Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The same old story

How many times have you heard this?

The "old man" worked his whole life to make his business a success. Towards the end of his life it was locally or nationally or in very, very rare instances, internationally successful. The company was respected, a leader in it's field. Recognized by the community and it's peers. It had a GOOD reputation.

Then the old man dies and leaves it to his heirs.

The heirs have been brought up in the lap of luxury. Everything that they wanted was provided to them simply because they wanted it. If they had trouble then the influence of their old man and/or his money would smooth the way for them.

Naturally "as a twig is bent so grows the branch".

Only it don't work that way in the real world. Not in business. Money and influence can only go so far if there isn't underlying competence to back it up.

I've seen it, with minor variations, several times over my lifetime.

There used to be a local oil and gas supplier near my home town back in Texas during the forties and fifties. The old man was a pillar of the community. His business consisted of a number of subsidiary components. He had a small truck stop, a restaurant and a propane distribution facility which delivered propane to the local farmers. His picture was displayed in aprominent place of honor in the local High School. I used to drive a bus for that school system and saw them.

In the sixties or perhaps the seventies he died and left it to his heirs.

There's nothing there now but the restaurant which isn't near what it used to be. All else gone. The buildings are still there..the ones that haven't already fallend down due to neglect . Beyond hope now....all that could be done is to tear down the rest of them.

There used to be a truck stop in Austin Texas. Same story. Nothing there now but a vacant building.

There used to be a nation wide Heavy Haul Trucking company. The old man died quiet a few years ago and the heirs took over. A few years ago while I was with a previous company there were rumors. Rumors of the company I was with at the time and this other company running afoul of the law in Arkansas. Bribery, unsafe equipment, and permit violations.....accidents and deaths. Rumor has it that both companies were banned from the state....for a time. Rumor has it that certain individuals went to jail.

Just lately the company I'm with currently (different company...obviously I left the other one....they were dishonest).. bought up portions of that same nationally recognized Heavy Haul company. It had...predictably, gone bankrupt. I went to their yard in Houston some weeks ago to pick up a trailer. Many of their drivers had quit when they didn't get paid, they still owe various escort companies thousands of dollars, maintainence on equipment and the facility had stopped when the revenue streams dried up, DOT started to pay closer attention after a few dozen accidents....etc.

It was sad.

Back home I've seen JunkYards better maintained...less potholes in the driveway. The junk in the junk yard was in better shape. The trailer I picked up, supposedly "ready to go"....is STILL in the shop.

Well it turns out that the project I'm involved with is a spin-off of that same company.

My current company supposedly just learned of it last week.

It's a disaster.. on all counts.

Rumor has it that the company that built the bridge sections for this project was forced to leave it's location here in New Jersey (I forget the town..if I ever knew) due to circumstances beyond their control. One rumor has it that the local city shut them down, eminent domained their land, and is putting in some type of government facility. Whatever...they could no longer produce the contracted product.

A couple of our drivers went in there and removed all the inventory and transported them to my present location. Eighty or so pieces.

Dunno where the other 1320 pieces are coming from. Rumors vary.

The bankrupt trucking company that my current company bought out had a contract to move all those bridge sections.

However...due to poor maintenaince and consequently unsafe trailers the New York HighWay patrol has taken steps.

Several trailers have NOT passed inspection....one is in impound and is not allowed to leave EXCEPT on top of another trailer. Not roadworthy. Not in New York.

That's what brought me out here with a new trailer, my current company belatedly learned of this and "took steps". Since I arrived one other new trailer and several "other" trailers have been brought in.

Apparently it hasn't helped. ..too little too late. We have about eight trailers loaded and ready to go. No permits. New York isn't issuing permits. Apparently New York isn't convinced. Apparently it's going to take a LOT to convince them .....now. All the credibility...all the good will....is gone. Negative good will.

The people that WERE in charge are STILL in charge....with predictable results.

I've been told NOTHING officially. Or rather...what I've been told hasn't happened.

All this is "unofficial".....rumors in other words.

Consequently I'm afraid.

Very, very afraid.

So far nothing has gone according to plan. So far not one thing has gone right. I hear that we're NOT going to work tonight...that part is true...it's too late now. So far all I've done is spend money and sit.

And wait......

And wait.....

.........and I need the income.

.....and I get paid by the load....not the hour.
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