Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Tale of Entitlement (conclusion)

CJ's note:  This post is dedicated to Brian Gilchrist, who reminded me several months ago that I hadn't concluded this story from this time last year.  As it turns out, I'd inadvertently deleted the post from my drafts folder, but thankfully the events that inspired the whole yarn are still fresh in my mind.  Since the day is dragging here at Moron Industries, I decided to finish the story off.

Part One can be found here, followed by parts two and three.




The following is a true story I just made up.



I was poring over the computer parts section on eBay when the boss called over from his desk, "Shaun, line two is holding for you."

CJ: Shaun speaking, how may I help you?

SP:  Hello, Shaun.  This is Nancy, the branch manager from Snailspace Express.

CJ: Hi Nancy.

SP: We're still trying to figure out what happened with Turnip Brothers yesterday.  Are you available to meet this afternoon?

CJ: I should be, if you'd like to pay us a visit.  We can talk to our shipper and sort out our stories if you'd like.

SP:  When would be a good time?

CJ:  3pm would work best.

SP:  I'll see you then.

At 2:55, our counter sales guy came up to my desk.  "There's a scary looking lady asking for you at the front."

"She's early," I thought, "how unlike Snailspace..."

I walked over to the front counter, where an older lady in a red coat was waiting.  She reminded me of the school principal from the movie Uncle Buck, without the mole.  She had her game face on.

CJ: May I help you?

SP: Good afternoon, are you Shaun?

CJ: Shaun Wheeler, Inside Sales.  Nancy, I take it?

SP: Yes, I'm Nancy Rinckelsbottum, manager of Snailspace Express.  Do you have a moment?

I nodded in the affirmative, and led her to our shipping area, where I introduced her to Ken, our "shipping department".

SP: I'm still a little unclear as to what happened yesterday.  I've had two different stories from my own people, and one from the customer at Turnip Brothers Mining and Smelting.

CJ:  Well, I received an order from Jimbob at Turnip for some parts he needed on a direct shipment.  The order was written up and filled, and sent to the shipping area.

Ken: Yes, I had the order packed and ready to go within fifteen minutes.

SP: What time did the driver arrive?

Ken:  Steve arrived not long after.  He got pissed off when I told him he couldn't fill his giant coffee mug, and he stormed out of here without the package for Turnip Brothers.

CJ: Did you call after him?

Ken: No, I didn't notice the package on the counter until ten, fifteen minutes later.  By that time, he'd already left.

SP: Did you call dispatch to let them know?

Ken: No, to be honest.  We got really busy back here, by the time I thought of it, the customer had already called looking for the stuff.

CJ: That's about when I got involved.  I spoke with Jimbob, and he called you guys to send the driver back.

Ken: And he never showed.

SP: He never showed up?  At all?

CJ & Ken:  Nope.

SP:  Our dispatcher told us a driver had been dispatched at 1pm and again 4pm, because the parts weren't ready.

Ken:  Oh no, they were ready.

CJ: In fact, Jimbob had left specific instructions to ask for me personally, per my suggestion, when the driver arrived.  And nobody did.

SP: Okay.

CJ: In fact, I waited around until quarter to six last night, and arrived early at 7am just in case the driver came while we were closed.  I kept an eye out for him, and nobody came.  Jimbob picked the parts up himself this morning, bitching that he'd been charged for several pickups that were never made.

SP: That corroborates what the customer is saying.  Do you, by chance, have surveillance video?

CJ: No, I'm afraid not.

SP: Okay, well, I guess that's all I need for now.

CJ:  If there's any more you need, please give myself or Ken a call.

After a brief tour of our branch, Nancy left, seemingly on a mission.



A week later, I got a call...

CJ: Good afternoon, Moron Industries, Shaun speaking...

JB: Hi Shaun, it's Jimbob.  I'd like to place an order.

Jimbob placed his order and asked us to hold it for pickup.  Remembering the unpleasantness from the previous week, I asked him which courier was picking up.

He laughed.

JB: I've switched over to ButtonFly Courier, they've been pretty reliable.

CJ: Ever get things sorted out with Snailspace?

JB: Oh yeah, they ended up crediting us for the four attempted pickups.  Their manager has been in here a couple of times to win the business back, but I told them basically to fuck off.

CJ: I can't say I blame you, given what happened.  Did they ever figure out what happened?

JB: Apparently they hauled the driver out onto the carpet and grilled him.  They figured out he was lying... He'd actually made pickups in other parts of the city at the times he'd claimed to have been at your location.  Apparently it wasn't the first time they'd had issues with this guy.

CJ: Shit...  anyways, I'll get the guys to pull your order.  Have a good one.

JB:  You too, thanks.

So, ol' Supertanker Steve was canned.  I felt a tad guilty at first, since it was my idea to limit his consumption which lead to the freakout and denial of service in the first place... I gave Ken the news.

Ken:  I'm not surprised.  The guy was an asshole.

CJ: Yeah, but really, what were we out by letting the guy fill his mug?

Ken:  It's my responsibility to make sure there's always coffee for the customers and drivers.  I have to run all the way upstairs to make a new pot, and at my age (CJ's note - he's 62!) it's pretty exhausting.  Frankly, I don't have the time to keep filling the damned thing what with all the work I have to do.

CJ: Yeah, I know, but I still feel a bit guilty...

Ken:  Don't!  I've been wanting to say something to him for a while, but didn't think I had the authority.  I was just waiting for someone to tell me I could...

CJ: Well played, old man, well played...



The preceding story is fictional.

Rather, it was an amalgam of several incidents that played out over the course of my 11-year career here at "Moron Industries".  There really was a "Supertanker Steve", however the real-life "Steve" was quite gracious when we asked him to limit his coffee refills, and was a really friendly guy.  He retired due to health issues in 2008, and is a regular reader of my blog.

Other drivers weren't as gracious, some being downright nasty, when cut off.  We had many arguments with drivers over the "free coffee" which led to the coffee pot's temporary removal a few years ago.  The day I wrote the first installment of this story, we'd just had a blowup with a customer's pickup driver (not an actual courier) over the coffee.  He stormed off in a huff, forgetting the package he'd been sent to pick up.  He did come back a half hour later, without having to be called, feeling rather sheepish.  It was this event that inspired this tale of entitlement.

What bugs me, to this day, is the fact that there's a Tim Hortons location in our parking lot.  If they needed a coffee fix, it's just a 20 second drive away.

Both Frieda and Nancy from "Snailspace" were modelled on real people as well.  Frieda was based on a courier dispatcher I dealt with when I first started at Moron Industries back in 2001 as a warehouse guy/shipper/receiver.   She had the worst disposition ever.  Nancy was based on a particular freight salesperson who used to visit us regularily.  She was all business, no nonsense, and you were always looking to stay on her good side.

My boss has always said "We could write a book about this place", and after writing this small story, I'm convinced he's right.



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