Does Civility Have to be a Rule?


Am I just “get off my lawn” old? Deb LaBree was posting the rules for the Women in Trucking face book page. One of the rules that Deb posted required civility. Sadly, I understand why the rule is needed. I just don’t like the idea that it has to be.


Civility does not belong to any side of any debate. It does not matter what the debate is about. Incivility is a problem. The fact that you disagree with me does not make you a (insert word insulting choice here). Many of the words chosen, I won’t use. Shoot, disagreeing with me does not even mean you are wrong. It means that we disagree. I would like to hear why you think the way that you do. Hopefully, you want to know why I think the way that I do.


There are some old school ways that we need to relearn. Simple courtesy is one of them. Appreciation, and saying things like please and thank you, go a long way to getting the job done. There are times when I have a trailer that is not as clean as I would like it to be when I show up at a customer. It may have been a dropped trailer that there was no safe and or practical way to sweep out between where I picked it up and where I am loading my next load. When I get there my line is fairly standard. “Would you mind if I swept it out before you load it.” It works.


Yes, I have been insulted by shipping or receiving personnel. No, I don’t like it. No, I don’t respond in kind. Most of the time, I just politely respond once. If that does not work, I usually just keep my mouth shut and get the job done. If the behavior continues, I will say something to my company. I have gone over their heads a time or two to complain about my treatment. In my 30 years, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have done this.


One of my “fondest” memories was at a consignee who had 7 doors. There were 2 drivers there and I was the second one. The receiver told us to back into one of the first 4 doors. They weren’t numbered. The first driver did exactly what I would have done. He backed into the middle one. I am not sure about you, but sometimes I feel as if whichever side that I would have backed into would have been the wrong one. So, I walked back in and asked the receiver which way they count from. He said “From the left – you moron. Shoot, if he had just said from the left I would have been OK. I just walked out and backed into the 3rd door. There are times when a solid belief in karma keeps me from responding.







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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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