Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where's My Package?

by Drew McClellen

“What the hell were you thinking putting the box at the front door? Someone could have easily walked up and stolen the package! Next time take it around back and put it by that door” said one of the customers I was delivering a package to. While walking up to the door to deliver a package the UPS worker doesn’t know what to expect from the customer when they deliver the package. People who work for UPS have interactions with many of the people who order the packages. These people range from being approachable and neighborly to being unpleasant and unsociable to nonexistent. Many of the people who get packages are regulars and the UPS worker knows what to expect, but some aren’t and it keeps them on their toes. The UPS worker will knock after delivering the package and some people with answer while others won’t come to the door. When working as a UPS man, I dealt with five types of customers.

The first type of customer I will talk about is friends. Not necessarily people you know, but people that are kind and sociable. These people will be the first to come out and ask you if you need help carrying a heavy package or will answer the door and have a nice conversation with you for 5 minutes. I was working with Scott when we had to carry an enormous, awkward sized box up a hill. We didn’t get half way up the hill before the owner of the house opened the garage door and yelled to us, “Need some help? Let me grab this end of the box.” After we all struggled up the hill with the box we talked to the guy for 5 minutes about UPS and how busy we were because it was Christmas time. Another example of this type of customer is a house that had a mini tree full of candy by their door that said, “Take one! Merry Christmas!” They make sure the tree is fully stocked at the beginning of each day so UPS, USPS, and FedEx drivers can all have some candy.

The next customer I will discuss is quite different and not as nice as the first. I never realized how important the placement of the package was until I experienced the second kind of customer, the grouches. This type of customer will come outside right when you get there and tell you where to put the package after you already set it down and sometimes even call the UPS store to complain about where the package was left. My first experience with a grouch was when I walked up to a house that had three doors I could have put the package in front of. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong door. When I went to place the package in front of the closest door I hear another door open and the lady yell, “That is not the door I want you to take the packages to! I have already told you I want the packages to go to this door.” The only thing to do in these circumstances is apologize and move the package to the door they want it at.

The third customers I experience are anxious children who peer out the window just waiting for the UPS man to walk up to their door with a package. These customers will usually open the door run out and grab the package and then are too shy to say anything, but “Thank you!” My favorite memory of this type of customer was when I was walking up to the house and could see two kid’s heads peering out the window watching me as I walked all the way to their front door. When I knocked, they ran to the door and took the packages and said, “Wait here!” They then brought me a Walmart sack full of snacks. In this bag was chips, a juice box, and a half-eaten granola bar. Other times the kids will watch me walk all the way up to the door looking excited and then when I get there they get too nervous to answer. If this happens I just leave the box at the door and when I start to walk away they run out and grab the box then run back in.

The interactions had with the next type of customers aren’t really interactions at all. I would consider these customers ghosts. They order copious amounts of items, but are never there to receive them. One type of this customer has items delivered daily, but are never around. One of the regular stops I had was this person’s ginormous garage where I would stop daily to deliver and pick up packages. I had never seen the person who owned the garage even after weeks of delivering. Another certain type of this “ghost” would be the ones who order items that need a signature, but aren’t around to sign it. They may call the UPS store and wonder why they didn’t receive their package or they may tell the UPS store a certain time they will be home the following day, but surprisingly enough not be there. UPS will go to the customers house three times to deliver the package that requires a signature, but after the third time the person will have to go to the store to pick it up. The experience I had with this customer was that we went to their house two times and they weren’t there. Later in the day they called and said they would be home at a certain time the next day. We made the stop the next day and they weren’t there and were then upset that they had to go pick up the package from the store. They called the UPS store and said “Where’s my package? It was supposed to be delivered today. This is ridiculous.” making it sound like it was UPS’s fault they didn’t have their package with them.

The last type of customers I experience are grumpy store workers. Every day, UPS driver’s stop at certain businesses like the college, Tractor Supplies, and Menards. The driver will either knock or ring a bell and then wait for the manager to come open the door. Sometimes, when I knock on the door or ring the bell for the person to let me in to deliver packages they take 5 to 10 minutes. This may not seem like a lot, but with 250 plus stops a day the time adds up. Then when they get there they are in a bad mood and act annoyed that I am delivering packages to them. One time I rang the doorbell to this business three different times in a 10-minute span before the person came to the door. When they did come to the door they were pissed and said, “I heard you the first time. I can’t be everywhere at once.” Then rudely asked how many packages there were while sighing and acting like she had more important things to do. I experienced this same result with this lady every time I went and delivered packages to the company she was working for.  

UPS workers experience many different people while on the job from getting yelled at for placing the package in the wrong spot to being thanked with candy and food. Some are very nice and friendly while others are not. These different kinds of people are both easy and hard to work with. After working with UPS for a long time, you will have seen almost all of these types of customers and will know what to expect from each one.  Every UPS worker has different stories about the different kinds of people they interact with on a regular basis. UPS driver’s do more communicating on the job than people think. They have to have the mentality that the customer is always right and try to please them as best they can.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It Can't Happen to Me

 by Tracy McCants

IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME, is an understatement in today’s society.  Tupac Shakur wrote a song titled, You Could be Touched.   He used different terminology, but he was saying the same thing.

The basis of this editorial is to awaken our communities, societies, and the innocent victims of careless acts of violence.  We as a people must remain alert when traveling from city to city, state to state or visiting abroad.

My brothers and sisters, do away with the IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME attitude.  In today’s society realize that anyone CAN BE TOUCHED by violence.  While on vacation anywhere in the world, realize an act of ignorance or terrorism is possible any place, anywhere, and at any time.

My people home and abroad:  Prepare and stay aware.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dust Clouds at Recess

by Loren Lealiiee

“LOREN! LOREN! LOREN! TYLER SAID THAT I WAS FAAAAAAT!” Lexa wails while running towards me like I’m one of those football mats linemen clash into in practice. She buries her sweaty forehead into my favorite cotton candy pink T shirt that says ‘spoiled’, which made me feel like a bad ass 3rd grader every time I wore it to school. 

All the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders gawk at my twin sister weeping on my uneven chest, probably dazed at the idea that it looked as if I was crying on my own chest due to the fact that my mom thought it was adorable to dress the both of us exactly the same from head to toe.” OHH YOU GIRLS LOOK SO CUTE, LETS TAKE A QUICK PICTURE!” This was a redundant routine before leaving the house for school. My mom was the mom that always arrived at the PTA meetings 10 minutes late with a pressed white blouse paired with straight legged black slacks while ‘click clacking’ her way to an open seat in her six-inch stilettos; putting the other moms with shaggy static hair dressed in sweats to shame. With her Revlon “Certainly Red” lipstick she would shock the other moms in her participation and her grace, outshining everyone in the room.

That day my mom dressed us in our ‘spoiled’ T shirt that was paired with light wash flare jeans with shimmery rhinestones on the front pockets and no pockets present in the back. We stomped in our women’s size 6, dungy white Reebok’s from blazing through the pebble dust at Recess. Our hair was wrapped tight in a ballerina bun with a pink scrunchy to keep our kinky curls from revealing themselves to the other straight, frizz free hair from our other classmates.

My face automatically starts to glow hot hearing my sister sound like she’s about to throw up but holding it back with awkward jerks in-between and tears streaming down her face. I start to rub her back, feeling the weird bumps as my hand moves in a circular motion.

“What happened?” I growled under my breath quietly.

Lexa all of a sudden has a pause in her weeping in shock of how angry I sounded and then presses play in her bawling.

“I was in Art class and and and I dropped all my colored pencils…” she takes a deep breath and continues. “And so I bent over to clean dem off da floor..and den..and den while I was bent over, all I hear is Tyler scream ‘WEXA HAS A FAT HIPPO BUTT!’ Den everyone in the whole entire class started to laugh at me!” By this point, she couldn’t even breathe or talk right with clear and gooey snot dripping down her nose.

I squeezed my sister tight just like mommy would do if she was here, with her ballerina bun smashed into my nose smelling like pink lotion and vanilla aerosol her teacher always doused her room in.
I need to take matters into my own hands, I thought to myself. Now I need to actually pull out the guns that have been hiding behind my Justice jean jacket I’d wear when it got chilly in the classroom; enough is enough. “Shh Shh, it’s okay Lexa, I’ll make sure to take care of this..and him.” I declared as if I was in a dramatic action movie seeking revenge.

After the crying fest held in the middle of the cafeteria, I was on a mission to meet Tyler by the blue chipped monkey bars that smelled of rust at recess. My steps turn into trudges towards the playground with Lexa trailing right behind me, anxious to see what I was going to do. I peep through the bared jail gate that separated the school building from the area of fun and laughter and spotted Tyler hugged next to his twin brother Hayden.

They were getting ready to play tag with their group of friends who were known as the Pokemon fanatics of the third grade. They would rock musty and faded t shirts everyday with different Pokemon characters with matching Pokemon light up shoes that blinked with every stride that always followed a screech of “PEEE-KAA-CHOOOOOOOOO!!!” I never understood it and just assumed it was from the show. I gripped the jail bared gate and glared at Tyler who was having a ball playing with his friends and it pissed me off seeing him smile. “You’re smiling now but not for long.” I huffed under my breath. As soon as the game of tag was over, I put on a sinister smile and skipped my way to Tyler and Hayden like nothing was wrong. 

As I got closer to the brothers, I started to notice the differences between the two. Hayden was finger pinches taller than Tyler. He had a peachy tan under tone that gave him a little more color than Tyler. He had a straight and bright smile that was warm and welcoming, the kind of kid that goes to the new kid to make them feel more welcome. His eyes were as blue as blue jay feathers, a mix of a deep and light blue. He didn’t really get into any trouble and was always stuck to his teacher’s hip. Tyler was more bleached out than his brother, having a rounded back like Quasimodo in Hunchback of Norte Dame. His smile was slightly slanted and his eyes were closer to the match of murky lake water that was almost blue. Tyler would screech his new-found slur words while galloping down the kindergarten hallway that always caused a ruckus of 4-5-year old’s hallowing the unknown words coming from the upper-class man which landed him more stuck to the hip of the principal. Hayden was already starting to wave and say hello to me with a smile ear to ear and Tyler started to get shifty eyed when we saw Lexa on my hip still wiping some tears off her face. 

“Hey Loren! Hey Lexa! Say, what’s the matter Lexa?” Hayden exclaimed. 

“Hey Hayden! Tyler…well that’s what I wanted to talk to Tyler about. Can we go over there and talk please?” I pointed towards an open field with just patches of dead grass.

“Yeah..okay..Hayden is coming with me though.” Tyler mumbled.

As we trot towards the field, the sun is slapping the back of my neck with the “clicccccck” sound of that one bird that is only out when it’s scorching outside. We’re getting closer to the field and I’m starting to pump my head up to beat the sh*t out of this dude for making my sister cry. “Who does he think he is?!” I grunt to myself in my head. “Someone wanting to get a beat down!” I answer back to myself. “but what do I do when I punch him…? LEAVE HIS SORRY ASS ON THE GROUND!” 

As I’m battling with myself the thoughts rushing through my head. I twist and pull my fingers and flap my neck side to side, getting myself physically ready to dismantle the crap out of Tyler. At this point, there is a huge knot in my stomach that is on fire. The knot was rage from seeing Lexa cry so hard but also fear of the consequences of if I do decide to destroy Tyler.  Both Lexa and I were known as the” angels” the teachers and principal could count on for anything. “Your girls are always so respectful and are such ideal students!” our teachers would praise at the parent teacher conferences. We had stickers on top of all our assignments and an innocent smile that would never go away. 

Yet at this moment, I was so apt to unleashing this rowdy character that the anger brought upon me so that no one would ever dare try to mess with my sister or me again. I look over and see Tyler trembling with every step he took and kept his eyes glued to the ground and his muddy Pokemon shoes. My good girl mentality starts to kick back in and I’m questioning whether I really need to punch the crap out of Tyler to get my point across, was it worth it? Will this mean that I’m going to hold the new title of the school bully? Am I ready to turn into the badass 3rd grader that only wears black and antagonize kids at recess rather than actually run around care free? BUT I have to teach him and others a lesson to not take us as a joke. But am I up for this career change so quickly? We reach the dusty and dry field, my fist are clinched and I notice that Tyler’s eyes started to water.

“SO TYLER..”  I shout with my chest puffed out. “I…”

“WEXA! I SO SOWY DAT I SAID YOU WAS A FAT HIPPO BUTT!” Tyler wept out before I could even finish my sentence. “I I I…I don’t mean to make you sad and cry, I just..was twying to be mean to you so you never know that I wish I was as fun and have imagine like you in art class.” Tyler mumbled with tears coming down his face.

Immediately, Lexa steps from behind me to reach out and grab Tyler’s arm as he is sniffling and wiping his face with his other arm. A glint of reassurance glimmered in Tyler’s eyes as he starts to tug Lexa away from the field and towards the playground. They shuffle all the way back to the dusty floor of pebbles, ultimately climbing on to the blue chipped monkey bars together.