“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.