Piercing The Fog With A Non-Union Escort Service

 

If necessity is mother of invention, then adversity is the wellspring of salty language. So while negotiating through a thick fog of government and labor union ineptitude today, I lit my way through the darkness with fiery descriptions.

One of the government’s responses to the 9/11 attacks was to beef up security at our ports. I’m not sure what ordeal ships must endure at port, but for the landlocked, it is a nightmare. My delivery today was to the Georgia Ports Authority, in Savannah, GA. Knowing that the port is a big place, and not having any directions on where exactly in that big place I was to go, I called the number provided.

Port Lady: “Georgia Ports Authority.”

Me: Yes Ma’am, I have a delivery to your location this afternoon, and need directions please. I’ll be traveling north from Jacksonville….

Port Lady: “Do you have a Twick?”

Me: Do I have a what?

Port Lady: Do you have a Twick?

Me: What’s a twick? I have Special Dark candy bars in the truck, if you…

Port Lady: A Twick card. You must have a Twick card to get in the port. If not, you’ll have to get an escort.

Me: I don’t have the magic card. Do you have a number I can call to arrange for an escort?

Port Lady: “We don’t give those numbers out.”

Me: That’s helpful. How do I get escorted then?

Port Lady: “Just come to Gate 1, and there will be escorts off to the right as you drive up.”

Me: Sounds like a red light district. Is this le…

Port Lady: “Thank you.” <click>

I messaged my company and asked if they could please do some digging and find me a reputable escort for the afternoon, while I made my way to Savannah.

On days when the weather cools, the summer haze recedes as the landscape unfolds in crystal clear detail. This was not one of those days. The haze on I-10, as the rig rolled through Tallahassee, blurred the scenery, making everything seem as if it were being viewed through foggy contact lenses or smudged eye glasses. Fairly appropriate, I thought.

Eventually, the name and phone number of a point of contact arrived on my rig’s Qualcom computer, and I called the escort company. They gave me directions to the gate, and explained that they were required to meet me there and ride with me into the port and stay with me throughout the unloading process, since I don‘t have the powerful card. Oh yes, and there would be a $65 fee for their services. “So I have to pay you so my load can be delivered?” “Yes sir,” said the escort person. I can’t repeat my response, but at least the escort laughed.

Arriving at the gate, I was met by the only cheery person I encountered today. The escort was personable, sympathetic, helpful, and $65. We drove to the gate, where we were met by a security person who only recently began shaving and is probably playing hooky from school today. He looked at my escort’s magic card, meditated over my driver’s license, stared at me for awhile, and then told us to pull over and walk back. We did and he presented me with a form to sign saying that I would not leave my escort, which of course I wouldn’t do because I want my money’s worth. My escort signed the paper promising to keep track of me if only to extract the required sum. I know the guard has an important function to perform, but I tried to lighten the mood a little just the same. No chance. He had the demeanor of a toothache.

From the happy shack, we made our way to the unloading dock. It was 3:30PM as we docked and waited for the truck next to us to be unloaded first. The guys doing the unloading are union, my escort explained. When I go to most warehouses, most of the time one guy will set the docking plate at the rear of the trailer, unload the merchandise with his forklift, take the merchandise to the appropriate staging area in the warehouse, sign my bills of lading saying that the goods were delivered, and bid me a fond farewell. Not here.

Union rules say that one guy has to put the docking plate in place. That’s it. Then another guy has to take the merchandise off the trailer and place it on the dock. Then, yet a third guy has to take the merchandise from the dock and place it in the staging area. Three guys, with three forklifts, doing the job that one guy does at other businesses. And if any one of them helps the other in his task, they are in heap big trouble with the union. Instead, the gentleman that sets the docking plate must then sit in solemn contemplation while the other guy unloads the truck before joining him in reverent reflection as the last guy places the freight in the staging area. They are paid well for this. So next time you wonder why certain businesses are folding or shipping the work overseas, just remember; three guys doing the job of one.

Once the truck next to us was unloaded, our union workers were ready to go home for the day without unloading my rig. The reason? It was 4PM by that time, and they are not allowed to work beyond 4PM even if I’ve been sitting there for the better part of a half hour waiting. This led to more colorful language from me, directed not at the employees (they don’t make the rules), but at my run of luck in general. The escort laughed,…the fork lifters laughed, and the three of them risked the wrath of their superiors by unloading my truck anyway.

My escort and I made it back through the gate, where Mr. Happy again pondered over my paperwork while I explained that the governor had issued a pardon. We were released, my escort left with his money, I submitted an expense report to the company, and here I am. But I wonder how I’m going to explain this back home when my pay statement arrives, showing that I paid $65 for an escort service.

There are 26 comments.

  1. Member
    Dave Carter: The escort laughed,…the fork lifters laughed, and the three of them risked the wrath of their superiors by unloading my truck anyway.

    It’s good to see that “labor” hasn’t entirely crushed the spirit of work.

    • #1
    • September 4, 2010 at 4:42 am
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  2. Inactive

    Are you sure you weren’t calling Barney Frank by mistake?

    • #2
    • September 4, 2010 at 5:42 am
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  3. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    ~Paules: After playing cards across Latin America where whores, fours, one-eyed jacks and kings with an axe all count as wild cards, I wasn’t going to be denied by a jerk on a forklift. …Today I feel just a wee bit compromised. … My youthful vigor might have lacked wisdom, but I think there is much to be said for the vitality of passion over reason. But maybe that’s just me.
    Paules, geez, you nailed that one. I’m “just a wee bit compromised” as well from cracking a rib a few weeks back, and am only now begining to get back in shape, hitting the weights, etc. And as you say, the passion is there, if not the reason. Had a slight altercation in Orlando just after the rib incident with another trucker that wound up with me offering to take a certain object and introduce it to his digestive processes.I don’t know if you’re feeling age, or wisdom, but you’re right on a personal level at least. There is much to be said for the vitality of passion.
    • #3
    • September 4, 2010 at 5:51 am
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  4. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Etoiledunord, I’m positive.

    • #4
    • September 4, 2010 at 5:56 am
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  5. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    the motley cow: You see, you got yer Jews, and you got yer Moslems, and you got yer Genitals. And it was after the Moslems tried to blow up them Genitals, that Genitals decided they could pay an escort service to deliver a fella’s load. That is, if’n that fella had gone n’ lost his twick, or if he never had one of them dang things to begin with!

    Then them Genitals thought, “well shoot! if’n I gonna git me an escort service, I fancy I git me a non-union escort service, and make personable, sympathetic conversation beforehand, and keep it real classy like.” · Sep 3 at 11:58pm

    Oh that’s too good. Nice to know that old thread still has some kick in it’s step. Thanks for a blast from the past, Motley Cow. Good thing escorts aren’t blowing themselves up.
    • #5
    • September 4, 2010 at 5:56 am
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  6. Member
    Dave Carter: The escort was personable, sympathetic, helpful, and $65.

    It was believeable until the low price tag.

    Much to my pleasure, I’ve never had to work directly with a union (thank you, Lord, for placing me in Texas). But I recall one of my sisters telling me that when she signed on for some ship duty with Schlumberger, a union guy was right next to the company man. After she signed the company’s forms, the union official pushed his own paper and pen toward her, looking as if he expected joining the union would be an afterthought. My sister pushed the paper right back at him, unsigned, and was rewarded with a menacing glare.

    I’d pass up any number of jobs to avoid being forced into a union. Thankfully, for some, it’s still only a recommendation.

    My sympathies.

    • #6
    • September 4, 2010 at 6:04 am
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  7. Member

    Happy Big Labor Day Dave! Thanks for another gem.

    • #7
    • September 4, 2010 at 6:11 am
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  8. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Aaron Miller
    Dave Carter: The escort was personable, sympathetic, helpful, and $65.

    After she signed the company’s forms, the union official pushed his own paper and pen toward her, looking as if he expected joining the union would be an afterthought. My sister pushed the paper right back at him, unsigned, and was rewarded with a menacing glare.

    I’d pass up any number of jobs to avoid being forced into a union. Thankfully, for some, it’s still only a recommendation.

    Aaron, God bless your sister. If card check goes through, I’m thinking my company may be a big fat target. I enjoy the work, and I won’t be forced out nor forced to sign by a bunch of goons. I’ve been through too much over the years defending freedom to hand mine over to union thugs. On the positive side, it could make for some fascinating posts on Ricochet.

    • #8
    • September 4, 2010 at 6:17 am
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  9. Member

    Something that has long puzzled me is why academia isn’t (more) unionized. Academics make noises like natural allies of unions. And yet – and here my experience is admittedly years out of date – lab techs and postdocs aren’t noticeably “organized.” But if the question isn’t simple, maybe the answer is: since about Dung-Show-Ping, it has been convenient to get, ah, offshore talent to come here, and besides not having to pay their Social Security tax, academic employers can count on their meekness, and anyway, there’s no enforced payscale for such labor. Pay ’em whatever you want, they won’t complain! An interesting setup. Not exactly profitable to the greedy, or obstructive to anyone at all; really, about as libertarian-free as it gets; yet I feel certain all professors would vigorously protest this characterization.

    • #9
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:15 am
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  10. Inactive

    Dave Carter Hires Male Escort! Man, what a scandal. I just hope he’s discreet.

    • #10
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:20 am
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  11. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Kennedy Smith: Dave Carter Hires Male Escort! Man, what a scandal. I just hope he’s discreet. · Sep 3 at 7:20pm

    Kennedy, I never mentioned the escort’s sex. And she was very polite, actually. Gave me a receipt and everything.

    • #11
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:24 am
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  12. Reagan

    Hilarious, Dave. Reminds me of some of Dave Barry’s great columns. This is the kind of article that would ring true for many who aren’t political junkies but who have a strong streak of common sense. Keep ’em coming!

    • #12
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:26 am
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  13. Inactive

    Hmm, “escort left with his money.” Thank God you didn’t use a credit card. I learned that lesson the hard way.

    • #13
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:28 am
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  14. Moderator
    John H.: Something that has long puzzled me is why academia isn’t (more) unionized. Academics make noises like natural allies of unions. And yet – and here my experience is admittedly years out of date – lab techs and postdocs aren’t noticeably “organized.”

    Yes, you are out of date. The latest craze is to unionize lab techs, postdocs, graduate students, TAs — everything.

    • #14
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:29 am
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  15. Member

    The one time I had to vote for or against a union for my work place I voted against the union and the company won. They showed their appreciation for our loyalty by shipping our jobs to Haiti the very next month.

    Government regulation and the Unions are two reasons America went from being the largest maritime power the world has ever known to having fewer than 100 American-flagged ships today.

    • #15
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:30 am
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  16. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Robert E. Lee:

    The one time I had to vote for or against a union for my work place I voted against the union and the company won. They showed their appreciation for our loyalty by shipping our jobs to Haiti the very next month.

    Government regulation and the Unions are two reasons America went from being the largest maritime power the world has ever known to having fewer than 100 American-flagged ships today. ·

    Bob, to your first point, no good deed goes unpunished. To your second, I wonder if you could expand a bit (and I’m not referring to your wonderful wife’s cooking). Please tell Jan and the kids hello for me.

    • #16
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:35 am
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  17. Moderator
    Kennedy Smith: Thank God you didn’t use a credit card. I learned that lesson the hard way. · Sep 3 at 7:28pm

    You and Kenneth should get together sometime.

    • #17
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:35 am
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  18. Inactive

    Dave, in the years before electronic banking, I had occasion to pay for a haircut in Calgary, the barbershop’s name was Cavalier Cuts, or something like that, It may also have been Esquire Cuts, it’s too long ago to remember accurately. Those were the days when they would take an imprint of your credit card. At the end of the billing cycle when my then wife opened my credit card statement listed among my charges was $15.00 to Cavalier Escort Services in Edmonton, Alberta. My wife showed me the statement and asked what an escort would do for fifteen bucks? Gulp, I said, not much, at least as far as I could remember.

    It turns out the two merchant numbers varied by a single end digit, one was, say, five while the other was four and the imprint was smeared. Eventually, the credit card company figured out the error, using the same logic my wife used as in who would believe an escort would work for fifteen bucks. When I think back on the experience, Dave, it was the best haircut I ever had, and cheap, too.

    • #18
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:35 am
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  19. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Kennedy Smith: Hmm, “escort left with his money.” Thank God you didn’t use a credit card. I learned that lesson the hard way. · Sep 3 at 7:28pm

    We should collaborate at some point. Or would that be commiserate?

    • #19
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:37 am
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  20. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Priceless, Cas. I love it. You know, there was a reason the local barber shops in Korea were off limits to GI’s when I was stationed there. And as Forest Gump would say, “And that’s all I have to say about that.” Jenny would not have been pleased.

    • #20
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:40 am
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  21. Inactive

    “Arriving at the gate, I was met by the only cheery person I encountered today. The escort was personable, sympathetic, helpful, and $65.”

    That’s good service at twice the price…

    • #21
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:43 am
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  22. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Waynester: “Arriving at the gate, I was met by the only cheery person I encountered today. The escort was personable, sympathetic, helpful, and $65.”

    That’s good service at twice the price… · Sep 3 at 7:43pm

    Waynester, yes, and even my sidekick, Leilanni, approved from her perch on my CB radio, as you can see.

    IMAG0117.jpg

    • #22
    • September 4, 2010 at 7:57 am
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  23. Inactive

    Dave, you make me feel very old . . .

    When I was a youth of twenty-nine, I retrieved my motorcycle from the Port of Baltimore after motorcycling from DC to Santiago, Chile. The union guy on the dock objected because it was after hours. I ripped the crate open with a crowbar and threatened his life when he tried to stop me. My bike fired up after a month in the crate, and I drove her home. After playing cards across Latin America where whores, fours, one-eyed jacks and kings with an axe all count as wild cards, I wasn’t going to be denied by a jerk on a forklift.

    Today I feel just a wee bit compromised. Or maybe I’m just feeling my age. I miss the audacity of youth. I wonder sometimes if nations are not unlike individuals? I’m tired of living with the [ed.: expletive]. My youthful vigor might have lacked wisdom, but I think there is much to be said for the vitality of passion over reason. But maybe that’s just me.

    • #23
    • September 4, 2010 at 8:51 am
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  24. Member

    Dave, I’ve sent you an email with my theories because I couldn’t keep the word count down. Basically I believe it boils down to unions demanding and getting concessions beyond the point companies could afford and government demanding and getting control beyond the point companies could comply with ending up squeezing most private business out of American service.

    Learned doctors have devoted years to this topic, I can barely string the ideas together. A proper study of the subject is the work of a lifetime. But even a glimpse can be rewarding for the opportunity to see both unions and government out of control to the point of destroying an entire industry.

    • #24
    • September 4, 2010 at 9:01 am
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  25. Inactive

    You see, you got yer Jews, and you got yer Moslems, and you got yer Genitals. And it was after the Moslems tried to blow up them Genitals, that Genitals decided they could pay an escort service to deliver a fella’s load. That is, if’n that fella had gone n’ lost his twick, or if he never had one of them dang things to begin with!

    Then them Genitals thought, “well shoot! if’n I gonna git me an escort service, I fancy I git me a non-union escort service, and make personable, sympathetic conversation beforehand, and keep it real classy like.”

    • #25
    • September 4, 2010 at 11:58 am
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  26. Inactive

    Mr. Carter, the connection between escorts for truckers and the genital theory post was just too strong for me to resist. Also, I had recently re-watched “The Big Lebowski”, with the great scene of the different kinds of bowlers in slow motion. It put your portrait of contemporary truck stop Americana in mind.

    • #26
    • September 5, 2010 at 2:43 am
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