Never, ever, ever again!….Uniform Delivery Job

Here’s what happened to me when times got rough. The ad said “route sales”. I thought, “May not be too bad,” and called the number. An interview was set up on the spot for the next day. I arrived at their office. This company had just leased a unit in this complex as they were expanding. I talked to they guy for a few minutes and he hired me that day. Initially I was impressed with him and their location.

Now for the job.

I was thrilled to learn that not much selling was involved. Just pickup the customers dirty clothes, leave the clean ones from the week before, and get the invoice signed. Some days would be short with only a few stops, some days were longer. Sounds ok, but the fine print will kill you.

I drove a 30′ box van that had a height of 6 feet standing room. Clothes were arranged down the sides and the pickup clothes were placed in the floor along the sides as you picked them up. I will illustrate one of the worst days: this was a typical Thursday:

3 a.m. Wake up

4 am Headed for first stop-130 man account at a paper bag plant

5 am At the plant, back the truck in

5:15am Get bins of dirty clothes to the truck. Count the clothes (appx 1300 pcs) and mark each mans total on the invoice

6:30 Count clean clothes (about 1300) and take them to the rack

7:15 argue with dumbasses about their missing clothes, show them on invoice that all clothes are accounted for. Also encounter people actually missing clothes.

7:45 Try to figure out what happened to the clothes that were actually missing

8:00 Go over invoice with union president. give shit loads of credit so everyone is happy

8:15 Leaving. Truck already has a lot of clothes in it. It stinks. It’s already over 90 deg. Told manager about credits. He’s bitching. Told him to stop losing clothes at the wash plant. says it doesn’t happen. Bullshit

8:30 – several stops. some complaints. most are genuine because this company loses a lot of garments.

10:30 – medium size stop at an oil company. 45 men. No one is ever there (good). large pile of clothes in the middle of the shop soaked in oil and god knows what else. Hang cleans up first because I get dirty here. sort clothes and count, get covered in oil, mud, dirt.

9:15 clothes loaded. cleaning up. It’s well over 90 deg and I stink (SUPRISE!). Now off to the next town. next several hours will be a few stops and a lot of driving

10:30 at one of these stops found bag of clothes full of shit (a pet I assume). I know there is a diplomatic way of handling this, but I don’t know what it is. Find the guy and tell him that I won’t be picking up his clothes today. WHY? They are covered in shit. “oh my cat must have got in them. But I pay you to wash them!” Of course he’s looking at his buddies grinning. Big man! “No, I pick them up. I don’t mind dirt, but I draw the line at shit. I won’t count them, I won’t sort them, and I damn sure won’t put them in the truck!” To that he says he will call my boss. Go ahead. Leave the bag of shitty clothes in the floor.

12:30 Truck won’t start. Manager won’t have it towed. tell’s me to call my wife and see if she has a phone book to find a towing company in this town. Find loose wires on the fuel pump. on the road again

3:00 after several stops, service an account that has 24 floor mats, 38 men, rags, overalls, you name it. I am hauling ass to get to everything before the other stops close. It is over 100 deg. I smell like shit. The office is very clean and staffed by attractive women dressed very professionally. I go in there to get the invoice signed and these ladies can’t help but stare in disgust. I am filthy and I smell bad. The humiliation is sickening.

5:30 PM At the last of over 40 stops. They are holding the door open. They are bitching. I’m not saying much. 2 man account, its over quick.

5:45 Start the long drive back to the branch. I am covered in filth, I stink, I’m hot. I am driving a truck loaded with over 100 large nasty floor mats, a couple hundred pounds of shop rags saturated in who knows what, and the stinking clothes of over 1,000 people. I stink, it stinks.

7:15 Arrive at branch. Unload clothes, handling them for a SECOND time, wash up, load the next day’s clean clothes. Do my final cash-in.
10:00 HOME

I worked there for 6 months. During this time I lost $400 in unpaid, very legitimate expense (truck parts, expense for training trip), about $50 cumulative out of my paychecks for “unapproved credits”, and much of my self-respect. The detailed day was Thursday of every week. Other days ran about 12 hrs. Most Saturdays I was at the branch sorting through the misc. clothes that came in late. I made a whopping $450 a week before taxes. About $380 afterwards. The whole time being told about how we were getting pay raises, new trucks, etc. That Friday, I turned in my 2 week notice. The “won’t tow the truck” crap was the last straw. I received a call from the regional manager asking why I was quitting. He wanted to know why, and I said it was to many things and I would put it in a letter. During my time there I had covered my ass religiously. I recorded every lie and broken promise my manager made that I had to either explain or figure out for the customer. These generally took me by surprise because when they would tell me about the promise, it would be my first time to hear it. Example:
Cust: mr. Dipshit said he was ordering new uniforms for everyone, being you all lost our other ones

Me: Ma’am?

Cust: Repeat

Me: Uh, I’m sure we should have them soon if he ordered them recently

Cust: Soon?! He said that 3 damn weeks ago!!

Me: I’m sorry I’ll find out.

Cust: You better!

That’s the way it was, constantly. I did send that letter to the RM a few days before my last day. In the letter were details and proof of the lying and other bullshit that went on.

About 6 weeks later I receive a call. It’s the branch manager, Here’s our conversation:

BM: Hi, Asshole!
BM: ASSHOLE! Thanks to you and that damn letter, they put me back on a route!
ME: (laughing) My old route?
BM: Yes.
ME: (laughing hysterically) And I suppose you are getting your ass chewed left and right.
ME: Does it have anything to do with all those bullshit promises and lies you told my customers?
BM: silence. UH….
ME: Of course it does! Take your medicine. You’re lucky they let your sorry little ass drive that truck!
BM: I never lied!
ME: Horseshit! DON’T CALL HERE AGAIN. I DON’T WORK FOR YOU. …hang up….

At least there was a little silver lining. I haven’t seen or heard from him since. I talked to someone that left after I did and learned that after 2 months on a route, they fired him. Just goes to show all the slimy little lying managers out there that everyone gets theirs eventually.

I now make four times what I did there. Even better, I haven’t seen a manager in weeks. I don’t care what anyone says. I’d take the oilfield over that shit any day!