It was a big place. Almost 200, 000 square feet of space. We shipped and received fridges, stoves, washing machines, inflatable husbands* and numerous other products and oddities. (What the knitted breast cups * were for was anyone's guess!)
I pushed paper. A little here, a little there. And I had the pleasure of speaking to the irrate customers whose shipments got lost somewhere between the Strait of Malacca (can you say 'pirates') and the Port of Vancouver.
It was a stressful kind of job. It always amazed me the fuss some people would make when their shipment of 'bangle toys'* failed to show up, or their load of 'plastic ster hop'* was damaged. Some of them couldn't have been any more stressed out than if it had been a new heart for their Grandmother's transplant that had gone astray.
One day my boss came to me and said, "C'mon, I've got a job for you. Can you drive standard?"
Can I drive standard!?! You bet I can. With glee. With joy. But I didn't say that. I just said, "Yup."
Turns out, we had also started shipping exotic cars. (No, not illegally! I made sure that all the paperwork for customs was in order, that was the other part of my job. I didn't make friends with all the gun-toting agents 'cus I was scammer!)
Ferrari's, BMW's, Porsches and lovely Lamborghini's.
And my job? My job was to drive those beautiful gleaming cars through the tightly packed warehouse and into a space so small that the mirrors on the cars had to be bent inwards so they didn't scrap off.
Yeah, I drove them into the containers.And then?
Then I had to get out of those cars. Somehow.
Occasionally I could squeeze out the door (after a piece of cardboard had been slipped between the door and the edge of the container) but most times? Most times saw me slithering head first over the back seats and through the trunk. Much to the amusement of my boss and the warehouse employees. I had to kick of my shoes before I even got in the vehicle. Didn't need my 3 inches heels gouging unsightly holes in the buttery leather.
On one occasion, I had to clamber onto the rear bumper of a Navigator, over the roof and then inch along the window frame in my socked feet (thankfully the window was down) to get to the front of the vehicle to unhook the battery. Then I had to turn around and reverse the order to get out.
Containers are really tight spaces when you cram a Lincoln SUV in there.
Once, two BMW's were being shipped over from Germany. These two cars had been shipped over for a commercial so no one was allowed to see them as they weren't 'on the market' in Canada at that time. They were wrapped fender to fender in white plastic, with only a tiny hole opened on the driver's side to see through.
They even flew two men over from Germany to oversee the off loading. I thought they were going to flip when my boss brought me out and said, "She'll be offloading them."
"Ja? SHE vill do dis??" They gruffed unhappily.
Offloaded both of them and loaded them straight into a covered truck for them to drive away on their super secret project.
I considered it a perk of the job.
And why did I get to do it?
'Cus everyone else was too scared. Scared they'd hit something, scared they'd scratch the paint, scared of being in the container.
Or they were too big. Crawling out through a car trunk requires a smallish person. Which I was. At the time. Heh.
Lucky for me, I'm not scared of anything.
They had plenty of insurance.
*yes, those were real 'things' we shipped.