The Ecphorizer

The Day my QualComm Crashed
JJ Tiger

Issue 08 (October 2006)

On the road with road Warrior JJ Tiger

On Friday night, Friday the 13th no less, my QualComm crashed, rebooted by itself, and then could not do anything. Lost its mind.

Monday, the technician had Phoenix (our HQ) send some kind of signal, and now my QualComm is better than ever. ... Actually too good. ... but a too good QualComm

I'm just a driver with only seven months experience. I had to train the dispatcher?

is better than no QualComm.

Here's what happened between the "crash" and the repair:

Saturday morning, two dispatchers melted down when I asked for a "paper dispatch," as though the tops of their heads had been unscrewed and their brains vaporized.

The third dispatcher had to have me tell him how to do it. ... I'm just a driver with only seven months experience. I had to train the dispatcher?

Simple: on the dispatcher's desktop computer screen, call up the last five messages sent to my QualComm. Now, "print" the message that says "Load Assignment."

Voila. Paper dispatch.

The basic essence of a dispatch is: You drop off an empty trailer, then you take a loaded tailer. That way, the customer always has one empty trailer. ... or you go from one customer to the next, one customer loading the trailer, the next customer unloading the trailer.

With a dead QualComm: I drove an empty trailer from Roberts LA to Zachary LA. (both towns near Baton Rouge) Dropped that trailer and hooked onto the assigned loaded trailer. Unloaded the freight at a warehouse in Kansas City Kansas, and dropped that empty trailer on the Company lot while my truck was in the shop for a couple of hours. My empty trailer got assigned to another driver.

When the dust settled, I was told that there was a trailer on my truck's 5th wheel. And that's what was messing up my first dispatch with the new QualComm. ... funny that I could not see this invisible trailer. ... funny that the number on the invisible trailer did not match anything that I have pulled all month.

The glitches were ironed out but I drove only 63 miles Tuesday, trying to find an empty trailer to take to another customer. There were no empty Company trailers in Kansas City(s).

The dispatchers melted down again.

One dispatcher told me to drive from Kansas City to Findlay, Ohio, then changed his mind after I asked if I was going to be paid to fetch that trailer, and drag it back to Missouri. well over 1000 miles.

The second dispatcher told me to go to Sedalia, MO, warehouse #304 and take an empty trailer to the shipper. The shipper is also in Sedalia MO.  Warehouse #305.

Both warehouses are actually one building separated by a firewall. The empty trailers for the building are comingled in a common parking lot.

I drove home from Kansas City, Missouri, and I did not even bother to look at the warehouse #304/305 parking lot, let alone get dirty touching a trailer that is not going to be moved,  picked up that loaded trailer at Sedalia MO, then dropped that loaded trailer at a Sears warehouse lot in Memphis, TN.

And now I am off duty for three days. 

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, JJ work routine ranged from driving military school busses to assignment as a Master Crew Chief on two C5 Galaxies, one of the largest cargo planes to fly.  As Chief he was entitled to have his name stencilled on the side.

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