One from the road: Customers pay for lawsuits; California wants a law for gender-neutral toys

Ron Moore
St. John News
Ron Moore is an over-the-road truck driver stationed in Stafford County, Kansas, where he is also a husband, father, grandfather and weekly columnist.

I opened my phone and the first news item on Google was, "Lack of chassis is the reason for supply chain shortage.". It's not the shortage of truck drivers but the lack of trailers now. 

Most of those trailers stay in the port area. Those containers mainly go to railroad yards or warehouses. When I deliver a load in Houston, there is a good chance of reloading at one of the many big warehouses.

It is usually plywood, fencing, or lumber that has come from overseas. Local drivers bring the containers to the warehouse and we haul the product out. The container and chassis stays in the area.

I have heard that the warehouses are full. There may be a lack of trucks but who is responsible? Once again, it is California. Hundreds of California Walmart drivers sued Walmart for $54 million, in 2016. It seems they were not getting paid for sleeping in the truck from 2007 to 2015.

Walmart has been known as one of the best companies to work for. The drivers are making top pay and that wasn't enough? In 1987, two Walmart drivers were telling me how great the company was and I should drive for Walmart.

In early 1992, I started sending in my application. There were rumors that a distribution center was going in at Ottawa, Kansas. I was told it could take six months before I would be considered. They wanted to see how determined you were to get the job.

In April of 1992, Sam Walton passed away. If you heard anything about Sam, he loved his truck drivers. I talked to the eleventh driver hired. He told me that they worked hard and were paid extremely well. He said there were changes after his death.

What does this have to do with the supply chain? Walmart did not pay the $54 million. We paid for it, you and me. Walmart hauls the merchandise it sells, and as big as they are, add a penny here or there, it doesn't affect them.

The trucking companies that only offer a service, which is most of them, can't afford the $15 an hour sleeping pay. If they raise their freight rate to cover it, you are paying for it. With 41 years in a truck, I have never been paid for sleeping. Oh, there have been a few times it was tough keeping my eyes open going down the road but that's an entirely different matter.

If all this isn't enough, we are now hearing that in 2024, stores must have a gender-neutral toy section. This is Assembly Bill 1804. If I remember right, didn't we have that at TG&Y or Ben Franklin back in the day? There was always a section that had marbles, slinkies, paddleball, etch-a-sketch, balloons, and balls? I just described Dollar General, Walmart, or Target. Do we need a law for a gender-neutral toy section? California thinks so.