Blog: Skillz The FedEx Guy
(originally written 11/27/11)
Thanks largely to a portion of well-crafted lies, omissions, and distortions, I finally got FedEx to hire me over the summer—it had taken two years to even get interviewed, but I’m not here to talk about the past. These initial months in the purple and green have been 100% devoid of tedium—especially with certain days of celebration fast approaching.
Not that Batman will ever sit on the edge of his seat pleading me to tell him how I solved the mystery of the missing mobile home park directory, but I’ve accumulated a few tales, observations, incidents and discoveries that, when properly coalesced, may pass for a mildly entertaining read for some of you.
Most of what we deliver comes in unmarked brown boxes, and being the last link in a very long chain from shipper to recipient, we are rarely privy to the contents of said boxes. But sometimes we are. One customer regularly has dozens of Tupperware products delivered to her house. Her English is poor. She doesn’t even seem to understand “Good morning”, otherwise I’d surely pry. “Miss? What do you do with all that Tupperware? Do you use it to ship cocaine? I’m not judging, just curious.”
Once, I left the side door to my Sprinter open to make a delivery, grabbed some upcoming deliveries from the back, and sat them next to me upfront. Down the street, I heard whimpering coming from the back. NO…FRIKKIN…WAY. A dog did not jump in the back of my van. I pull over and inspect. No dog. Wow. I drive further and hear more whimpering. WTH? Then it hits me—one of the packages now by my side is from Wal-Mart and has a toy dog inside, one that is awfully sensitive to movement, apparently.
At least I HOPE it was a toy.
Speaking of canines, for the umpteenth time, I do not hate dogs, nor do I love them. I…accept them, aware that for reasons I don’t understand, people DO love them. Never realized this many people loved them until I wore the purple and green. At roughly 65% of my stops, a loud, tensed up woofer with absolutely nothing better to do than charge toward my van at 400 mph and unleash a day’s worth of unfriendly barks my way when I roll up can be found. One has nipped me. Another tried to do worse until I threatened to defend myself. All are loud, incessant and annoying. I must bring it out in them.
The most puzzling dog incident occurred just two weeks ago. I’d pulled to a house and hadn’t even exited my van when I heard a tied-up terrier…across the street…TWO HOUSES BACK…absolutely lose his mind. He is choking himself on his chain as he repeatedly charges toward my van, only to be violently jerked back toward the tree he’s tied to. It is both confounding…and entertaining: how long until Rover figures out “Hey, it hurts when this chain around my neck snaps me back against this tree. Maybe I should chill”?
This happens way more often than it should. Far be it from me, a guy who just this past Sunday stabbed himself in the finger while swatting at a fly with one hand and holding a knife in the other, to question other’s mental facilities—but I’m doing it anyway.
You all know how we delivery people knock/ring to alert customers to deliveries before high-tailing it back to our trucks, ideally undetected. Sometimes, though, there’s too much distance, and customers do catch us making our getaway. Most of them will thank me, or wave, or some similar form of acknowledgment. A smaller, dimmer percentage likes to shout the following question as I’m driving away:
“Do I need to sign anything?”
I am dying to use just one of my smart-ass replies just once. I resist though, out of respect for my supes who don’t deserve the brunt of a pissed-off customer’s wrath. That is, if they’re able to figure out how the phone works. So…how about sharing with you instead?
“Yes, the back of your dullard card.”
“Yes, you do. Just chase my van down the block and toss it through the window.”
“Yes, you do.” (drive off with no further explanation)
“Yes, but it’s in Oregon. Wait right there while I go pick it up.”
“Yes, you do. But you have to catch me first!”
“Yes, that coffee I just delivered is in a cast. Sign that.”
“Yes you do, but not for another two years.”
On the clueless note, let’s not forget the time I waited for a lone car on a long road to pass so that I could cross back to my van. The weather is clear, I am empty-handed, and I give no appearance of being in a hurry…yet she stops. I do not want her to stop. There is no one behind her. Again, I am empty-handed. I just want her to pass already. I do my best Tim Flannery trying to motion her past, to no avail. Her response is to roll down her window and ask:
“Are you sure?”
Am I sure?
You stop in the middle of a road to ask a pedestrian if they’re sure they do not want to cross? Who does that? I could already be in the van had you no stop! Maybe she mistook my arm-waving for swatting at another fly; who knows. Usually I have smart-ass replies in queue for moments like this—“No, not really sure. This is a pretty big decision. I think I need to sleep on it.”—but who could prepare for such cluelessness?