Saturday, October 24, 2009

On the Banks of The Red Cedar

The Big 10 water polo tournament is in town this weekend, they're playing at the SERF. I had a guy from the Iowa team, and some girls from Moo U., in my cab. Moo U.? That would be Michigan State, and their fight song is the title of this post. When ever I get Michigan State people in the cab I ask them to sing that song. Why? Years ago, before I moved to Madison, I liked visiting East Lansing a lot. And, in fact, I hold cab permit #64 (I think that's the number) in East Lansing, but I never followed up and went back to the company to become a driver.

Become a driver? How does that work? I assume it works the same everywhere, but perhaps it doesn't. They tell you to go and get a cab permit before they'll talk to you about being a driver. So the cops checked me out, and I got a little pin with a number on it in the mail from them. I guess if I ever wanted to go home, I'd have a job waiting for me in East Lansing. Hmmmm, never thought of it before.

I've been hearing some amazing scuttlebutt lately. It's all related to the new 'system' which is to be installed in all of our cabs. It is, of course, being touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's GPS, and takes plastic which will be instantly credited to my account, and has all the time calls on it, and tells the office where I am. Where I am, but not what I'm doing, since we're a zone cab and if it's cash, they'd have no way of knowing if the cab is loaded or not, unless they use a seat sensor. No meter in our cabs. But the new system supposedly will know the price of every ride immediately when the ride is entered into it.

The scuttlebutt is related to why we're getting this piece of junk, and how it's to be paid for. Regrettably the scuttlebutt makes too much sense, but the most tantalizing of it, I'm unable to verify. The part I can verify is the lie Square Pants is spreading around, but it makes sense too. The screaming of the fat man described in the previous post also fits into this like a glove.

Square Pants scuttlebutt is that checkin is going up by twenty bucks a shift in January. He told me he got it from the manager of his company who got it from Roy. Then he turned around and told Bloomie that he got the same story from me. Bloomie and I concluded that it's just the little German trying to stir up some shit, and since he's including me into his bull shit, I won't talk to him for a few months, aside from telling him he's real lucky that shit splatters. I have to assume this crap will drift back into the office at Badger, but there's nothing I can do about it. They claim it won't go up, and I don't much care one way or another. If they were to do something like that they'd end up with more holes in the schedule, make less money, and I would probably make about the same amount of money. My own seat of the pants thought is, if it was me, I wouldn't risk the holes in the schedule, and I wouldn't do it.

Last summer, Schnidley started telling me about this wonderful system. I said then, as I still say, that I don't see how it's going to improve my business or income. We came to frustration, it's VERY important that people BELIEVE for some reason. Way too important, for the good of the drivers. So Schnidley passed me off to the fat man and he started telling me about it. Why with this new system, they could provide dispatching for a cab company anywhere. Badger Dispatching? I suppose........ But if that's the case why don't they start submitting bids to manage cab companies in small towns?

How does submitting bids work? I lived in a town not far from here that owns it's cab company. In order for them to take federal funds for their public transportation system they have to provide for the needs of the elderly and handicapped. In that town they bought some Crown Vic's and they contract out the management. The management handles scheduling, payroll, hiring people, and the city sees to the car repairs, insurance, and all that sort of thing. Why would the city want to do business with Badger Dispatching? They'd have to install expensive junk in their cars, and deal with a company that is 'somewhere'. If the fat man wants to run a company so bad, perhaps he should submit a bid, surely there are many such cab business's. So, I'm sure the fat man see's himself overseeing a vast empire of dispatchers in a phone bank like setting. Silly rabbit, trix are for kids.

It seems to me, that the people in the office are forgetting who brought them to the dance. A cab company without cab drivers just doesn't make sense to me. On the other hand, Cabs and cab drivers without dispatching makes complete sense, doesn't it? The words of Bobby will always be true, 'Dispatchers are people who can't successfully drive a cab.'

Friday, October 23, 2009

You can choose your friends but not your family

This is so weird, doing this while sitting in the cab stand at the airport. But, here I am. I got myself a MacBook, and a Blackberry that I use as a modem, and all of a sudden I who have used dial-up all my life, have high speed Internet at work. Wow.

I got into it with the fat man in the office today, who will remain nameless. I'm not yet ready to publish a book, and naming him any further than fat man could be a sketchy idea. He was livid, screaming at me to fuck off, and telling me I was lucky he didn't reach me when he tried to call me at home. Yeah, right. What was he mad about? Read on, and if any of you drivers think I was wrong about this do let me know.

Sunday night I'm headed toward the airport, when stuff to do pops by East Town, and north in Windsor. I'm up, so the dispatcher asks me to pick. I pick the Day's Inn in Windsor. It's a lady who wants a ride to a truck stop to use Western Union. I pull up to the hotel and ask the desk clerk to call what ever room it was, and she asks me if Western Union is still open. I tell her I don't know, and I don't, why would I know that. Then I sat in the car and started to read the paper. All of a sudden this woman appears out of the door and is shrieking that when she called to cancel the dispatcher told her he wouldn't take the cancellation, she'd have to tell the driver herself. Why they do this is beyond me. When someone is going to go out and cancel in person and give the driver something, they NEVER call, they just go out and say sorry about that and hand you money.

I wasn't real pleased. The lady was pissed. The moron in the office who refused to accept the cancellation wasted my time, and perhaps my miles, because I pay by the mile for miles about a certain amount, and that amount is almost always exceeded. So I said, "Thanks a lot JJ, next time just take the cancellation and tell me 22 got my call."

He comes back with he thought it was the right way to handle it, and I tell him he thought wrong, and give him guff over the radio for around an hour. I also wrote on the back of an authorization slip that I thought that practice was BS and it ought to stop. Take the cancellation and move on, right? I put the slip in my envelope without addressing it to anyone in particular and without signing it. It's in my handwriting, in my envelope. They KNOW who's note it is, and it is BS, and it does need to stop.

Next time I'm in the office, I say to Baldy, it ought to stop, and for this reason, and he says he agrees, and wants to know which dispatcher. I tell him point blank that he's asking me to rat out a friend, and if he wants to know bad enough he can go through the stack and find out who was on the board when that call was given out. But why not simply say, guys this is a bad practice, kindly stop doing it.

If one dispatcher is doing something like that, they all know about it, and they all know it's only one guy. Of it's SOP they all know it, or if it's SOP at night.......... You get the idea. So nobodies going to be offended if Baldy says guys this is a bad idea and we don't approve of it, whoever is doing it. And I'm not sure it's just one guy. It's a night time thing, but I never paid close enough attention to notice if it's only a single guy.

And this is what the fat man is screaming about, that he'd like me to leave the company. Leave the company? He screamed a lot of stuff, and he screamed it in front of other people, in the office. Back in the day, it wasn't cool to shriek fuck off at a driver inside the office, they had to do it out side. So I finally told the fat man which dispatcher, but I also wrote a verbose letter to his boss saying it was highly out of line.

20 years ago, outside the window at 12 (12 is the old old office, addressed 12 N. Few, these days called The Pigs Pen on the radio in memory of Piggy), the fat man was screaming at me. I can't recall what his problem was that day, but he was screaming me. And because he intended to scream like a lunatic and use words like fuck, he was doing it outside. He finished the screaming with the following quote, "I'll fuck you! You won't make any money! You'll quit!" At the time, he was one of the M-F 7am-3pm dispatchers. Back then we had 2, a much simpler radio set up, and more business than today. And as all you drivers know, if a dispatcher is allowed to screw over people they don't like, they can take money out of that drivers pocket.

Roy Boy always told me he didn't mean it. Well, he did. And he's been working at screwing me over for 20 years now. I guess we'll see if these days he has enough influence to get rid of me. I don't think he does. If he did, why would he scream about it, why not just do it. Well, fat man, do you have enough influence? I think Roy's going to tell him that he needs to let it go. Roy's going to know that he'll do his utmost to screw me over, and poor Roy is stuck in the middle. Roy is a saint. Baldy can't do his job, and when Roy leaves who knows what will happen. I don't even want to think about it.

By the way, I will be going through and weeding out some of the poorer quality posts, and trying to get this back up to something people would want to read. When I was out for 5 months I just didn't feel like working on it, I guess I need my family around. And I'm seeing new material that's worthy all of a sudden. Why just tonight I told Square Pants that he's luck that shit splatters, and he is. I'll tell you all why, perhaps next post.