come in and use them and even our break room (and coffee) before or after those times.

Sure enough, they arrived at 4-ish, came in, used the facilities, and asked about their load.  I didn't know if it was loaded yet or would be loaded in the morning, or what their appointment time was, so I just said they could check in with us in the morning to see when we expected their load to be done, and reiterated that the doors would open at 8 and they could come check, use the restroom, etc.

The load was done at 9:30, and our crew let them know that they could hook up to the trailer and take it across the scale.  At about the same time, my boss got an automated e-mail from the trucking company that said that the clock had started ticking at 8:00 a.m., and they would soon be on detention.  The funny thing is, the appointment we set with them for this load was for 10:00 a.m.  So detention time shouldn't even begin until noon (there's an allowance of two hours after the appointment time before detention starts), and their load was ready at 9:30.  Apparently the drivers are pretty sure the clock began at 8:00 and detention begins at 10:00, though, because even though they were told to hook up at 9:30, and given their instructions on how to cross the scale, etc., they're dinking around out there, trying to let the clock go far enough past 10:00 that they get a little extra pay.  Joke will be on them, though, I suppose, as we have the 10:00 appointment time in writing.

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