Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Communication Breakdown"

Sometimes I'm amazed at the lack of communication or efficiency in this technologically advanced world. Nikola Tesla seemed to think that advancements in energy and technology would really help to unify mankind. In some areas he'd be proud. In others he'd probably throw up. I know I periodically want to throat punch someone. 
Like today for instance. I show up to pick up a load I booked 2 days ago. An easy 2-stop load going into Massachusetts. I've called twice for directions and to let them know I'm on my way. They tell me to be there before noon because of lunch and stuff. Okily dokily. 

That went pretty smoothly, right? So I guess this is where I mention that when I arrive at 10:30 the people in the shipping office look at me like I just grew a second head. Since I haven't said anything sarcastic yet this is alarming. Turns out that they didn't have the materials to finish building the order for one of the stops. So now they're gonna call the builder to see if he wants them to just ship what they have. 
This automatically raises 2 questions for me. First, why did you book a truck to deliver freight you can't finish building? Did you think I was going to stop off at Lowes and pick you up some supplies? If so, ya gotta ask first. Twits. 
Secondly, um, these are basically DIY buildings sooo... What good is it going to do to ship this guy just a PART of one?! "Well, sir, we can ship you 2 walls and a section of roof. Does that work for you?" Are these guys effing idiots?? It was supposed to be a workshop for someone but now it's just a lean-to? 
So I couldn't help it. I had to ask. I try not to poke at hornets' nests too often (now that I'm an adult and shit. As a kid allergic to wasps? Pfft. I'm surprised I'm still alive) but this situation just BEGGED me to say something. "Um, did you say you're going to call the builder to see if they want you to send them just the parts of the building that you have?" She replied with, "yes. It may take a while to hear back from them so we don't know where we are going to send you yet. You may not be able to take this delivery." Ok. So I DID hear her correctly. Sooo..."excuse me, ma'am. Is there a restroom I can use? Oh, and on a completely unrelated you guys have drug testing for your employees? Just curious." Luckily, if she wasn't stoned she was just slow-witted. She gave me directions to the restroom and said she didn't understand why I'd asked about the drug testing as it seems an odd question. Not from what I'm hearing it doesn't. 

Now, the way I work is pretty simple. I like simple. I showed up at 10:30. Therefore, they have until 12:30 to decide what they're doing. Remember, I've said many times that my time is valuable. After 2 hours I start discussing how much they're going to pay me for waiting too. If they decide they can't load me then there's a fee for that too. I don't drive to these places for free. I'm in business to make money, just like they are. And I plan ahead when I can. That load to Massachusetts sets me up for a load from Boston to Buffalo. It's already booked. 
So if these guys don't load my trailer as promised then I miss out on more than just this load. I don't like having to look bad and call people to tell them I can't be where I said I would. Therefore, part of the fees I charge for cancellation are punitive. 

So, anyway, it's 12:30. Decision time. What have they decided? They cancelled another truck to offer me a load similar to the one I'd already had. Sure. I'll take it. Let's get to loading it up. (I should mention here that I openly laughed when the guy said "you kinda got lucky. We could've sent you to Kentucky instead". To which I promptly responded, "No. I didn't get lucky. You guys did. And, by the way, no one 'sends' me anywhere. I do what I want.")

But this happens relatively frequently. I'll show up to get loaded or to make a delivery and they'll give me a blank stare. "We weren't expecting this". Well, someone ordered the truck, someone loaded the truck and you paid for delivery. Somewhere along the line someone knew this stuff would make it to you. How do these things happen in today's age of technology? So you guys were planning on putting a roof on that building over there but you were shocked when I showed up with a load of shingles? Were you just gonna magic this shit from North Carolina to on top of this roof in Louisiana? 

Communication. Our world has technology where you can video conference between an office in Georgia and an office in Japan but we can't seem to communicate a delivery from 300 miles away? We honestly seem to communicate less thoroughly or efficiently NOW than we did when people were mailing letters via U.S. Mail. 

And, since I'm railing about communication, let me leave you with this thought:
All this amazing clarity in video conferences; all this crystal clear cell phone chatting and yet the drive up window at Taco Bell can't get your order? And when they try to repeat it to you it sounds like a snake using a kazoo."I'd like a Burrito Supreme please" comes back to you like "so you'd like to order a side of sour cream? Does that complete your order?" And you're left looking at the screen that's all pixelated and most of the letters/numbers are missing chunks. I usually cock my head sideways like a dog hearing a fire truck. "What?? No. A burrito supreme!" So they correct your order with "the American Dream? I don't understand. Can you repeat that?" 
I usually just sigh and finish with "Siri, is that you?! What the hell are you doing working here? Shouldn't you be screwing up my text messages?"
"Can you just pull forward to the window?" Oh, that part they get clear, huh? Once again, I just pull up, give them money and say "I don't even care anymore. Just take my money and give me whatever food you think is fair"
Technology. C'mon, guys, all these advances and we're still standing still.