An alternate title for this post might be "Anti-mover bigotry still strong in D.C. area." There's clearly an arrogance surplus in this area, but it shocks me at how some theoretically "tolerant and open-minded" people treat us like something on the floor of a gas station restroom. I suppose people think that we're a group of college or even high school drop-outs. After all, who but a drop-out would be working for a moving company in D.C.? What they don't realize is that most of my guys are professionals or on their way to being professionals. Byron, one of my crew leaders, is on his way to a Ph.D. in economics, for example. There's also a future Naval officer (he ships out in September), some journalists, and quite likely a PGA pro on the team (that's Jimmy, another crew leader.)
The only college drop out on the crew is me, and I've been a journalist, editor, PR guy for the government, and a staff writer with a couple of D.C.'s more well-known think tank/non-profits! And now I run this little company I built from scratch. Not bad for a guy who failed out of Latin class, huh?
What do I mean by "anti-mover bigotry?" Well, most of the time it's hilariously rude a-holes whose problems with us range from the petty to the nonsensical. Occasionally, I'll admit, we get a little cowboy with our parking jobs (you just have to sometimes), but we ALWAYS move the truck if we're in a bad spot, blocking people in. Other times, however, I respond with both barrels loaded for bear.
The latest incident happened yesterday. I got called out on a Sunday for an emergency job, so right there I was in no mood. One of the guys nearly had a diabetic seizure or something, and had to go home. No one else was available, and even though my wife wasn't one bit happy with it, I had to go out to the job.
We were coming to the end with the piece de resistance, a 200 pound armoire top. We had it on a dolly because the walk from the truck to the front door of the apartment was loooong. And, there was a garden hose in the way. I had moved the hose earlier, thinking that it had been shut off. (It sure looked like it to me). But as we approached the coiled up hose with the armoire, an older (not quite elderly) lady came walking by.
"Did you move the hose?" she asked the three of us.
Jimmy and I both replied affirmatively. "Just a few minutes ago," we said.
I continued, perhaps sensing what was about to happen, yet unable to stop: "It looked like it was off, but anyway, we had to roll this thing through here, and the hose was quite a speed bump."
And just like that she laid into us. "You can't turn a hose on full blast or you'll dig a huge hole!"
And just like that, my tolerance for rude idiots got the best of me. "It was an easy mistake," I said, not bothering to try to regulate my tone. "Look -- there's just a trickle from the hose."
"What would you know about watering trees!?!"
My exact response, I believe, was "Unbelievable! What is wrong with you people?!?" "You people," of course, meaning "All of you rude jerks who get bent out of shape over insignificant, pointless little things that shouldn't even register on the irritation scale."
She did an about-face and huffed to the spigot on her building, and that was pretty much that. It was a relatively tame incident, but still had all the characteristics of these inexplicably hostile, bizarro-world encounters. Another one happened a few months back where the rear-end of the truck was slightly over the cross-walk. A man walking by asked if there was any reason why we parked "in the crosswalk." I told him there was -- we were told to park RIGHT THERE by the building's management, and that another car had been in front of us.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen," he said, and then thought he'd chew me out about it, even though there was literally probably 300 yards of open sidewalk available to him. I, of course, returned verbal fire.
Back in February, a young guy gave us all kinds of eyeball rolling because he couldn't fit his car into a ten foot wide space between the truck and a pile of snow. We dug half that pile out for him (which we'd already created by digging someone else out as a courtesy) and he didn't once bother to get out of the car to help. And he had a problem with US? We'd already parked the ten ton truck too far down an icy embankment so as to leave space for the greatest number of cars to get out of that particular parking lot.
The other day I was accused of extortion by someone who couldn't figure out the booking system on the website.
Another time, we stopped in traffic by a guy loading his car on the side of the road. He asked if we "provided the lube" for our services. I'll let you figure that one out. There's more to the story, but let me just say it sounds like he...ah..."got screwed" by his movers in the past.
Examples abound. I've tried to understand where the rudeness comes from, but I recently gave up. So, just a fair warning to my neighbors in the Washington, D.C. area: if you have certain insecurities or particularly warped sensibilities concerning your "rights" that may lead you to take it out on men who make it their daily mission to make people happy, think twice before you open your mouth. We extend all the warmth and amicability we have toward normal people. We'll do just about anything ethical, moral and legal to ensure our customers' happiness. But if you feel duty-bound to rip into people you've never met over something as trivial as where we move a dripping hose, we will explain your faults to you, probably with pithy one-liners dripping in sarcasm and disdain.
And if you want to return fire, we'll come back and move your hose when you're not looking.