Threatened by Trucking Bureaucrat

Dallas, Texas

“I’m calling security,” the bureaucrat said, an indoor guy, an imposing man, even sitting on his plastic chair next to the small table.

“Are you serious?” I said feeling my face crinkle in disbelief, pulling my official badge for the Dallas, Texas trucking trade show out of my purse to show him. “I have a question.”

Absolutely serious. It seems Tony Schafer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the representative from Washington, D.C. manning the regulator’s booth at the trade show, doesn’t joke when he is confronted by a middle-aged, partially gray-haired, 145-pound woman who is, good grief, NOT wearing her convention-issue, name badge.

“Put it on your shirt or your sweater,” he presses me, opening his cellphone. “Or I’m calling security.”

He told me I’m supposed to wear the badge on the trade show floor.

The badge is not ID. Organizers hope you use your real name, but there’s no enforcement, I could use Minnie Mouse. The badge allows vendors to collect contact information to pursue sales. There is no requirement to wear it, even though we’re like lemmings, automatically making holes in our clothes because the show didn’t provide lanyards.  And, if Tony wants to worry about something in Texas, he should worry more about concealed weapons than a concealed name badge since the state extends the courtesy to 19 other states.

Although one exhibitor did use a gun analogy to explain how to load steel coils on a flatbed trailer “shotgun or suicide” style. “You know how a gun works,” he asked. Ahh, no we don’t know, we grew up in Canada, we said several times before he tried another explanation.

On the many times I entered the trade show floor, I pulled my badge out of my purse for security and was greeted with a “thank you, ma’am. Have a nice day.”

Not one vendor refused to talk to me because I wasn’t wearing a badge.

This poor behavior by an employee-of-the-people is an example of why truckers, almost universally hate government, its regulators and its regulations.

The FMCSA, the regulatory body governing trucking and drivers, which strikes fear in the heart of most because of its impact on our ability to earn a living, is our employee. Tax-paying truck drivers pay this man’s salary, support his family, provide him with a pension and Cadillac-health care, which most truck drivers don’t enjoy, as well as his travel to Dallas, his hotel stay, car rental and meals, to be available to truck drivers to answer questions and get feedback for the FMCSA on the game-changing effects of Hours Of Service rules which are under review.

This disheartening encounter is yet, another, example of government run amok. It is more proof, as if we needed more, that the institutional, ivory tower attitude toward us, outside the beltway, who are the economy, who work and spend, prevails.

Those who have accepted the responsibility, politicians and regulators, of charting the way forward, are not interested in listening. With 25 million Americans, unemployed or underemployed that is a tragedy.

8 thoughts on “Threatened by Trucking Bureaucrat

  1. I have NEVER worn my name badge in over 7 years of attending truck shows – I don't like the way they look, and I certainly don't want to put holes in my clothes. I don't even wear them with a lanyard. Mostly, I think, because I don't like to be told what to do. But what exactly were you planning on asking him? Were you at all confrontational? Why would he act that way? These people get a little too high and mighty. Just as you said – without us, he has no job OR trade show to go to.

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  2. That was not my intention, I wasn't and I didn't get a chance to be confrontational. He started with the badge thing as soon as I walked up to his table. I said I have a question. I wanted to find out if anyone in their office is tracking the diminishing truck parking in the country — which I doubt — and how that relates to the ability of truck drivers to honor the Hours of Service rules. The proposed rules will put more drivers in truck stops for longer periods of times with the extension of the 34-hour break to reset driving hours. Where will drivers stay? Last night the Dallas TA South parking lot was full at 2100 and it costs $15 to stay overnight.It's unfair of the FMCSA to change the rules when there is a shrinking pool of places to comply, safely with the rules.

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  3. I always get name tags for trade shows under either:Holden Mia Johnson orCraven MarcuchiIt's always brings a smile to my face when some sales guy or gal says "Hello Holden Johnson." It would be even better if it happened to be some government flunky

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  4. Oh man, I burst out laughing … security? really? But now, the question remains, did your poor shirt get a hole in it after all? Or did security drag you away kicking and screaming 🙂

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  5. I walked away. What's the point of arguing? Why deal with someone like this? It's not like I'd get a real answer to my question. This petty bureaucrat is a symptom of the power and incompetence that has made a mess of our economy.And it's interesting to note that earlier we talked to a supervisor from the Texas State Police – we were sans ID badge – who was friendly and helpful, although he couldn't answer our question, and never asked about the badge. Who says there's no drama at the truck show?

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  6. Give someone a bit of authority! Surprised to read that you didn't know about guns because you grew up in Canada. I have some Canadian friends that always brag about the great hunting and fishing back home.

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  7. My grandfather hunted for food. He was a homesteader in Northern Alberta. I've eaten his moose steaks and deer meat.And while the comment was a little exaggeration for humor, I find it to be a generally true cultural difference between Canadians and Americans.In cultural terms, knowledge about guns are to America, what hockey is to Canada. I am not a hockey fan and I am not interested in hockey. My father and brothers were not interested in hockey, neither is my husband, but because I grew up in Canada I know a lot about hockey. I can hold a reasonable discussion about hockey. I picked it up by osmosis, just being there.As a city girl, I know nothing about guns, my friends, except one woman, who enjoys target shooting, know nothing about guns. But city folk in the U.S. know more about guns than I ever will and I think that is also osmosis. It's part of the culture here, more so in some states than others.

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