Still Not Truckin’

Looks like I got it right:

Shortage of truckers is stifling the economy.

Recruiters that show up daily at TDDS are offering jobs that pay $60,000 to $70,000, with full benefits and a $4,000 signing bonus.

I suggested in my earlier post that this would leave the door open to illegal aliens being hired for trucking jobs by desperate trucking firms, but I think that we’re missing an opportunity here.  Why not invite foreigners to do the jobs, on the equivalent of an H1-B visa, i.e. a temporary work permit?  But I don’t mean just anyone:  I’m thinking Eastern Europeans, specifically Poles, who are already doing a lot of long-haul truck-driving in the EU.

Discuss in Comments.

Skirting The Rules

So what to do when you’re working outside in sweltering temperatures, but the ‘Elf & Safety regulations forbid wearing short pants?  You find a way around the rules:

The brickies — who were working in Chertsey, Surrey — were horrified by new health and safety rules forbidding shorts. But when they realised they could get around the ban by wearing women’s clothing thanks to gender equality regulations, they showed up for work in skirts and frocks.  [emphasis added]

And because this story would be no good wifout pichurs:

I love stories like this.  Fuck the bureaucrats.

Except That Icky Gun Stuff

Last week I got this email message from CitiBank telling me all about the wonderful new benefits of using their little credit card. Here are the salient areas I want to talk about (and note the emphasized parts):

  • Damage & Theft Purchase Protection:   You may be covered for up to $10,000 per incident for 90 days from the date of purchase or delivery of the item purchased with your card. Please note, coverage provided by this benefit will be secondary (meaning if you have another insurance policy, this benefit will cover only the amount your other policies do not). Coverage won’t include firearms, ammunition, jewelry, watches, tires or items that are under the care and control of a third party including, but not limited to, the U.S. Postal Service, airlines, or delivery services.
  • Citi Price Rewind:  You may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $200 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Program coverage won’t include consumables, tires, watches, firearms, or ammunition. You won’t be reimbursed if the lower priced item is found at a warehouse club where the merchant requires a membership fee.
  • 90 Day Return Protection:  You may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Program coverage won’t include firearms, ammunition, tires, jewelry, furniture or appliances.

All these wonderful benefits will be mine after June 29 — which is kind of ironic because that’s the date I intend to cut up and cancel the card, after paying off the final balance.

And what does that final balance include, you may ask?  Just the renewal fee for my annual membership at DFW Shooting Range.

(Not) Truckin’

A couple weeks ago, I gave a ride to a guy in the trucking business — he was the Area VP of Operations of a large firm — and he told me that they can’t find drivers to handle just the local deliveries (stores, restaurants etc), never mind the long haul stuff.  And this in an area where a driver gets a starting salary of $60,000 plus serious benefits, after company-sponsored training and licensing.  As I recall, he said they need about 1,800 drivers, and so far had managed to get… 40 (forty).

That, folks, is a serious labor shortage, and his company isn’t the only one with this problem.

Shipping costs have skyrocketed in the United States in 2018, one of the clearest signs yet of a strong economy that might be starting to overheat. Higher transportation costs are beginning to cause prices of anything that spends time on a truck to rise. Amazon, for example, just implemented a 20 percent hike for its Prime program that delivers goods to customers in two days, and General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and Betty Crocker, said prices of some of its cereals and snacks are going up because of an “unprecedented” rise in freight costs. Tyson Foods, a large meat seller, and John Deere, a farm and construction equipment, also recently announced they will increase prices, blaming higher shipping costs.

And here, in a nutshell, is why the illegal immigrants keep flooding over the border.  Business owners (not just truckers) are facing a series of rock/hard place situations, and foreign-born workers (mostly illegal) are in many cases the only solution.  I don’t agree with what they’re doing in principle, but as a former employer myself, I can understand their actions.  Stuff’s gotta move, and nobody’s interested in the “how”.

Business Opportunity

Watching Starbucks digging itself ever deeper into the Pit Of Social Justice, I can’t help thinking that there’s an answer to all of this idiocy:

Yup, these guys are all over Europe and Britain, and are expanding into the Far East. Here’s one outlet in the Philippines (despite the red phone booth):

…but they’re all over the place:

That one’s in Prague, despite the English signage.

I encountered them last year in Britishland — remember, it had been nigh on fifteen years since I’d been Over There before, and as I recall, Costa was still a small presence back then. Now, of course, they’re pretty much ubiquitous, whether in malls, stations, on High Street and in service stations (thanks to a pretty nifty dispenser which gives you almost a dozen options).

Best of all, Costa’s offering isn’t at all like the hyper-pretentious nonsense from Starbucks — their sizes are Small, Medium and Large, for one thing — and best of all, their coffee is damn good (also unlike that of Starbucks). Because I’m a wussy, I drink their “Americano” (diluted espresso) whereas Mr. Free Market gets the super-strong unsweetened because he’s a manly man (and no sarcasm intended, either; I tried drinking his choice once, and had to quit after half a cup because hallucinations).

People think that Costa isn’t Over Here because of the strength of the competition (Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Caribou and what have you), and that’s a fair point: Costa came into the U.K., for example, when there were relatively few Starbucks outlets around and most Brits were still drinking instant coffee [pause to be sick], so their entry into the market wasn’t too difficult. In fact, I think they succeeded where Starbucks failed: to turn Britain from a tea culture into a coffee culture.

However, I still think Costa could make it here. Their menu is more Starbucks than Dunkin’ Donuts, but cheaper and (of course) less pretentious and self-conscious. Ordinary people like you and me go to Costa and drink coffee, as opposed to the hipster-yuppie-soccermom filth who prefer to pay too much for their triple-chocolate-low-fat-soymilk-double-decaf lattes. (I’m not making that last one up, either. I think the cost was $7.50 for a “small”, probably because of the labor cost involved in just making the stupid thing.)

It’s time there was a decent alternative to the Scum From Seattle anyway, and seeing as it’s not going to come from Greggs (more’s the pity), it should be Costa. As long as they don’t turn their outlets into shelters for the homeless.

Babes And Sucklings? Fuck ‘Em

One of the most irritating and destructive Biblical statements is that innocence breeds strength — “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings…” etc. No. What you get out of the mouths of babes and sucklings is meaningless, uninformed babble at best, and sociopathic speech at worst.

As Loyal Readers know, I don’t have a FaecesBook account, so I don’t really have a personal dog in the current fight about how Zuckerberg’s little toy has been turned into an open-top mine of personal data for others to play with. (Click on that link at yer own risk: I nearly had a coronary when I read it.)

All I have to say is: this is the kind of thing you get when teenagers create multi-billion dollar companies without adult supervision:

They don’t have a fucking clue what they’re getting into, or the eventual consequences of their actions. (Or they do, and they’re amoral little fuckers like Mark Zuckerberg.)

And speaking of kids with guns: the day I support the idea that callow adolescents (like these children) get to dictate public policy and Constitutional amendments, is the day y’all need to ship me off to Senility Central. You have my full permission, given in advance.