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Fuel for Thought

A Monkey Could Be Trained To Drive A Truck, It Is So Easy

By Greg Huggins
Posted Jan 25th 2019 9:33AM

“A monkey could be trained to drive a truck, it is so easy.”

Before you decide to shoot the messenger, the statement above is NOT my sentiment.

Recently, while standing in the small office of shipping/receiving with the customer signing my paperwork, in walks a couple of drivers and they apparently were regulars to this facility. While we (the customer and I) were conducting business, these drivers just started talking loudly about all sorts of non-business topics. This was when I overheard the “trained monkey driver” comment from one of them. I can’t say how much experience these drivers had driving a truck, but they were not young people, probably late 50’s to early 60’s in age.

I take my job seriously, there is a time and a place for horseplay, this was neither, this was a place of business. After I questioned “monkeyman” about his comments, he tried to back peddle a bit, and the shipping manager was following the new conversation intently.

How are we supposed to improve the image of truck drivers when this is the impression we give the customer?

If you don’t see the value in the service you provide, how can you expect the customer to see your value?

After a brief conversation with “monkeyman”, he relented. The shipping manager could see and hear the difference between myself, a professional driver, and one of his regular “monkeyman” drivers. While I could’ve just walked away from the comments and distanced myself from them, I felt compelled to dispel the “monkeyman” image of not only myself, but many other drivers, as the professionals we are and the seriousness with which we run our businesses. Leaving his comments out there without rebuttal, would be a silent agreement with him.

Visit just about any truck stop lunch counter and you can hear these types of comments and many, many more absurd stories. While they have become commonplace in truck stops, that doesn’t make them a good image builder there either, but at a customer’s facility, these words should NEVER be uttered.

When you think about the “french fry” guy or the cashier at a fast food place, many get the image of unskilled labor. A short while ago, there was a shake up in the fast food industry as the workers demanded higher wages. Do you remember how that turned out? You can now find kiosks in many of theses places for “self service”. When the image and the attitudes are poor, yet the demand for higher wages exist, businesses will find a solution to stay profitable. Kiosks and self service costs less than “unskilled” labor with high demands. Do you think anyone has ever uttered the words “ A trained monkey could make french fries”? Maybe.

The trucking industry has had a black eye for many years. The truck driver of years ago are slowly going away, yet the stigma remains.

If we do not actively try to combat the false image we have in the eyes of the public, who will?

As for my customer where I encountered “monkeyman”, we parted ways on a good note. He asked when I would be returning for another load. I was loaded and gone while “monkeyman” was still scratching his head on the docks.

See you down the road,



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