As a truck driver there’s one sign I dread more than any other. No, it’s not the one for a scale, it’s the one with a picture of a truck and a big red slash through it.
I don’t mean the ones barring me from certain streets, the ones that make my blood boil are the ones in places that I want to visit to grab a bite to eat or generally spend my hard-earned cash.
The worst thing about them is that they’re far more predominant in the larger cities, the same cities that attract the largest numbers of trucks by virtue of their population needing more of the stuff that we deliver. We bring the stuff to their receiving docks, but we’re not allowed to buy any of it.
Now I know that a semi takes up a fair bit of room in the parking lot. I also know that not everyone likes big trucks, but so what? They may not like the trucks, but they sure like the stuff they deliver to the stores. Without the truck, they would find empty shelves in the store, except that without the truck there wouldn’t be any shelves either, or a store at all for that matter.
Surely it wouldn’t be that much of a hardship to suffer the sight of a big truck parked in the far corner of the parking lot? It’s only another human being going about their business, maybe wanting to stock up on some groceries, maybe buying a gift for their spouse or children, whatever the case, they are not causing anybody any harm.
Far from it. In fact, what they, the humble truck driver, are doing is keeping the economy moving.
None of the people responsible for those dammed signs would be in a position to have an opinion one way or the other if it wasn’t for those unsightly trucks, because without trucks none of the store managers would have a job in the first place and the ‘nimby’ (Not In My Back Yard) shoppers would have nothing to buy.
Refusing us access to facilities is an infringement of our human rights. How that is allowed to happen is beyond me. If any place was to refuse access to a specific race or creed there would be an outcry, yet truck drivers are treated in this way day in and day out and not a word is said.
Obviously some places do not have the room for a big truck. In most cases, they don’t need signs. If the access road is too small to get into, then trucks will not go down it. But a 50-acre parking lot? I’m sorry, there’s no excuse to ban trucks.
Joe and Joanne Public have no idea of the lengths that truck drivers go to ensure the stuff they want to buy arrives in the stores. Take my last trip as an example: I was going from Winnipeg to North Carolina. Just before the border I blew a coolant hose. It was 28 below and the wind was howling. After half an hour, I managed to make a temporary repair using a piece of heater hose that meant I had to bypass my heater, so after being out in frigid temperatures I then had no way to warm up. I limped the truck back to the yard, where I was met by one of my bosses, who put on coveralls and replaced the faulty hose and got me going again.
It was just one of those things that happens from time to time, yet it was not without consequences. In this case, as in most, it had an impact on me, the driver. I still had an appointment to make, so instead of a leisurely run to the East Coast, I now had to run until the early hours to make up for lost time and get back on schedule.
The following day was a late start, due to my late finish the night before, which meant another late finish. The impact this had was to make my job a little harder than it should have been, but that’s trucking.
I still made my appointment on time, primarily because I didn’t want to let my company down. But as a result, it meant that my load of fries were at the customer when they wanted them so that they in turn could give them to their customers on time.
As truck drivers we encounter things like this all the time, we also cope with severe weather, traffic back-ups, we spend hours sitting at the loading dock due to inefficiency or incompetence and despite all this we get the freight delivered on time, most of the time. Nobody gives this any thought at all.
We’re so good at our jobs that it’s expected of us, so by being the true professionals that we are, we allow the consumer to have what they want, when they want it and we become victims of our own success and see more and more of those dreaded signs.