Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh Indy, Why Must It Be This Way?

We are sitting at the company terminal in Indy, again. Waiting for repairs...again. Mr. Trucker has a list of maintenance items for his truck as long as your arm. One of them is that the air conditioning hasn't worked in this truck since he got it six weeks ago when he started at this company. Now you may not think that's a big deal in October, but it is for a couple of reasons. We had some unseasonal heat a couple of weeks ago where it got up in the 90's in some places where we were. Also, the air conditioning (so says Mr. Trucker) helps keep the moisture down in the winter or when it rains so that the windows don't fog/frost up. Another irritating issue is that the low voltage shut-down indicator thingy needs adjusting because 30 seconds after the truck is shut off, it starts this annoying high pitched beeping. It beeps loudly for about three minutes and then all the power that runs the interior lights shuts down. The beeping is almost more annoying than the fact that we have no lights. There are many other items that need attention and Mr. Trucker has been telling his dispatcher repeatedly for more than six weeks that he needs to get to a terminal for maintenance. His dispatcher started out by saying "we'll have to get you to a terminal after this next delivery...", but then not doing it. Instead, he just sends us out on another dispatch. The last time we stopped in Indy, Mr. Trucker asked to have his truck worked on, and the mechanic(s) just laughed at him and told him they were booked four days out and he'd have to make an appointment. No trucker knows where he's going to be in four days, your dispatcher controls your schedule, and Mr. Trucker tried pointing this out to the mechanic here. The mechanic told him "you need to schedule your appointment and it's your dispatcher's job to get you there for it". Hah! Apparently no one has told the dispatchers that, at least not Mr. Trucker's dispatcher.

Mr. Trucker scheduled an appointment in Chester, VA, thinking that while the truck was being worked on we could visit his brother-in-law and nephew who live in Stafford, VA, about two and a half hours away. Then he notified his dispatcher and asked him to get us there by the day of the appointment. So what does the dispatcher do? He sends us with a load to VA, two days before the appointment, then dispatches us to Iowa, a two day delivery. Mr. Trucker asked Chad (the dispatcher) several times to get us to Chester for maintenance and Chad just keeps ignoring him. Finally, frustrated, Mr. Trucker sent him a communication telling him that he is willing to take two days of (unpaid) home time to get his truck worked on in Chester, VA; Portland, OR; Lakeland, FL; or Irving, TX but that he is NOT (I repeat, NOT) interested in sitting for two days in Indianapolis. So what does Chad do? He tells Mr. Trucker to schedule an appointment in Indianapolis. Mr. Trucker scheduled the appointment, but since they are four days out, the appointment is set for Friday of this week. Then yesterday after delivering in Auburn, IN, Chad tells Mr. Trucker to head over to Indy for maintenance (three days BEFORE his appointment time) without a load. Mr. Trucker asks Chad what has changed that he seems to think we can get worked on without an appointment. Chad says he will send an email to the shop supervisor in Indy asking them to work us in. We arrived in Indy last night guessed one here knows anything about this supposed email/request. We had to spend the night here so that Mr. Trucker could talk to the shop supervisor this morning, but the results appear to be the same. No one is going to work him in early and they all just laughed to think that a dispatcher was going to try to change the way things (apparently) work around here.

We are not interested in sitting here for two days till the scheduled appointment (with no work which equals no pay) as we know no one in Indianapolis and there are no laundry or shower facilities. And we don't want to rent a car in a place that we wouldn't necessarily be interested in touring. Not that there's anything wrong with Indianapolis, it seems like a very nice city. But we have relatives or friends in VA, OR, FL or TX. If there is some mysterious reason why Chad won't send us to any of these places to have the work done, it would be nice to know about it. There is no communication, just a complete ignoring of the request(s) and then a wild goose chase to Indy.

Now that I have aired my frustration, I will post this and then treat you to a regular post later. Thanks for letting me unburden myself.

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