Monday, June 13, 2011

Please forgive our tardiness

Hey everyone (assuming anyone actually reads this blog...),

We're very sorry for the delay in processing your work requests. I have literally worked six months to prepare for the summer rush to avoid exactly this situation, but it appears I've failed to anticipate just how many requests we'd get. Thank you! And, of course, please forgive us!

I have more work to do today than I ever did in the 15 years of previous work experience. Nonetheless, I'm going to fix this today. From now on, you'll receive an estimate within 24 hours. In the near future, we hope to provide instant estimates. We have all the data we need to figure out how to do that, and we've got a rock star coder waiting in the wings to do the project.

Thank you for your patience, and for your business, of course. We're working to serve you better.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Moving: I now feel your pain

The rental market is so tough right now that THIS is a viable option.
As it happens, some of my marketing isn't just fluff. I remember reading somewhere that moving is in the top five most traumatic life experiences for a person. It's right up there with a break-up or losing a loved one. Public speaking may still be the number one traumatic experience in a person's life, but moving is still up there.

I bring this up because we have to move again. Our landlords decided not to renew our lease, instead opting to give the house back to their son who, by the way, they kicked out to put us in there.

I. Hate. Moving. Ironic, no? I actually love what we do, which is essentially acting as the Special Forces of the moving industry -- we drop in in our Huey (or 16' box truck, whichever is available that day) -- assess the situation, load up and roll out before the echo fades. (A line I've always loved from Patriot Games, which I've never gotten to incorporate until now). That part is fun. But actually moving myself? It's a horrible, horrible experience.

As you know, first you have to find a place. You have to sort through hundreds, if not thousands of potential listings. You find yourself looking at former meth labs and trying to convince yourself of things like "You know, with the right curtains, that nest of black widows doesn't look so bad." When you go out to see the potentials, you have to be nice and friendly with all the other irritated, often desperate people looking at the same houses.

"We could put the crib over here," you might say. "And this room could be the office."

The other couple might say "Oh, wow, this room would be perfect for a landlord gift-making station!"

Then there's the personal and financial probing -- the credit checks, the background checks, the reference checks... Thankfully nobody asks how many parking tickets I've gotten, otherwise we'd be homeless.

And then, when it's all settled, and you've found a place that will suffice with some new curtains and a toxic spread of Raid and bleach for just $100 or $200 over your top-end budget, the packing begins. Oh, the packing! Great Odin's Raven, the packing! We haven't even gotten to that point yet and I'm already about to curl up in the fetal position on my office floor. I could take a six-hour bath with scented candles and the collected works of Colbie Callait and I'd still be tense. (What?) Yes, I know that kids make you accumulate an astonishing amount of crap, but really? 50 boxes of kids stuff? Yeah, probably.

At least I'll be in complete control once the new place is secured, the house is packed, and we're ready to load the truck. I've done THAT part about 2,000 times. Until then, oh buddies, it's misery.

On the bright side, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to film every aspect of the moving process in order to show people some best practices. What to do about to pack wardrobe boxes...what to do about lamps...etc. It'll be instructive. Maybe even fun! Keep an eye out for those.

Anyway, enough of this. I have to go find a crack house for my family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not Truck Buddy Material: Steve

How could I have forgotten Steve? He was one of the first really shocking burn-outs of the modern MTB era.

Steve talked the talk like they all do. "I'm 100 percent reliable, a fast learner, a hard worker, etc..." Blah, blah, blah. He responded to an ad where I noted -- in some detail -- that I didn't want guys to come in here thinking they know everything about moving and refuse to learn our way. "No problem," Steve said. "I'll do it your way."

On his third job he showed up, took a look at the job, and declared that it was really more of a "two-man job." It may have been, but if I tell a customer three guys is likely to be better (as in, it'll save them money by completing the job more quickly), then that's what they expect and that's what they get. But not only did Steve decide to re-negotiate the terms of the job while on-site, he told the crew leader to "put him down for two hours" even though he'd only worked for a few minutes or so. And then he left.

So, by "I'll do it your way," he really meant "I'll do whatever the hell I want, and oh, by the way, I'm going to steal from you."

Thanks Steve. Good luck in life.

Not Truck Buddy Material: Kenneth (an update)

Here's a hilarious update about Kenneth, one of our recent NTBM inductees:

Last week he was a no-show to an interview. I didn't think much of it at that point because that's what people do. We schedule interviews, and people just don't show up. That's the reality. Me expecting people to show up is me expecting a different reality. It would be like expecting it to rain donuts, or the Khardashians to become icons for style, taste, modesty and virtue.

Kenneth surprised me, though. He called yesterday and said he was coming in.

"Who is this?" I asked.

"Kenneth. I'm coming in to talk to you about the job."

Panicked, I checked the calendar. Maybe I'd screwed up. Maybe I'd put him on the NTBM Wall of Shame unjustly.

"I have it down for 10:00 AM last week, buddy," I said. "Did I make a mistake?"

"Something came up."

Something. Came. Up. Not even a "I had to take my grandma to the hospital," or "I was abducted and brainwashed by an al Qaeda sleeper cell. Allahu Akbar, by the way."

"You probably should have told me that," I said. After all this was one of the guys who responded to the latest ad on Craigslist. It was about 10 percent job description and 90 percent "Do NOT waste my time with unprofessional BS."

I told him not to come in, but he got testy. "But I'm already on the train!"

I told him we had it covered, "best of luck," and hung up. While it would be a fun exercise, I don't have the time to try to understand such a mentality. "Hey there! I'm a week late, but mind if I drop by anytime without an appointment for that interview?"

This kind of thing happens every single time I go on a recruiting jag. I fear for our country.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Not Truck Buddy Material: Kenneth

Scheduled an interview with "Kenneth" for today between 10:00--11:00. It's now noon.

Kenneth, if you're reading this, please hit yourself in the head repeatedly until you pass out. When you wake up, repeat the procedure.