5.08.2008

Shouting from my soapbox: Is it so hard to do it right?

We unloaded our ABF U-Pack truck last Saturday and were horrified at the amount of damage to our belongings. One chair in particular, which had been re-upholstered just six months ago, was ripped in two places and one leg was busted off. I was inside the truck the entire time it was being unloaded and saw the chair when it was time to take it out. It had been tossed on top of 2-3 stacks of boxes along with loose yard tools. The chair had not been covered with a furniture pad -- the other important or special pieces of furniture had been carefully covered and taped. This chair had been thrown in like an afterthought.

The other things that were damaged are not quite as important to me as that chair. The other things I can probably repair or replace easily. Not that chair.

When we were making our plans to leave Florida, we debated about what method to use to get our stuff across the country. We had used a major moving line when we went the other way and, believe it or not, had a good experience. Why didn't we just do that again? Such a good question, one I don't have an answer for. In any case, we chose U-Pack and they recommended Moving Staffers if we wanted to hire professionals to load the truck. Moving Staffers used Knight's; it's on the t-shirts of the guys in the truck.

So when the busted up stuff came out of the truck, I called Knight's Moving and Hauling and spoke to Frank. He said he was the owner. He also said he was on our job that day when the truck was being loaded in Clearwater. He was NOT there that day. The guys who loaded our truck were Eddie and Alex. Frank had other details wrong as well. He obviously was looking at the wrong paperwork, but he wouldn't admit it. He kept insisting he was right. When I told him about the chair, he said it could not have been the case that the chair wasn't covered. His guys are trained, they would never do that, etc. I have four people who will say that when the chair came down off that pile of stuff, there was no cover, pad, or blanket anywhere near it. But that's not the point.

The point is that Frank, even though he was sorry my chair was ruined and he would be upset if it was his chair, would not in any way admit his company was responsible for the damage. His finger was pointed firmly at ABF and he told me repeatedly how unethical, irresponsible, lazy and awful ABF is. It was their fault, definitely. They drive like maniacs to get their loads across the country, their trucks are sub-standard, they have no shock-absorbers, etc.

I'm so sorry I chose ABF U-Pack and I'm so sorry that Moving Staffers chose Knight's Moving and Hauling and I'm so sorry Knight's sent Eddie and Alex. I wish I had gone with Mayflower or American or National Van Lines. It's too late now. The damage is done.

Frank kept telling me to put in a claim with ABF, they'd take care of me, they're really good about those things. But, you see, I know that that chair was NOT damaged by ABF. It was carelessly packed. That's the point.

Every now and then, I have an exceptional experience where someone goes about their job competently and confidently. That happened this week when we called the cable company because we were getting bad reception. The cable company sent a technician to see what was wrong. And may I just say what a remarkable young man he was? He looked and looked and looked for what was causing the problem; he was tenacious, calm, friendly, confident that he would find it. And he did. And then he fixed it. He did it right. And he didn't blame anyone else at any time about how the problem came to be. Perfect. So I called his boss and told him to give this young man a raise.