Several years ago, I worked for a wholesale vegetable distributor that delivered to restaurants, schools, and hospitals. One fall, the folks at corporate decided to close our local branch and transfer my territory to another facility, about 80 miles away. The company let me keep my position, making me responsible for the entire territory of my town. They even gave me the keys to the old, empty facility, telling me that until December it would be my responsibility to swing by every few days and make sure nobody had stolen the copper wiring from the building. (That’s a thing that happens here.)
One other thing I need to explain is the beer. A major chain restaurant we did business with was using us a way to get their signature beer from one of their locations to the local unit. I believe the beer is usually brewed in-house, but we have some kind of ordinance that prohibits that. So, they’d just ship us the beer, whatever they felt like, and we’d take it over with the crates of lettuce and bags of onions. We weren’t making any money on the beer itself and we weren’t responsible for ordering it; we just charged them freight.
Fast forward five weeks and my father lay dying at his home in South Carolina. While I was out of town saying goodbye, a truck containing sixteen kegs of seasonal beer that tastes exactly like pumpkin pie was headed for our town. You know that graphic with Ned Stark that says “Brace yourselves… pumpkin flavored everything is coming!” This beer is a smash hit. In my opinion, it’s the best of all this chain’s seasonal beers. And this was the last sixteen kegs of the season. Precious cargo, what.
Now, for some reason they sent it to my town, instead of to the other facility 80 miles away, from which the trucks bound for that restaurant would leave four times a week. When I got back from Dadpocalypse, I found out that the restaurant had never gotten their pumpkin beer. They complained to corporate, who promptly told them that their truck had made delivery “to us”, and that we should have the beer.
We very most certainly did not have the beer. Not only did we not have the beer, but the driver was saying he delivered to the facility in my town, which was not only locked up but literally the only person with the key in the entire county was two states away. So did he make delivery to the restaurant itself? No, because they still didn’t have the beer.
The restaurant’s corporate was adamant that we find the beer, and even made the executive kitchen manager meet me out at the empty, locked-up, “the fridges aren’t even turned on” warehouse so that I could unlock the gate and show him for realsies, no beer. No kegs.
It occurred to my former boss, who the company had transferred to another state, that our old warehouse was on 123 blahblah St. and that there was a convenience store at 123 blahblah Ave., and since they sold beer at the convenience store maybe the driver had taken the kegs there?
But when I went to the convenience store they had no idea what I was talking about.
We had the name of the person who’d signed for the beer, and although I found him on Facebook (and freaked out when I saw him in a selfie with a keg! …but not one of the pumpkin beer kegs) it didn’t give me any information about what had happened to the precious cargo.
Fast forward three whole freaking weeks.
The restaurant’s corporate office gets a call from the Yuengling distributor around the corner and a few blocks down from our closed, locked-up warehouse. They wanted to know what they were supposed to do with sixteen kegs of pumpkin pie beer.
So, let’s get this straight. First of all, the part of the corporate headquarters that was responsible for beer must have somehow not gotten the message that we’d changed locations. Then, the driver went to the empty warehouse. Instead of calling home base, or calling the local restaurant unit, he what, he just drove around randomly, turning a corner, driving down a few blocks, and then stumbled onto some other totally unconnected business that looked beer-relevant? Then, he doesn’t check to see if the address matches, and the Yuengling people just sign for it without having the foggiest idea what it is or where it’s supposed to go? I mean, we were never like that. If a truck had shown up with mystery product we didn’t order, my former boss wouldn’t have just signed for it!
Anyway, happy ending, because the beer eventually got back to the restaurant while it was still pumpkin season.