SCHOOL FRUIT (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

I have decided to use Mondays to publish guest-posts and re-blogs (both mine and from other bloggers).  Who better to go first than Paul Curran? 

SCHOOL FRUIT

By: Paul Curran

PaulCurran

 

Parker Oranges

Ads for Fund Raising with Oranges (http://www.citrusfruit.com/)

The citrus shipping warehouse had an open loading dock with a roof over it. I pulled my loaded trailer out and stopped to close and lock the doors. This particular terminal in central Florida loaded only special orders this time of year – late November. They shipped mostly what we called “school fruit” – 40 pound cases of oranges and grapefruit that had been ordered for sale by the students of individual schools as Christmas presents in order to raise money. There were two systems; 1) orders were loaded and delivered by school and then distributed by the students or 2) individual orders were trucked to the post office closest to the delivery, already labeled with the end purchaser’s address and postage.

Citrus Sorting

Citrus Sorting and Packaging Plant (http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/)

I had loaded the first type – for delivery to high schools starting in Massachusetts and finishing in northern New Brunswick – 6 drops in all. This was legal for me as a Canadian citizen because it was a single shipper with part of the load delivering in Canada. I enjoyed the break from delivering to warehouses but it was always a challenge dealing with amateurs. And amateurs they were.

My first and second drops were at high schools in towns north of Boston that I shall refrain from naming to protect the guilty – although God alone knows why I bother. I arrived at the first school and after reporting to the office, I was directed to drive around the side of the school and into a paved quad inside the square shaped building. There was lots of space and I had been told that they would unload right after recess. I no sooner got the truck parked when the recess bell rang and hundreds of teens came rushing from the building.  A lot of the boys gathered around admiring the truck and I answered their questions about the job and the truck. I was only 21 myself at the time (being the youngest owner/operator the company had ever had) and I looked even younger dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. Many of the boys sported beards and looked my age or older. When the bell rang again for the end of recess, 15 minutes later, two teachers – a man and a woman – came out of the building and started yelling at the teens that they had to go back into the school. They reluctantly moved towards the doors leaving me standing beside the truck. The woman teacher asked me if I was stupid that I didn’t understand that I was to leave too. I just smiled and shrugged, opened the cab door and climbed in, starting the engine. She paused for a moment, realized her mistake and then hollered

Where are you going?”

I responded: “You told me to leave, so I’m leaving.”

You can’t go!”

Make up your mind.”

She apologized and I shut off the truck and got out. It wasn’t long before a crew of teens and another teacher appeared, we unloaded their order without further incident, and I was on my way.

TrailerLoadofOranges

Trailer Load of Oranges (http://www.citrusfruit.com/)

I drove to my second drop and reported to their office. They took my paperwork and directed me to back in around the side of the gymnasium where a teacher and a group of about 10 senior high teenagers awaited to help unload. I had checked each case onboard the truck and had placed cardboard dividers between the drops. My tally had matched the shippers tally by drop, by fruit sizes, and in total. I was 100% certain which cases were delivering here and how many of each size there were. So, the teacher showed me that they were going to carry the cases down a hall and place them against the wall inside the gym in preparation for distribution to the students who were participating in the fund-raising.

Two teens jumped in the trailer with me and together we brought the order to the end of the trailer where students on the ground carried the cases inside out of view. The female teacher supervised the process – not that it needed supervision but rather so she didn’t get her hands dirty. I counted each case and marked it off the total until all 175 destined for this drop were off the trailer. We were at the cardboard divider and the counts worked out perfect – as expected. The teens and I jumped out of the trailer and I closed and locked the doors. As I did that the teacher emerged from the door and asked if that was the whole order. I told her it was, and she said they were 10 cases short. I just figured they had miscounted, so I went with her into the gym and counted the cases against the wall.

There were 10 less cases in the gym than had come off the truck. The students looked guilty and the teacher would not look me in the eye. I knew immediately that they had stolen the oranges but the line of students had stayed constant during the unloading – none disappeared or reappeared out of order. This meant that the oranges were somewhere close by. I was so angry that I walked out of the gym without a word and looked up and down the corridor. There were a number of doors in evidence and I started opening them and checking inside the rooms. The teacher followed me and kept telling me that I wasn’t allowed to look in the rooms and that she was going to call security. At the time I was 6’ 3” and 250 pounds with no fat – she wasn’t going to slow me down without security guards. I had only checked three rooms and when I opened the fourth door, there were the ten cases stacked against the wall – same name on the boxes, same lot numbers, and the missing fruit sizes. No doubt they were deliberately placed there to try and steal them. At first, the teacher objected that they were not the cases that had come off the truck. I was so angry that not only had she tried to steal the cases but that she also enlisted the teens to help her steal – what kind of example was that?

I said nothing – just handed her the paperwork that I had inherited while checking the order and told her to sign it. She signed the paperwork, I gave her copies and with a disgusted look I left. I didn’t trust myself to say anything to her for fear that I would go into a righteous rage.  And we wonder, as a society, how our children end up being liars and thieves – pretty clear answer in this case: they were being taught by the teachers.

The remainder of the deliveries went relatively well, although a few were challenging to access with a tractor trailer. Whenever I hauled school fruit, I always wondered by the end what had ever possessed me to take the load. And each time one of the loads was offered my memory failed me and I figured it would be a great break in the routine.

 

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Paul Curran and I love to hear from our readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com or notcordeliasmom@aol.com

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Image credits are under the respective photos for this post.

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42 Responses to SCHOOL FRUIT (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

  1. Paul says:

    Good morning CM! Thank you very much for allowing me to guest post. It is always a pleasure to post here. I hope all is well with you this week.

    Like

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Nice post Paul. I was on the receiving end of this delivery several times at the Catholic elementary school were my daughter was enrolled. The kids were too little to help, so parents had to provide the muscle. Our deliveries always seemed to be scheduled for Sunday night. I felt bad for the driver because getting to the doors near the gym was no small feat. After the truck was unloaded, I wished I had been the driver – he got to leave. We had to stay and distribute the fruit to the parents who didn’t have their paperwork, didn’t remember ordering fruit, didn’t remember that they had to pay for the fruit or remembered that they had to pay but forgot to bring a checkbook or cash. “No money, no oranges” but then we were stuck waiting for the ATM run or the ride home or the call to the wife or…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Ha! thanks so much for dropping by for a read and a comment Dan. Yep, that school fruit always seems like such a good idea.,.. healthy, good value, a great surprise for those in the north … but some how the agony gets forgotten from year to year. Ha! We studied this effect in B-school – they call it transaction cost. Like saying that employees can get a 10% discount by buying from the warehouse. The problem is that each transaction (exchanging product for payment) is so very costly (in terms of time and energy) in a system that is not set up for it. Product costs are low and profits theoretically high – it is the individual transactions that suck the system value. Of course that cost is borne by parents’ and students’ time and energy, in the case of school fruit.

      Thanks so much for the visit Dan. Please come by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Victo Dolore says:

    That was an interesting look at the other side of those fruit fundraisers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It is a good value for the money Victo and the participants are always enthusiastic and yet it comes with a whole set of unique logistical issues. It is hard to throw a few cases in a student’s back pack and send them home to sell. Ha! While I was loading this load in Florida, the plant had a computer glitch (which didn’t effect my load) and they accidentally shipped the previous year’s orders to the tune of 12 trailer loads that were going to post offices around New York City – and they didn’t catch it until all 12 were in transit. There was some swearing there that day. let me tell you. I felt bad for them at about 1,000 cases per load that is 12,000 cases mislabeled. Thank God it didn’t affect my load – I’d still be there waiting years later – Ha!

      Thanks so much for dropping by Victo. i’m glad you enjoyed the story. Please come to visit again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Great post Paul entertaining and educational. 🙂

    Like

  5. adamjasonp says:

    Ugh, being taught by the teachers to steal!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Adam! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and a comment. I hauled school fruit before that and after and never had a count “problem”. Most teachers are excellent – which is why I was flabbergasted when I caught her stealing.

      Great to have you visit and I hope you enjoyed it. Please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story, Paul. Some people’s kids! Well actually, their teachers too! Good grief. We had a couple of similar local incidents, but they ran off with more than oranges and got caught, at the Casino with the loot. You should never run off to a Casino full of cameras with the loot. Bad idea kids, don’t try this at home. 😉

    Backing those trucks into odd places is fun to watch. My bad, but it really is. Some people are amazing, they do things I don’t even think are possible.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much for dropping by IB. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. yep, backing tractor trailers can be challenging at times – but you just work at it and go slow and get out and look if need be. The last company I worked for had “B”-train fuel tankers. These are sets of two trailers hooked together. They were 80 feet long, had 30 tires and weighed 140,000 pounds (as much as a house) loaded. They could haul about 100,000 pounds (15,000 US gallons) of gas at one time. They were a joy going forwards as the two trailers followed each other closely meaning they could get around corners easier. But backing them up was a major challenge as the unit had two pivot points. When I was new to driving them,i once asked an old-timer who had 40 years experience, if there was any trick to backing them up. He just grinned, shrugged and said “Some days it works and some days it doesn’t.”

      Thanks again for the visit IB. Please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You should have figured out which ones did it and kicked the shit out of them. Seriously. Today, they’re probably politicians.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Bwahahaha! Thanks for dropping by Mark. Those thieves seriously pissed me off. I blame the teacher. When I was younger, if I had allowed myself to say anything – they would have thrown me out for verbal abuse. ha! I am honored that you visited my humble post sir, Thank You.

      Like

  8. julie says:

    I LOVE YOUR STORIES PAUL!! I seriously don’t know if I would have been able to control myself with that thief. Especially while you are looking at the 10 missing cases! Nope, that isn’t them. I am not a violent person, but that really would have pushed me right to the brink! I might have had to hit her, but, you know, being that you are a man, it was very good of you not to. Good Job on another successful post! As always, thanks to CM! If I can come ever come up with something, I haven’t forgotten your generous offer!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Cousin Julie No-Blog! How are ya? Thanks so much for the compliment (**blushes**). You are too kind. I see you bopping around the interwebz – that post you did over at Doobs’ was really well received. Speaking of Doob, I hope he is OK, have you heard anything?

      Yep, I had to bite my tongue to keep from blasting that teacher – phew. Asshole. Imagine teaching teens to do steal and cheat. My blood still boils when I think about it.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Julie- it is great to see you here. CM is a wonderful host – you should consider taking her up on her offer. Please drop by agin.

      Like

      • If I could just jump in here: If anyone knows what is going on with Doobster, please let the rest of us know. We’re all worried about him personally, and we all miss his posts.

        Like

        • julie says:

          The only one I can think of that might know something would be Arthur of Pouring My Art Out. They did meet and spent some time together (made me a little envious) Although my thought is it must be something he doesn’t want to share or he would. I wonder if he realizes the kind of ripples he has made for many of us?? I mean, wondering, hoping all is ok and such.

          Like

          • If Doobster isn’t suffering some kind of medical setback, I suspect he’s probably reading all of these comments. Maybe at some point, he’ll jump into one of the conversations. Only time will tell.

            Like

      • julie says:

        How Cousin Paul. (not sure if that is how the indians spell it but, well, you know)
        I haven’t posted for Doobs. That was for Trent Lewin. I should re read that to get an idea for a post for the wonderful CM. Thank you Paul, I try to be kind, but I also call it like I see it. I love your stories! You would be so fun to hang out with!
        You showed an incredible amount of restraint with that teacher Paul. I don’t know if I could have controlled myself.

        I am as shocked as everyone about Doobster. My thoughts immediately went to hoping he is ok. I guess I been kicking around the blogging world longer than I realized, and surprised myself with my reaction. I mean, it is funny how I can feel so close to someone I don’t really know, and to have Doobs just shut down kinda stings. (another post idea, I have had people irl do this to me, maybe that has something to do with why it effects me so)

        Like

    • It’s an open-ended offer, Julie. If you read the note at the top of Paul’s post, you know that I have sent Mondays up as guest post and re-blog day. Now I just need to find posts to fill up those Mondays! Thus far, there are no unacceptable topics for my blog (well, except maybe for porn).

      Like

      • julie says:

        HA! I am pretty sure I would stink at porn. I did comment on another blog about the ex and what happened, but I am not sure that would be a good post. Nothing positive, but for me getting to vent, and maybe see it for what it was.

        Like

        • A post about the ex would be perfectly acceptable. Few people know that I have an ex, and I was thinking about doing a post on that. (I was only 19 when we married, and 26 when I left him.) I could piggyback the two posts.

          And as I’ve said a number of times – writing can be cathartic. And those stories are often the best because they come from the heart.

          Like

      • julie says:

        Thank you. I did read the note, and I promise as soon as I come up with something you will be the first to know!

        Like

  9. suzjones says:

    I guess fruit fundraisers are a healthier option than the chocolate or pie fundraisers that most of the schools my kids attended have done.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Suz! Thanks so much for dropping by. Yes, selling fruit is definitely a healthier option than chocolates – the kids don’t eat it all. It is awkward to distribute and requires some logistical planning but in the long run the profits are as good or better. I wish you the very best in your new job – I hope it turns out well for you. thanks again for the visit and please drop in again.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Remembering a Different A-to-Z Challenge | No Facilities

  11. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    Hi Paul! I love reading your stories, and you tell them so well!! You have had some interesting adventures, especially trucking 🙂 Knowing me, that teacher & I would’ve had a visit with the principal . . . 😉

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Sadie! Thanks so much for dropping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. No doubt you and she would have had an impromptu meeting with the principal. I would have liked to have seen that, for sure. I couldn’t trust myself to maintain self-control, so i just left. Better that way. Please drop by again Sadie

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Paul – another great story. I’ve been the organizer of many a school fundraiser, and although not on this scale, enough to learn the ins and outs of some wily parents. It’s always so mind-boggling to see how many can miss the entire point of the production! Anyway, I’m glad to see you’ve been keeping at it. I have slowed a little lately on the writing – which is killer, but not much I can do about it. I’ll send an email to you later. Good to catch up! 🙂

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hey Robyn! Thanks so much for the compliment and the read. It is great to see you here. I hope you can find time to blog – i enjoy your writing and miss you. I have another guest post coming up this Monday here at Cordelia’s Mom. Please drop by for a read. thanks again for visiting. Take Care.

      Like

  13. markbialczak says:

    You should have reported that teacher, Paul. She was teaching those students shady crime!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I was very upset Mark and likely wouldn’t have kept it civil. I was a lot quicker to anger when I was young. best for me to leave it to her colleagues to do that. thanks so much for dropping by Mark. I am honored.

      Like

  14. reocochran says:

    I liked this way you led us into the sad scenario of a teacher taking 10 cases. I am not happy it was a teacher ( I once was a middle school language arts teacher and my last 9 years of teaching- awhile back- was as a special ed preschool teacher.) but I will say this was a sad excuse for a teacher. I hope one of the students let’s the “cat out of the bag!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hi reo! Thanks so much for dropping in for a visit and a comment. You know there are so many great teachers out there and it is such a shame that a few assholes give them a bad name. I am honored that you came for a visit – please drop in again.

      Liked by 1 person

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