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March 29, 2005


"You got it! I should be done today."

Famous last words, and I do mean last. I was recently forced to ship unusable plastic product to the end of the line, the final destination, the last ditch option (*Note: The name Mary means: ‘Last Ditch Effort’ in ancient England) - the landfill. A single tear streaked my face as the last of the trucks pulled out of our yard - but I was not lamenting over the waste I had just shipped, I was crying over the catastrophe that resembled a routine non-hazardous waste remediation project. Let's start from... well... the start.

I had approximately 250 tons of unusable product, and I wanted it disposed of. So I started phoning around looking for the best rates. Eventually I found what I was looking for. The disposal and freight was bundled into one tight little package that was simply irresistible. After a pleasant bout of planning (and further pricing pressures) I booked them. The date for the first run eventually arrived. It was a cold (and foggy?) Canadian day; one of those days where suicide seemed like an option when you considered leaving your warm bed. I did drag myself out and slugged off to work. As per my morning I was completely incoherent. I fell into my chair and stared at my computer wondering how I managed to get there in the first place, when logistics called.

"You have a truck here to pick up garbage."

At first I was pleasantly surprised and was thinking 'What an excellent company, affordable and on time.' Then the fun began:

"You have another truck here to pick up garbage."

Okay, two trucks lined up outside is manageable, and slightly convenient. I might clear my garbage out before the end of the week.

"You have another truck pulling in now. How many trucks did you book?"

I only booked one. And by the time I reached the logistics office there were four in the yard. I cringed as I walked past my boss’s office. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him rubbing his forehead considering my employment. It turned out there were seven booked by the waste company that day. And when your company has over 30 docks an extra seven vehicles in the yard do what they do best: screw the schedule.

The next time I booked a truck nothing showed up. The time after that the truck mysteriously appeared a few minutes after I put down the phone. My luck with logistics has been similar to any mentionable super villain with an island fortress: The hero always seems to find the 'forgotten drain-pipe’ that opens into the main control room.

And Remember: Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.


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