10/15/08

Yeah, well, HERE'S some attitude for ya!

Hey ya'll, more thoughts on the last post. It started out as a rebuttal, and I was just going to leave a comment, but it got to be too much and decided to post it here for ya'll to have your say.

Yes, our co is much larger. We generally have about 4-5 dispatchers at any given time and all they do is answer the phone. We have about 20 people in our office to deal w/everything else and a lot lizard to deal directly w/the drivers. They hand out spare cars, do inspections, that sorta stuff so we rarely talk to the dispatchers other than on the radio.

Our dispatchers are not given any sort of power over us because our company understands that without drivers there would be no company. Yes, there are limits, and yes, we are certainly expendable, and Lord know there are plenty of people in line to take our jobs, but for the most part the drivers really are the important part of the company.

I don't know how this person comes off on the radio but I know that most of the dispatchers I've spoken with, at all cab companies, hate drivers. We're all quite low on the human totem pole to them. For that matter, to most of the people that get in our cabs as well. And I'm trying not to generalize here, because Lord knows there are bad drivers out here as well.

Not that this is a shock to any of you. This is a service industry job and most folk don't respect those in the service industry. Just the way it is. Sadly.

Yanno what? Just to make this interesting, I'm going to throw an opinion (or two) out here.

I WORK for a living. Not in an office, but I still work. 12 hrs a day, often 7 days a week. I pay my taxes. I vote. I don't litter. I don't abuse children or animals. (Drunks are a whole different type of animal :o) I've never been to jail or prison. I've not had illegitimate children so I could live off your money just because I can.

I did not go to college to become a cab driver but I needed a job one day so I did what all hard-working, conscientious Americans do ... I took whatever I could get to pay the rent. Which is more than a lot of American people are willing to do.

People complain about foreigners coming to this country and taking our jobs. Well ...

A) Our government has always allowed this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that how this country was started? Didn't everyone come from somewhere else? Except the Indians and what happened to them? Exactly what's happening to us now, but on a larger scale. But we are allowing it, they were overwhelmed and practically wiped out.

B) A lot of people are too LAZY to work.

C) A lot of people are too good to flip burgers. Or clean up after people. Or drive cabs.

I've never mistreated anyone while I've done this job. But yes, sometimes my attitude can be a bit much. If you're not in my cab and doing something stupid, you probably wouldn't even see it.

And just because a lot of folks don't know how the cab biz is run in Portland here's a simple synopsis: we lease our cars from the company. The only money we make is from our customers. the company gives us nothing, monetarily. I PAY for the joy of working. When you include gas, I pay out more than twice what's considered poverty level for this country in a year. (Read that again to make sure you understand). I have to CLEAR this amount, and then make more to live on. Think about that.

Other cities pay their drivers, hourly or otherwise and give them benefits, etc., and still others are run differently. I make the best of my situation/job, and sometimes even enjoy it. Can a lot of other people say that? Really?? One of the reasons I can approach this job, and my customers the way I do is because I know that - for the most part- these people can't bring me down with THEIR attitudes.

Whew. That's all I have for now. Flay away at me. I'll try n' work up some sort of enthusiastic rebuttal.

*muah*

10 comments:

Donna said...

I like everything you had to say here, and the way you said it.

You go!

Jeanine said...

I know it's a hard living... I couldn't do it that way myself...I much prefer working in an office and getting a guaranteed paycheck...but kudos to you for dealing with it every day.

Iron Fist said...

I appreciate cab drivers. I especially appreciate Portland cab drivers.

Anonymous said...

A job is a job. It's not a life-style. It's a means to pay the rent and everything else. We should respect all who are out there making a living, regardless of what the job is. It brings in a paycheck, which is the bottom line.
Love your blog, your manner of expression, your temperament, your temper, that appears to be used only when necessarily.
Keep on trucking.

Gabe said...

Same thing happened to me with the key breaking off in the ignition. I got a tow and my money back. I put it that your key broke off in your car. They did try to make it my fault but convinced them otherwise...

This has never ever happened to me in any other vehicle and ive been drive every day for 20 some years. If a wheels fell off you'd probably say I was driving the cab too hard? it's a mechanical problem, the key was defective and broke.

I did it in an impala and I bet you did it in a General Motors vehicles? They have this weakness.

King of New York Hacks said...

Well said. People are shocked when I tell them it usually takes me 6 to 7 hours to just break even AND then I start making my own money, which on some nights is nothing. That's why we are tougher than the world.

Manic Witch said...

You also only blog about the highlights (lowlights?) of your passengers. If you blogged about ALL of your passengers, you'd never get to work-thus never getting any fodder for your blog. Please-the blogs are a great way to vent and share encounters with stupidity. So if your "attitude" flares up, its because its well deserved.

rizlablue said...

I work cos I never expect a free ride. I'm grateful that the society in which I live has "single-parents-pension", cos I needed it at one time, even though I hated taking it. There's nothing wrong with being proud of your youd work, whether it's as a toilet cleaner or head of state - or anything in between.

S/A said...

Coldfoot from the comments on the other post owes somebody $10. I'm a night time dispatcher. I work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night- 10 hour shifts. Sunday nights are actually even worse for a dispatcher than Friday or Saturday because of all the business travelers who leave Monday morning. So while Friday and Saturday nights there are more trips for me to dispatch on Sunday nights the phones are NON-STOP.

I don't hate drivers. I kind of hate the customers. There are a few drivers that I want to kill but that's because they're idiots not because they're drivers. (They need everything repeated to them like 6 times w/ simple words to letters like c as in cat g as in go in spelling before they stand a chance of copying. They don't know where things are that would be the equivalent of one your drivers being like Where's Powell's?) I am a female and would love to drive nights but the boss doesn't think he could replace me in the office. He put a former female night driver on as a day dispatcher after one too many tickets cost her her license and she can't really handle days so he's basically convinced I'm the only person who could handle the shifts I have.

Our company is much smaller. We have 40 cars and one person in the office at a time handling all calls and dispatching.

That this is a service job is my point. Yes. People are ridiculous. But your blog shows you drawing the line far before where it is appropriate to do so. In a service job you have to suck it up and just let it go. You can't say whatever you want. Now in some extreme situations- sure but you have plenty of posts that don't meet those criteria. I get stupid calls all day. I got one today from someone who has a flight leaving at 6:30 and wanted us to pick him up at 7. Customer service means being nice even when they're both rude and stupid.

And yes. I WAS pissed off. Drivers have the option to own their own cars and pay pro or lease company cars and pay a higher pro. I'm aware of how much they pay but I'm also well aware of what they make. My best friend drives for us and his pro is more than I make in a week and he makes that + all his gas + all his food + some extra working 10-20 hours a week and obviously gets a car and insurance out of that as well. He's the laziest of the drivers. The majority of the drivers make 3x what I do after expenses working about the same number of hours, they have free time between calls, I have no breaks in my shift, they certainly have more disgusting things to deal with- people puking down the side of their cab, people trying to have sex in the cab etc., but also have plenty of trips where they just drive. I am constantly trying to get trips out and direct the drivers how to get there, while running credit cards and trying to politely make the guy on the phone who is screaming his head off at me because a driver did x or a dispatcher was incompetent get through his anger quicker because I have 3 phone lines waiting. The drivers recognize that I do way more work than them for way less pay. Some even do things like have pizza sent to the office occasionally because they feel bad for us. Pushing the income card is way past the limits of stupid driver behavior that I will tolerate. The customers don't care about the drivers. When you fuck up they blame ME not you. When you're lost or late or rude -I'm- the one that has to keep the customer from going to another company. If I'm not given the power to keep you in line doing that becomes infinitely harder than it already is. The 10-x is important. The drivers generally get some of the customers attitude, the people answering the phones get the full brunt. I would lose my job if I had the attitude towards customers that you present here. Although realistically me 10-xing a driver for being that rude to me is nothing. The owner would fire them if he found out about it. There's a huge line of people waiting to take their place.

I'm a libertarian. I'm glad you work for your money.

The Acid Queen said...

You're still a tool, S/A.

If I ever go to Ptld, I am TOTALLY looking up Trixie because I would want her to be my driver.

You're glad she works for her money, and then tell her that if she were one of your drivers you'd see to it that she's unemployed for a month because you personally don't like the fact that she refuses to take shit from shitheads? Can you be a little more hypocritical please?

Just sayin'.