I moved the other day. As everyone knows, moving is the worst. There are few bigger favors you can ask of someone than to help you move. It’s a call you dread. I’m not built for carrying furniture around. I don’t have one of those belts. One way to avoid getting asked to help move a friend is to not ask them to help move you out of your place. Don’t set up a quid pro quo situation. With that in mind I decided to splurge on a moving company. I cracked open the old yellow pages (I still keep multiple phone books around–you don’t?) and started to peruse the ads. On the first page I saw a potential winner: A&R Logisticks. A sampling of their promotional claims:
- Highest overhead in the business since 1999
- Industry Leading Driver Turnover
- In Bed with Our Investors
- Marginal Hands-On Moving Experience
What could go wrong, right? It was a compelling advertisement. I boxed up all my stuff and waited for the crew to arrive. Everything started out well. They weren’t supposed to start until eight, but I heard the diesel engine idling outside my building at 3 am. I went down and saw the driver reading “Moving For Dummies,” by flashlight in the cab of his truck. His partner was watching the Richard Pryor classic, “Moving,” on his iPad. This all seemed encouraging. I went back to bed. When they finally got started, things were under control. When they were about 3/4 of the way through the move I decided to go ahead to my new place to make final preparations.
So, there I was, vacuuming the carpeted walls of my 70s-era “fixer-upper,” when my cell phone rings. It’s the driver of the moving van. As it turns out, his name was Juan.
JUAN: We’ve got a bit of an issue here.
ME: An issue?
JUAN: Well, Howard was hungry. My assistant here–Howard?
(Juan sounds nervous, like he’s never called a client before. I think about his assistant, Howard, a prodigious man who walked with a noticeable limp. It wasn’t surprising that guy was hungry)
ME: So, you’re a little bit late? Stopped for a bite? It’s not a big deal.
JUAN: We’re stopped all right. I’m stuck in the drive-thru lane at McDonalds.
JUAN: I’m wedged under the building. We’re in there pretty good.
ME: You drove that huge f*cking moving truck through the Drive-Thru?
JUAN: Partially through as it turns out.
ME: What are you telling me?
JUAN: Bottom line, the State Trooper says we should be out within the hour.
(Speechless, I hang up the phone. I’m starting to worry about my belongings.)
Sure enough, it’s not much more than an hour later when I hear the truck pull up out front. It’s in pretty rough shape, but I hold out hope that all my furniture is still intact. Howard gets out of the truck first. He has a large fry wedged into the chest pocket of his coveralls. His limp has gotten worse. Juan gets out and he’s talking into a headset while staring blankly at a laminated sheet. I see “Lift with Your Legs,” in bold type.
ME: What the hell happened guys?
JUAN: Bit of a clearance miscalculation. I’m used to the metric system.
ME: Don’t you drive that truck all the time?
JUAN: Not this truck. I drove this truck once before. I believe that was Autumn, 1986.
ME (after 4-second long exhale): Just bring the sh*t inside.
I get ready to boss the movers around. This is why you really hire these guys, right? Put this there. That goes IN THE STUDY! It’s a very powerful feeling. So, I post up in my grand foyer and crack a fresh beer. First box in is my television. The 31″ Panasonic with tube technology. Juan and Howard are struggling with the weight. In their defense the thing probably weighs 125 lbs. It’s fat screen. I point them to the rumpus room and when they set the box down it sounds like the TV is in more than one piece. I hurry in and cut open the box. My TV looks like earthquake rubble.
ME: You sons of bitches. In another 30 years, that was going to be an antique.
HOWARD: It’s my fault. He lobbed the box over to me and I totally missed it. Whiffed.
JUAN: No, it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have thrown it left-handed.
HOWARD: Totally my fault.
ME: I’m calling your boss, this is a god damn circus. If my Foreman grill is damaged, you guys are going to be in deep.
I storm off into the kitchen and call A&R headquarters. After some double-talk I finally get through to Reid. He tells me he and Amaro will come by the next day at 12:00 pm to talk about how things went. For some reason I accept this, and spend the rest of the day peeling glow in the dark star stickers off the ceiling in my new bedroom.
THE NEXT DAY…
At high noon, on the button, there is a knock at my door. I open it up and I see Amaro and Reid standing at my threshold behind some type of portable podium they’ve set up.
REID: Time’s yours.
ME: You guys want to come in here and see what your guys did to my stuff.
REID: Listen, I’ve gotten a chance to see the film. It wasn’t good. I’ve got to do a better job. That’s on me.
ME: What the f*ck are you talking about? You weren’t even here. It’s your guys. Howard could barely walk.
AMARO: I might have underestimated the impact of that injury. You know, Howard was once the best mover money could buy.
AMARO: Well no, not really, but that’s something I said once.
ME: Did you know they got stuck in Drive-Thru?
REID: Listen, drive-thrus happen. But at the same time, I’ve got to put Juan in a position to avoid them. That’s my fault.
ME: Who’s fault is all my broken stuff?
REID & AMARO (in unison): That’s our fault.
ME: So, what are you going to do about it?
REID: We already fired Juan. We’ve totally changed our approach.
ME: What about Howard?
AMARO: We’re still committed to Howard. We don’t pay attention to his negative BARM (Boxes Above Replacement Mover).
ME: What does any of that have to do with my stuff?
REID: Listen, your broken stuff. That’s on us. We’ve got to do a better job there.
ME: So, you’re going to replace it?
AMARO: No, like we said, we fired Juan.
ME: It’s your fault, but you aren’t going to do anything about it, is that right?
REID: Nailed it.