Friday, December 26, 2014

Benefitting From The Illogical

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I mentioned here in the past, the day that I spent duck hunting along the Ohio River many years ago. It was snowing, the wind was blowing and it was well below freezing. We got no ducks for the table, but I got some food for thought.

Several times that day, coal trains rumbled downstream, between us and the hill, taking coal to points south. Often at the same time, towboats churned upstream pushing coal barges, full almost to overflowing, with coal for points north. It seemed so illogical, when there must surely have been some way for the places to the south to have burned southern coal, while the places to the north burned northern coal. Such lack of forethought surely ended up costing the companies in the short run, and the consumers in the long. The only benefit that I could see was that the railroads and their workers, and the towboat companies and their workers were provided work by the seeming foolishness. Thinking a little deeper, I knew that timing, dependable delivery, bid price and good or bad will between the parties involved probably caused the situation, but it still seemed horribly wasteful.

During the last couple weeks, I and a few other drivers have made multiple trips from the Mid-Ohio Valley to southern West Virginia to pick up broken concrete from a demolition job. Then we hauled it to a landfill in eastern Kentucky, turned around and came home to the valley. You’d think that they’d get a company somewhere along the route to do the hauling, as it would surely be cheaper. I guess our bosses just have an exceptionally good relationship with the demolition folks and they use us anytime they have work in the region.


Monday, we’re going from here to central West Virginia to pick up DIRT. Then we’re going to haul it to central Ohio, unload it and come home. Same scenario, it would be cheaper for them to use someone local. But hey; who am I to complain? It might be a week of short hours without this oddball job. I’ll take the bigger paycheck, thank you. © 2014
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10 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Probably a good time to keep your mouth shut!

Gorges Smythe said...

You can be sure that I won't suggest a "re-think" to our customers, SF! lol

Mamahen said...

Lol well looks like you'll be spending lots of time in enemy territory ;))

Gorges Smythe said...

Worse things have happened, Mh. lol

Chickenmom said...

Coal - how well I remember the sound it made as it slid down the chute to the 'coal bin' in the cellar.Good that the long distance runs will keep you busy!

Gorges Smythe said...

Both sets of my grandparents had a "grate," Cm, so the scent of burning coal brings back a lot of memories.

Ralph Goff said...

Seems there is a shortage of dirt in Ohio?

Gorges Smythe said...

Ralph, I'm guessing the "dirt farmers" in Ohio are growing less dirt and more corn and soybeans. They're going to have to adjust their dirt acreage if they're starting to import it from West Virginia. We really can't spare any, as too much of ours ended up in the Gulf of Mexico, during the heyday of the hillside plow. ;-)

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

They may have special pricing agreements, as we have preferred carriers for our product?

Gorges Smythe said...

That's a possibility, Kathy.