06 July 2017

The hardest part of being a delivery driver

One of the many jobs I held after retiring from the military was as a delivery person. 

I delivered flowers, balloons, and potted plants. This entailed a great deal of sitting down (driving) for long periods of time, and trying to find addresses in a rural/suburban county using a lousy map. 

Often, the address was almost impossible to find, as the people sometimes didn't WANT to be found, or there were no numbers on the house, or a street had no name sign, or the numbers on the invoice were transposed, making me having to ask if this really was the Jones residence and no, thanks, if not you can't have the flowers. 

I was once, unwittingly, sent to the worse part of town, where the street was covered with syringes and spent bullet casings, and the people on the street stopped talking and looked at me with malice and suspicion. But the recipient of the flowers was so very grateful for my efforts.  It wasn't until afterwards that my boss told me three other flower shops had refused to deliver there because of the risk. Gee, thanks.

I had to use my own vehicle, meaning I had to pay for fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc. 
I wasn't compensated for it, and it was a part time, minimum wage job. Pay was augmented by a small 'stipend'..fifty cents to a dollar per delivery. That was, I suppose, the companies compensation for using my own ride.
I was told I could keep any tips I received, but never once did I get one. The boss was a sweetheart but the company was run by a cut throat, lowest bidder bunch of cheapskates. They paid us virtually nothing. Management made millions.

This company had its headquarters in Maryland, but had tentacles all over the country, serving smaller markets. They had a contract with Teleflora, the bunch with Mercury as their logo.
Let me warn you: when you buy flowers for someone and have it delivered, it may nor may NOT be what you picked out from the company's lovely pictures. It all depends on what the latest shipment of flowers consists of. If you ordered very expensive lilies and none are available, your recipient isn't going to get lilies. The arrangers will stick something cheaper in the arrangement, and you will still pay for the lily. You won't be told this, mind you, especially if you order online.

Oh, and those lovely, tightly closed roses? The ones that cost an arm and a leg? Well, that's not how they look when they come into the shop. The rose that comes out of the box from the shipper is the size of a softball, with all the outer petals dead. The arrangers strip 75% of the petals away, until she gets to the tight bud. THAT's what you are paying for: a rose that was cut two weeks ago, packed in ice, shipped from Columbia or Ecuador, and then stripped, de-thorned and stuck in a plastic sleeve with a packet of crystals that you add to water to 'lengthen' the life of the flower.

It's a hoax. You can't extend the life of something that is dead. 

IT'S DEAD. The flower is dead. The only thing that the extender stuff does is cost you money.
By the way, instead of paying a lot of money for extender, here's a cheap and easy recipe for it: 

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) bleach
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
1 Qt (1 liter) cold water. 
Mix and store in glass jar until needed

It's what the shop used for those displays of roses.

One day I was told they had to cut back, so  from now on, I would be paid ONLY the stipend, not a paycheck. When you put ten dollars of your own money in your gas tank and you make 5 dollars total in delivery fees, you know what it means. It means management wants you to quit so they don't have to pay unemployment.

So I quit. Much wiser, now, and with a solid map in my head of every spot in the county.
Given all that, you would think that the above things were the worst part of the job?

Not hardly. Actually, I liked being autonomous. Here's a bunch of flowers and a list of addresses to deliver them to, be back in time to punch out because we don't pay overtime.

No, it wasn't all that. 

THIS is what I hated about the job:Seeing the neglect of animals.

From: Transcend media.org

from: shutterstock.com

From: unchain your dog.org

source and location unknown

internet source unknown

From: arryr.org

If you want to see some horrific images...many times worse than these, just google images with the terms abuse, neglect, etc.

EVERY DAY I saw shit like this: horses in tiny pens no bigger than a bedroom, without a scrap of hay. Mud up to their hocks. Wounds raw and covered with flies. Hooves overgrown and curling up like elf shoes.  Their tails so ratted with cockleburs it was painful to look at. Bones sticking out everywhere. Halters left on their heads until the skin had grown over them. Dogs chained to stakes, or trees, their small spot of movement bare of anything but rocks. Dogs pacing, curled up in abject defeat, and being raped at the end of her chain by a loose dog.
The dogs were insane. The horses were depressed.

This is no way to keep an animal. No. How badly I wanted to drag the owners out into the cold, the heat, the wet, and chain THEM to a tree with no water, no food, nothing. How badly I wanted to kick the living shit out the assholes who stuck a horse in a pen without any room to move, to run, to stretch out and sleep.
A few years ago, a man was arrested (and subsequently released with a hand slap) because he'd bought a horse for his kids, stuck it in a hastily erected dog kennel, left a five gallon bucket of water and a bale of hay...and then left for a week. What? that isn't enough food? He was mad because the guys building his house ratted him out to the cops.

How many times I saw horses and dogs neglected,chained, kept in filth, unfed, untouched, unloved.
The worst of it was there was nothing I could do. Oh, yes, of course, I could report it to the police, who would then shunt my complaint to Animal Services, who made the determination that it wasn't within city limits so it wasn't their jurisdiction despite the fact that my tax dollars from an unincorporated part of the county pays for them. I would be advised to talk to a rescue organization, don't bother us. I couldn't photograph, I couldn't trespass, I couldn't scream at the owners until I felt better.

In another case about three miles from my village, Miss Paula Jean Nichols, supposedly a 'talent scout' 'dance instructor' 'boxer breeder', had 15 horses (three more were found dead and skeletonized in her pathetic excuse of a barn) on five barren acres, and 8 boxers in a kennel about 6x8 feet. The animals were taken from her, she went to court to get them back because they were her 'family". The judge, smarter than most, said no effing way. So "Miss Paula" (that's what her sign in front of her house called her) moved to Mason County, one with more areas to hide in. Last I heard, she allowed a litter of boxer puppies to die because she didn't heat their ''kennel'.  

It's always the same litany of excuses: 
The owners "didn't know", "can't afford to feed them", "they're not that bad" and of course, it took an act of god to take the animals away from them because they're property, not people.
Most of the time they protest, but by this time, so many of their neighbors are so fed up with the person that they whine and then shut up.
The unsung heroes of animal rescuers are angels, but there's only so much they can do.
(in fact, my Barnlord rescues her favorite breed of dog).

Once in a while, the asshole goes much further. a shithead woman in my county was a puppy mill breeder: raising dozens of Borzois (Russian wolfhounds). They were taken away from her by a Borzoi Rescue organization; fed, cleaned, medicated,  spayed, neutered, groomed up into something beautiful and then put up for adoption. The owner is STEALING THEM BACK, one by one. She's gotten three of them back, and can't be found. But the rescuers know who she is and what she's doing.

(update: these two were found and have subsequently adopted out.)

Having to quit, then, wasn't such a bad thing. For one, while I know it's still going on, I don't have to drive past these poor creatures feeling powerless. The second point is that quitting my job kept me out of prison.

Because every time I'd see these poor animals, all I wanted to do was put a bullet into the owners heads.

From Pintrest. 

I forgot to ad this poem. I don't know who wrote it. But he or she felt my pain.

Alone again

I wish someone would tell me
What it is that I’ve done wrong,
Why I have to stay chained up
And left alone so long.

They seemed so glad to have me
When I came here as a pup,
There were so many things we’d do
While I was growing up.

They couldn’t wait to train me,
As companion and as friend,
They told me they would never fear
Being left alone again.

The children said they’d feed me,
Said they’d brush me every day,
They’d play with me and walk me,
If only I could stay.

But now the family hasn’t time.
They often say I shed.
They won’t allow me in the house,
Not even to be fed.

The children never walk me,
They always say “Not now!”
I wish that I could please them,
Won’t someone tell me how?

All I have is love, you see,
I wish they would explain,
Why they said they wanted me
Then left me on a chain.

Author unknown

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