Sunday, April 27, 2008

it could be worse?


there's a few companies that still use open channel radio's...never worked with them so not sure how good they are or what the benefits would be. i'm sure it's like alot of other services where it has it's pros and cons. the main and noticeable feature is that everyone in the company can pretty much hear what goes on. this means messengers can hear everything you're dishing out and to who you're dishing it to. it's not that big of a deal, especially if you're a fair dispatcher...you know, spreading the love properly. i can see it becoming a problem for a few riders that might make them feel a bit left out and what not.

ever since i started my career in the delivery business we've used nextel. as a messenger it wasn't that big of a deal. we had pagers where the work would be, well...paged to. then we used the nextel to chirp the dispatcher to communicate that we received the page, that we picked up, and that we dropped off. usually the dispatcher had two phones cause when you work with more than 10 messengers it can be somewhat difficult for messengers to get through because others are tying up the phones. either way...not a big deal. nextel was alright...like i said, the only problem was trying to get through to the dispatcher at times but thats because other messengers were doing that as well. sometimes the phone would show that there was "no service"...again, not that huge of a deal. this was usually because of elevators or you were in a silly building of sorts.

well...nextel, as some of you may know, merged with sprint. not good...not good at all. for some reason the level of service went waaaaaaay down. not only that, messenger companies, especially the one i work at, got rid of the whole paging system. you know, no need for two contraptions for messengers to carry around...now you get the page through the phone and you get to talk to the dispatcher through the phone. it's like killing two birds with one stone...right?! well, although it sort of is killing two birds with one stone, it is also very problematic. once we page the jobs out the messenger gets his/her text. once the messenger begins reading his text he is in "data". if the messenger is in data then there is absolutely no way of communicating with him/her. the phone will not allow you to chirp and talk to the messenger. you have to keep pressing the chirp button till the nextel gods allow you to get through and communicate with the messenger. see...you have to try and talk to the messenger and let them know exactly what you are paging him/her. now, i know what you're thinking...why do you have to tell them if you're paging them? simple...not all the pages go through. so...i call my messengers and notify them that they have x amount of pick-ups and where they are. if i don't then i run the risk of the packages not being picked up which is not good for the client, the messenger, and me...yes, i get yelled at also. i know what you're thinking now...why don't you call the messenger before you page the jobs? well...i do but it doesn't work all the time. there's locations throughout chicago that for some reason will make the messenger unavailable...what?! now i can't call my messenger...wtf?! also, during down times our messengers go through their pages and make sure they got everything...you know, make sure no packages weren't picked up, make sure their manifests/log sheets are filled out properly, and so on. this means they are back in, you guessed it, "data". cant get a hold of them when they are in "data"...ugh! also, ever since the merger there are a lot more locations throughout chicago that nextel doesn't seem to service...well, as a delivery service for chicago this might be a problem...oh wells.

not sure what the solution could be. maybe if i write a letter to nextel to get them to separate from sprint things could go back to the way they were. at least then the only problem you would have getting through would be the fault of other messengers talking too much to the dispatcher. i could live with that one problem as opposed to the hundreds more i have with nextel/sprint. i guess things could be worse...we could go back to using pay phones...do those even exist anymore?

8 comments:

Jeff said...

BIG fan of the Nokia Rugged. That was the shit.
Gotta say that open-channel, even though very dated is a blast and good company. It can be just as tricky to get through to dispatch because you have to wait for people to finish talking. In that sense, everyone has to have good etiquette and really know the city, especially if they don't have pagers.
I'd say Nextels were the shit though. The nice dispatchers were discrete and we still got stuff paged but it was so much easier than the crappy phones and service I see Sprint bringing into the mix.
I probably shouldn't start taking it there but don't companies basically email those pages to the phones? That would make it no cost for the text, it wouldn't even make it a "text", right? Secondly, don't they also offer bulk services so there is a consistent 2-way operating charge? Isn't $15 a week equal to $780 a year from each messer? I remember one company I lost $10 for phone and $10 for pager each week. Bogus.

j.dot said...

yeah...i rather not get into fees too much cause i don't want to get in trouble but you know how companies are...gotta make money anyway you can. the pages go through as text and sometimes e-mail...it's kind of silly. this is a huge problem...thats why our msngrs are always stuck in "data". not sure how the whole technology works around here but can get frustrating...oh wells.

Jeff said...

Yeah. Bad form to bring that up. If anything, however, it is not something solely done at one company, it is actually common practice everywhere. We're stuck with quite a bill for having these damn radios running. Tricks of the trade right?

josh said...

after using both nextel and open channel, im a much bigger fan of the radios. so much simpler with so much less to go wrong.

the company im at is trying to move to solely nextel's and i cannot convince them how much bigger of a headache the whole thing will be, not too mention more money out of the couriers pockets.

oh well...

j.dot said...

i have no problems with companies charging for the phones/pagers...actually, i do but there's not much one can do. the main problem i have is that i feel that companies should charge the exact amount that they are being billed for by the phone companies for their service. instead, some(not all but definitely close) decide to charge a bit more than the bare minimum...why? like i said, companies just trying to make money any way they can. unfortunately, messengers have to suffer. also, some companies charge alot(and i do mean alot) more for a phone if it is lost. it doesn't quite cost the company that much more to replace lost, stolen, and/or broken phones but, again, for some reason companies charge two or three times more than the minimum. it gets a bit annoying and one has no control...peace.

Anonymous said...

my former mess. co.-$125 for lost radio(nextel) $75 for pager?!?! a pager!! what maybe $10 dollars? I lost each maybe 2 or three times in three years and couldn't believe they would charge me that much. However the convenience of having multiple paged jobs right at your finger tips on the pager in any part of the city was great. Now it takes what seems too long just to fish thru the radio/paging system to find out where your going and once you get there where the pkg is going. Still better than texting the pods back to base. That sUCKED!(formr co.) ...in less than five years I'll betcha every co. will resort to this method. or the old school open channel which sounds easy and simple.

Jeff said...

I can attest to that open channel still costing a penny too. I was under the impression that it would be a whole lot cheaper but it isn't a real steal. It does provide a consistent cost and less stress to keep track of.
I would think the ridiculous overcharging for replacements is masked as a motivation not to lose them. Instead of it being a stressor for a company to hire reliable types, they'd rather deter flakes from screwing them over. That and it's not exactly a blast of a time to replace phones/pagers. Some could argue that's the responsibility of the company and some could argue not, both sides have a point.
I will say it's a real tough game to beat those overhead costs with everybody chipping at everybody and it certainly trickles down onto all of us...

j.dot said...

don't get me wrong...i agree with charging. that shit can get expensive. what im getting at is charging insane amounts. i understand the whole...if we charge alot then the equipment will be taken care of better but in an industry where you don't make much it's already going to hurt the pocket if you get charged the minimum rates. i have experienced both sides of the coin and you're right perkins...both sides make a valid point.