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Home Delivery Driver
Author Name: Alan B
Advantages: Can meet some nice people
Disadvantages: Hard work for the pay
I was made redundant from a Sales job after 15 years and at my age (then 58) had put enough money away to retire. I did in fact retire for a little while but was so fed up of doing nothing that I decided to apply for a job at Asda on their Home Shopping Department as a delivery driver, not for financial reasons although the money helps, it was more for something to fill my time. I have now been with them for 18 months and this is my experience.
After an initial "try the job out to see if you like it" where you go out with an existing driver during daylight hours. You can see for yourself the type of deliveries you will make. When I first saw the advertisement I thought that I would be delivering mainly to people who were disabled or elderly people who could not get to the store. In fact for the most part I deliver to young, lazy unemployed people some living no more than half a mile from the store. They have their deliveries mainly at night and I have to go to Social Housing estates where you have to get out a trolley to carry their heavy bottles of fizzy drinks and lager up the dark passageways to where they live bracing yourself ready to get mugged. When you get to their street you have trouble in finding the house as most of them have no numbers on the door. They have telephone numbers on the delivery sheets but when you ring the number I would say that 80% of them won't answer the phone and you are always running late. I have tried to find a house and opened the wrong gate to the back garden (as many want the delivery through the back gate with no numbers) and was attacked by dogs and irate residents. Sometimes the store cannot deliver items ordered and substitute items are sent, these items are not obligatory they are just suggestions and can be rejected, but the driver always seems to get the blame. For example I had a customer (a young woman of about 20-25) who complained that she ordered a birthday card for her mother and the card said "Happy Birthday Mum" instead of "Mom". I was of the impression that one went to a shop yourself and find one with a nice verse and not order one from the Home Shopping dept. But I may be old fashioned. During busy times i.e. Bank Holidays or end of the month when people seem to get their pay we can work 9 hours at a stretch without a break. To be fair we are entitled and encouraged to have a break but as you go round and are getting later and later due to reasons stated above one uses the break as a way of catching up the time as you get complaints from the customers if you are late. The customers have delivery slots i.e. 7-9 am 9-11 am 11-1 etc. and sometimes if you have had a good day (when the customer actually comes and helps you get the items off the van) you are early and you even get complaints then. I rang a customer one Saturday night and said that I was early and could make the delivery in 5 minutes. She replied that she was watching the X factor and did not want to be disturbed and to come back in half an hour when her delivery time was due. Last year during the winter we had a snow storm and I was worried about getting back to the branch 20 miles away as the snow was getting deep. I rang the next customer (on a Saturday night at 10 pm). They lived on a farm in the middle of now where and I told them I was having trouble due to the snow and maybe we would have to deliver tomorrow if possible. They said "we know its 10 pm but we don't usually go to bed on a Saturday till after midnight so we will be in". I got back eventually that night at 1.00am on the Sunday morning.
In busy times you have to help load the deliveries on the van. This means lifting up to 600 kilos of items on to a Van. This means you are worn out before you deliver the said items from the van to the door, this means you are lifting and shifting a total of up to 1200 kilos during a working day. Then when you have finished your round sometimes you have to help load another van before you go home as the loader may have a day off or is ill.
Sometimes you are asked to go to meetings with the Store Manager and someone from the HR dept. to discuss any problem areas. I once went to one of these meetings where I gave details of my many and varied problems, duly noted by the managers. To this date I have not heard of any updates or improvements of that meeting and got the impression that they were just paying lip service.
Don't get me wrong, you do meet some really nice customers who are friendly and some even ask if you want to come in and have a cup of tea, always I politely decline but the offer is appreciated and some customers will even come and help get the load off the van, offer you cakes that they have just baked and generally pass the time of day, and its these customers that make your day. There have been times when customers have answered the door with just a towel around them dripping wet after getting out of the shower, women coming to the door after getting them out of bed in just bra and pants, and even disturbing customers doing other things that I will not mention that all makes the days interesting.
I now have the mind-set of "once I am on the road I am my own boss" attitude and leave all the problems of the store behind. I hope that this gives an insight of a driver at Asda to anyone thinking of joining.
Summary: Have to be prepared to work hard and take a lot of crap from customers