The living, growing corporation is much like the living, growing biological organism. It ingests, it digests, it excretes and if it is successful and viable it will grow and even reproduce. And, like some organisms, the orifice that ingests is the same one it uses to excrete! For corporations the shipping/receiving departments are usually in the same place. The more evolved and developed corporations will eventually separate them for greater efficiency, but for the evolutionarily retarded corporations - like the one I work for - well, they chit where they eat! HAR HAR HAR! If the brains of the corporation is its management, and that brain is retarded as well - it invariably shows up in the shipping/receiving department. Call it Filthie's Law Of Corporate Orifices and be sure to credit me for the work in any of your own scholarly work you use it in... or my sleazy lawyers will pepper you with frivolous lawsuits and harassment!
Did somebody say "Lawsuit"?
Unlike management - running the shipping receiving department, even under the best circumstances - takes a worker that is dedicated, intelligent and capable. The shipper/receiver is an athlete, eidetic, clairvoyant, and patient. When you take a guy that is none of those things, pay him crap wages to do a job that requires all those qualities - you either get a psychotic or a burn out. If you add in enough stress and incompetence from the management you end up with a company that can't tell if it's eating or shitting and the corporate organism starts to shut down. As a kid I did shipping and receiving and drove a forklift. I stacked boxes in warehouses that didn't have enough room. I managed files that sales and admin people shuffled and mislaid every day. I've made order where there was chaos and been fired for it. I hated the work so much I upgraded my high school marks and went back to school just to get out of it. Sometimes I have nightmares about still working in those hellish sweat shops trying to save men that made 30 times what I did - from themselves. They had no idea what I did, the problems I had, and could care less.
Shipping and receiving is one of the most crucial jobs in the corporate world, but the brains of the Corporate Organism never seriously stops to consider it's bung - until it starts to burn and itch! Our company is like that. If we get anybody competent back there The Crack will fire them in weeks or months. Competence is a threat to incompetence and my boss knows that all too well. (He's been trying to fire me for the past 7 years). He's seriously hired homeless beardos, crack heads, crack whores, sexually disturbed lesbians, pooch screwing Marxist union flunkies, turd brains of every stripe and colour - and we have the shipping and receiving area to show for it. The corporate ram rods have been out from head office numerous times to sort out the ensuing chaos. Not that I'm any saint - I walked past that mess on the way to my office every day and steadfastly refused to get involved with it. Not. My. Job. No sireeeee!!!!!
Consider this perfect storm of capitalist incompetency: putting low paid, low IQ/low skill workers into a critical corporate role. Do the same with the overpaid mongrels in management. Add in the perfect storm of socialist stupidity: multiculturalism and societal vibrance! I was there the day that those evil forces converged and collided in my company, and I faired no better against them than The Crack did!
One day I just couldn't take it anymore. The path to my office was strewn with obstacles. Unopened packages coming in. Half assembled orders going out. Shop tools, parts, and even janitorial equipment was strewn in between that. Our last shipper/receiver actually had a triple digit IQ and had flipped The Crack off and quit. I shoulda just kept walking but my conscience nagged. Somebody had to try and clean this crap up or I was going to lose my mind. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. When the VP called and found me running the shipping department he was furious and told me to stop it and do my own job. I replied that I couldn't sell stuff if we didn't receive it and ship it out first - and told him to take it up with The Crack if he had a problem with it, or STFU and fire me. I smiled to myself after I transferred him over and heard the Crack whining about the labour market and wages. The VP was tearing him a new one and it was music to my ears. I went back to work.
At the end of the day I had things almost liveable. I was pretty smug with myself, too. The crap was off the floor, the orders to go out were boxed and set off to the side for the truckers to come in and grab, the paperwork was almost sorted out and the next day somebody else could be the Good Samaritan and deal with the shipments coming in. At least they would be able to move. Glen Filthie: Corporate Super Hero Extraordinaire!!!! Thank you! Thank you very much!!! No autographs!!!!!
According to Unca Bob the Ancient Greeks have mythical monsters dedicated to defeat Hubris, and mine walked through the door as I sat there basking in my own magnificence and accomplishment. I did a double take as this oddball UFO walked in. If the Nazis had their Perfect Humans in the form of the Aryan Super Race - this guy was the polar opposite liberal response.
He was so goddamned vibrant I didn't know what
race he was! He had the buck teeth of the stereotypical comic chinaman and thick glasses over slanty eyes. He had darkish yellowish skin that seemed smack-dab between black and yellow. I think he had an afro...He didn't mince words either.
"Quackquack quack, yakkity yakdonttalkback" he said.
"C'est ce f**k?" I replied in my best fwench.
So he starts jibbering and jabbering at the outgoing orders. Was he was a courier here to pick up...? "Are you from ABC Company?" I asked him...er...her...er...it? Yannow the more I looked at this thing the harder it was to tell what gender it was! A sexual hermaphrodite, perhaps? I'll be damned!
So the vibrant nods: yes, he's from ABC Company. Just to make sure..."So Devlin at ABC Company sent you to pick up his shipment? Devlin at the West Edmonton Mall job?" I ask. He nods. "Sign here," I says - and pass him the paperwork on a clip board. Taking the pen with his foot with an opposable thumb, he scratches what I assume to be a signature. Was this thing even human? A trans-sexual trans-human??? I looked up from the 'signature' to look the vibrant over again but he had taken his stuff and gone.
An artist's conception of the vibrant. Perhaps he was an illegal alien...
Not ten minutes later, Devlin from ABC walks in and says "Hey, Filthie! I see you've finally gotten that demotion you deserved so much, HAW HAW HAW!!! So...? Where's my stuff?" I did the face/palm thing. Such is the life of the shipper/receiver. I had just sent thousands of dollars of equipment out the door with some possibly extraterrestrial vibrant with no idea where it went. It could be headed out to the next solar system over for all I knew! The signature was unreadable. In addition, my customer was in a panic to lay hands on that material, and we would have to re-do the order to get him out the door in a timely fashion. If this went bad, I had just cost the company northwards of $30,000.00!
When I explained that the perp might be working at the same job Devlin was on he gets on the phone to Sean at DEF Inc. "Let me see if we can't straighten this out Filthie....Oh hello, Sean! Are you still beating your wife and kids? Good good good - say, did you send one of your clippers or wogs over to Filthie's to pick up some bolting tools? " he covers the mouthpiece and turns to me. " Was it Ickydicky Xpong from DEF that picked up?" I looked at the signature I had...I think it was written in Klingon..."Possibly..." I said.
A few more minutes and enquiries proved that I had lucked out. Devlin picked up the stuff for Sean at DEF, took it out to the job site they were both working at, swapped orders and all was well. Sometimes the good guys do win. A lot of times they don't - and that is something to remember for those of us with good jobs as we look down our nose at those that don't. I threw in the towel and bolted from the shipping and receiving area like a scalded jackrabbit.
It's Christmas. When you're out at lunch, leave a few bucks more on the tip than you usually do for the waitress. If you're in visiting clients make sure you spare a compliment and some consideration for the clericals, shop and support guys. They do thankless jobs with crappy pay and those that do them well deserve all the care, consideration and respect that we can give them. The gods and demons of Hubris are not to be taken lightly. It's been my experience that it pays to appease them with humility and respect if possible.
And please Lord, may I never have to work in shipping and receiving again.