August 4, 2016 – Canton, Texas (Transplanted from WordPress page)
Despite the massive incompetence that passes for management in the Walmart distribution center in Johnstown in upstate New York, the gate guards and receiving staff were most polite and helpful. It just goes to show you that places are often remembered for their least admirable details. Another New York example of that phenomenon is their Arrogant Senator, the lower case chuck schumer.
When finally it came, it had been a “live” unloading, which means that I hung around while they unloaded the trailer I had brought. First, they assign you a door and hand you a pager. You are then expected to back the trailer into the door and wait for the cargo to be unloaded. There is a mechanical arm that grabs the bumper of your trailer, in addition to wheel chocks and the trailer brakes that prevent you from moving while the forklifts run in and out the trailer carrying pallets of meat. These precautions were not apparently enough to assuage the misgivings of Safety, so we are required to disconnect the tractor from the trailer and a receiving foremen locks out the trailer air hose connector as well. The subject of airbrakes could make an entire post and I’ll put that on the list.
Besides all that, there is a red light flashing by the door, visible in your driver-side mirror that prohibits you from moving anything. When the light turns green, we ain’t done yet! You have to wait until the pager explodes with flashing blue neon lights and go to the receiving window to get the paperwork. All this may take four or five hours. Some shippers and receivers have no concern whatsoever for the fact that drivers are paid by the mile and sitting in a door is a zero mileage trip.
By contrast, the next load I delivered was to Golden State Foods in Garner, NC. There, I was admitted within 10 minutes of arrival. I had only to back the trailer into a cargo door (no need even to open the trailer doors), disconnect from (drop) that trailer and hook up to the trailer in the next door…and leave. The whole thing took less than an hour. See, New York?
Fortunately, the next load was only 37 miles away. Unfortunately, the appointment to pick up was the next morning at 1 PM. However, they give themselves until 11 PM to actually come across with the load. twenty eight hours away in time. You can bet that it will happen within a half hour of that last deadline. Here at Clayton, NC, they will waste your time, but they will also give you a place to park and wait, on site (unlike Walmart, NY). I took that load of meat to Texas in two full days of travel totaling over 1100 miles. Now I sit in a truck stop at Canton, Texas for about 18 hours, in order to arrive in Garland, Texas at the proper time tomorrow. I could have stopped further out, but then I risk being late for some accident or traffic jam. The Federal regulations and the company’s speed limits have made this job a game of “Hurry Up and Wait”.
The First Mate was in Dallas with youngest son for University “camp” and she drove out to see me. We took some photos.
Definition: First Mate – an officer on a ship , second in rank only to the Captain and responsible for the security of both Captain and Vessel.
Above: The Captain at the Helm
The First Mate