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Secrets of the Trade: Chicago Delivery Drivers Reveal What They Wish You Knew



    Secrets of Trade: Insight on Chicago Area Deliveries

    NBC 5's Chris Coffey investigates. 

    (Published Monday, Feb. 11, 2019)

    They keep stores well-stocked, but some delivery drivers said they can’t catch a break from the public.

    In NBC 5's latest installment of "Secrets of the Trade," we sat down with a group of soft-drink delivery drivers to talk about everything from parking tickets and angry commuters to the craziest things they've seen on the job. 


    There was also one thing these drivers said you can do to help them.

    How physically demanding is it to be a delivery driver?

    Sergio Moreno: UPS Driver:

    "It’s non-stop. It’s physical. We deal with the elements."

    Jeremy Yancey: Dr. Pepper:

    "You’ve got to have some muscle. You’ve got to have some will power to deal with the weather, the climate."

    John Wigmore: Pepsi Driver:

    "We have guys that have been there for 40 years. They can barely walk."

    What are some of the craziest things you've seen on the job?

    Jeremy Yancey: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "I’ve seen hands-on, I’ve seen the guy at gun point getting robbed."

    "People will enter your truck, take product off of there. Two liters, 20 ounces."

    Raul Perez, Jr.: Pepsi Driver:

    "Every day I get people come by, 'Hey, Pepsi Man, let me get a soda!' Stopping traffic for no reason. I’m like, 'sorry, I can’t.'"

    John Wigmore: Pepsi Driver:

    "You drop a stack of two liters, those things are like bottle rockets. The cap flies off and they shoot across and you don’t know where they’re going."

    Who has to pay the parking tickets: you or your company?

    Raul Perez, Jr.: Pepsi Driver:

    "If we park in front of a fire hydrant or bus stop, we do."

    What doesn't the public understand about delivery drivers?

    John Wigmore: Pepsi Driver:

    "We’re trying to go out, do our job in a timely fashion, get home and see our families just like you are. We’re not trying to cause problems. Sometimes there’s no place to park. We’re sorry, but we have a job to do and it has to get done."

    Matt Dixon: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "Trucks are slow. They’re very big. They’re hard to see around. So in general I think traffic never wants to be behind us."

    How difficult is it for delivery truck drivers to park in Chicago? 

    Matt Dixon: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "The loading zones aren’t large enough for trucks. Basically, you have a bus stop, a fire hydrant or double parking in order to make your deliveries without circling around the block an hour for each stop." 

    Sergio Moreno: UPS Driver:

    "I’m parked in one spot and I might have to delivery three or four buildings from this one spot for the lack of parking." 

    Raul Perez, Jr.: Pepsi Driver:

    "It’s more crowded. Less places to park, so it’s kind of rougher for us and (people think) we’re the 'bad guys,' but we’re just trying to our job so that kind of for all of us sucks."

    "We will get tickets. Our downtown drivers get about two or three tickets a day, per truck, because there’s nowhere to park." 

    Jeremy Yancey: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    “It’s either you double park or you don’t make the delivery. Customer wants the delivery. Your manager, supervisor wants you to make the delivery so you have to make it.”

    What are you noticing about other vehicles around you?

    John Wigmore: Pepsi Driver:

    "We’re in a truck, they’re in a car. We can’t stop as fast as they can."

    Andre Henderson: Pepsi Driver:

    "You can’t cut in front of a truck. You talking about 80,000 pounds. You can’t stop on a dime."

    Sergio Moreno: UPS Driver:

    "You step out of the truck and you think it’s a one way heading south and here’s a vehicle going the wrong direction."

    Ray Kwasniewski: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "If 10 cars go by you, eight of the cars, the people have their cell phones in their hand."

    How have bike lanes in Chicago impacted your daily work?

    Jeremy Yancey: Dr Pepper Driver:

    "It’s taking a toll on us because it’s shortening more and more where we have to park."

    Raul Perez, Jr.: Pepsi Driver:

    "We’ve got nowhere to park. Now we got to block the bike lane to deliver, so now the bikers are getting mad it us."

    Matt Dixon: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "They get upset when you’re blocking their bike lane, but when there’s a red light they’re zooming right through the intersection. You know, it doesn’t stop them from grabbing on the back of our bumper and skitching a ride."

    Have you ever been confronted by angry drivers or pedestrians?

    Jeremy Yancey: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "You either have people cuss at you, swear at you. It’s bad. They’re a consumer. So we’re making the delivery for them to buy the product. I think people don’t get that."

    Matt Dixon: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "We’re dealing with the public at their most stressful times of the day. You know, their commute in, their commute home and their commute on their lunch break."

    Andre Henderson: Pepsi Driver:

    "A guy, he didn’t want to let me by. I can’t make a left turn and I can’t go back. I’m stuck. He refused to back up. I said ‘I can’t move. If you move back, just a little, I could get by.’ He didn’t want to do that. He decides to go in his car and get a crowbar out and comes to the window and start hitting on the window telling me to get out the truck."

    What can pedestrians, drivers and businesses do to make your jobs easier?

    John Wigmore: Pepsi Driver:

    "If somebody opens the door for me, it’s just like, thank you so much. You don’t know how much easier you just made my life."

    Raul Perez, Jr: Pepsi Driver:

    "You go to certain accounts and they don’t shovel. There’s ice and they want you to deliver and I’m slipping, sliding. I’m trying to tell them I want to be safe. I don’t want to get hurt. If you’re not gonna clean, I’m going to have to reschedule and come back some other day when you do it."

    Are you concerned about self-driving delivery trucks in the near future?

    Ray Kwasniewski: Dr. Pepper Driver:

    "The trucks just don’t unload themselves. You still need a driver. You still need someone to go in the back and take stuff off."

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