Saturday, January 18, 2014

Watch It!

Recently, my employer implemented a new policy where all employees are required to have a spotter when backing agency vehicles.

There's a logic to this: namely, that some employees (like most human beings) are not actually competent to operate heavy equipment, and have been running over things that were left in their path that were not easily seen when backing up. Material piles, I'm guessing. Coworkers. Things like that.

The thing is, this blanket policy makes sense for employees whose job involves operating heavy equipment, but perhaps not so much for desk-job employees whose interaction with fleet vehicles never goes beyond taking a trip in a Toyota Prius.

Nothing inspires public confidence in an agency like the sight of an employee using a professional flagger to back a sub-compact out of a gas station parking lot.

Another method of putting greater ownership on employees has been the implementation of an inspection sheet, similar to the ones that you ignore from the rental car company, which come back to bite you in the ass when it turns out your Taurus had chocolate sauce stains in the glove compartment.

I resent these. We pick up an agency car from the agency shop, which, as I understand it, is almost entirely staffed by mechanics. So I fail to see why I have to test the horn, lights, brakes, and fluid levels. On my most recent trip to South Padre Island, I walked back into the shop as soon as I started up the engine. "The 'low tire pressure' warning light is on," I told them.

"Do the tires actually look low?" they asked me.

"I'm not really sure," I said. I mean, they didn't look flat. But what do I know?

They sighed. "It's cold out, that's all," they told me. "Once you start driving and the tires warm up, the light will go off. Of course, we can take a look at it, if you're really worried."

They looked at me. They were eating lunch. "I guess it will be fine," I said.

It never did go off, but at least I made it to South Padre and back without a blowout.

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