I had a new experience yesterday. I had a commercial shipper, one that I had never heard of or worked with before, demand that I meet them at a very busy truck stop right off of I-24 to pick up a horse – at midnight no less. For what seem to be extremely obvious reasons (at least to me) I said no.
There is a lot wrong with this scenario. First of all someone from the office of this company had called me last week and asked if I would be willing to do this. I told them absolutely not, under no circumstances would I be unloading and reloading a horse I had never seen nor handled at a busy truck stop right off the interstate late at night. I thought the matter was settled. I also relayed to the horse’s owner that the company had asked me to do this and for safety reasons I told them no. She thanked me profusely for looking out for her horse and we all thought that was the end of that stupid request. This did make me curious about the company in question though so I looked them up on the internet. I was surprised to see that they keep a fleet of three semi’s on the road, so not exactly the next door neighbor with a horse trailer.
Fast forward to yesterday. I’m feeding dinner to my last group of horses when my cell phone rings. I don’t normally keep the phone with me but when I have a horse en route I always do. I recognized the area code on the number from the shipper’s prior call. Silly me answers the phone thinking I will be getting an arrival time for the horse.
The phone call starts off with “so you’re meeting us at X truck stop correct?” I said no, that I had told whomever called me last week that I would not be meeting them at the truck stop. They got very difficult with me and said “well, how are we supposed to get to you?” This question confused me so much I asked the person to repeat it. “How are we supposed to drive to your farm?” They really said this!!
I said “by driving on the interstate and then driving one mile off the interstate.” Then I hear “but it will be dark, how will we find your driveway?” I tell them that many other shippers have found our driveway just fine, even in the dark. Then I get “but we’re in a full sized semi” and I tell them that full sized semis come here routinely. This person finally writes down directions and says they will be here between 11pm and midnight.
10 minutes later another phone call. “I spoke with my boss and they said we cannot come to your farm because it will put the truck too far behind schedule.” I told them again that I would not be meeting them at a truck stop or anywhere else but my farm and that was that. The person then tells me “you are making this very difficult” and I said I didn’t see it that way and that I would seem them when they got here.
10 minutes later ANOTHER phone call: “I spoke with my boss again and he told me to tell you that the only way you would be receiving the horse would be to meet us at the truck stop.” I do not respond well to threats in case you are wondering. I only wish they had tried that line on Jason!!
I told them if that was the case then it seemed the horse would be staying on the truck with them to wherever they were going. This seemed to be the safer option for him than being unloaded at a BUSY truck stop at MIDNIGHT. I then said “please don’t tell me you do this regularly, dropping horses off at truck stops. That is bad enough, but not even telling the owner that is your plan, well that is even worse.” We then called the owner and relayed all of this to her. To say she was frantic with worry about her horse and extremely upset would be an understatement.
Finally after calling me three times and then the owner calling them and going ballistic they extremely reluctantly agreed to bring the horse to the farm. I was told again I was going to “put them behind schedule” and was “being difficult.” I said I saw nothing “difficult” about looking out for the safety of the horse and myself.
The horse did arrive here safe and sound and in good shape. They did bring him to the farm. The drivers were actually quite pleasant once they arrived which confirms my feelings all along that they were simply following orders from the owner of the company.
So to anyone reading this who is wondering if I will pick your horse up at a truck stop at midnight, or any other time of the day, the answer is NO. The above story is exactly why I have a list of shippers that I recommend depending on the area where the horse will be coming from. I know these shippers, they have been here many times and they always do a great job. They communicate, they take good care of the horses, they show up as expected and they don’t ask me to meet them at midnight at a truck stop to pick up a horse that I don’t even own.
I posted this story on a horse forum that I read and I must say SmartAlex, a fellow blogger whose blogs I read, had the best comment in response to this mess: “Hi, this is your moving company… could you meet us at the truck stop to get your houseload of furniture?”
Dutch and Boo running through the pasture along with Bella the dog
Maisie grazing while MyLight was hanging out
Romeo and Winston
Gus and Asterik grooming each other
Norman and Traveller
Lexi, Cinnamon and Sky
Gus, Winston, Chimano, Romeo, Sebastian and Asterik (and Bella the dog – again!)