Jun 23, 2010

Matt at Work: Dutro Days

Day 235

After I joined the musical Chess, I needed to get a new job. Practices were Tuesday and Thursday nights and those were my big days working for Action and MotorCargo trucks. And I had Friday nights off so I would only be working two days a week and my boss was not a fan of that. So I had to find a new job and luckily I got one pretty quickly thanks to my dad.

I really like their camping stoves.

He was working at a place called Dutro making and shipping Camp Chef gas stoves. There were a couple of things that made this job fantastic, at least in the beginning. I had great hours, from 2 in the afternoon until 8 in the evening and I only worked Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. Until my schedule changed once the musical actually started. The pay was not as great as it was working as a lumper but at least I had a job. One of the great things is that I got to see my dad a work for a couple of hours. I also got to work with a bunch of guys that were mine own age and they were really nice guys.

The job was basically a lot of grunt and assembly work. We would assemble stoves and box them and get them ready to ship. It was a lot of line assembly work but at least it varied from night to night. Some nights were easy and some nights were hard work. But still it was a lot of fun because of the people I was working with. No one knew that I was Paul's son when I was hired except for my boss Phil and Shane my supervisor. I would ask all the workers there what they thought of Paul and I was proud to hear that they all liked him and wished he ran more of the day-to-day stuff of the plant. I was glad to hear that my dad was an excellent boss and worker.

It was at this point that I was also going to school at Utah State University and where I met my soon-to-be wife. And I would marry her while I was at this job. It was good for school since I used the opportunity I had working with the mayor of Franklin to interview him for the paper. The summers were pretty good too working there. It was ten hour days but it was good to make some decent money during the summer.

But like all good things, this came to an end and it spiraled rather quickly when they hired a new guy to run the lines. But more on that later.

But first lets talk about the good things. It was a lot of fun working with my dad. I rarely saw him as it were and it was nice to see him daily. We would chat for a couple of minutes before I was off working. Sometimes I would help the day shift but most times I would either help the UPS shipping department or be stuck on my own working until more of the night shift came in. My direct supervisor Shane was a great guy to work with and I would later become his neighbor when I got married and lived in the trailer court on campus. The night crew was a lot of fun to work with. We would be always laughing and playing jokes on each other. One of the things we had to do while assembling stoves was to test the gas tubes that connect the propane to the stove itself. I usually would leave the tubes a little loose so gas would escape. When someone would turn on the gas and test it with a lighter... KABOOM! No one would really get hurt, it was just a minor explosion.

One time Legrand and I had made these thick plastic balls made out of plastic wrap (the stuff you wrap pallets of product with) and we would try to knock each other out with them. One day I was really taking it to my friend Legrand I was hitting him left and right. But eventually he got his revenge. He waited until my arms were full of papers before he let loose a fireball at me. I saw it coming and I scrambled to drop my load of papers on the desk. I turned quickly to catch the ball and it hit my fingers stubbing them. Or at least I thought it just stubbed my fingers. I shook my hand because of the pain and when I looked down at my hand I wondered why my ring finger was bent and pointing the other way. My boss Shane came over (as Legrand was laughing his butt off) and saw the same thing and his face went white. My finger was dislocated! I made Legrand pop it back into place and I went back to work. We both about passed out when he put my finger back in place. It made a sickening squishy sound as it slid into place.

But like I said before, the job was too good to last. Unfortunately they hired a new line supervisor named Lamie (not his real name of course) who had all these grand ideas about how he would run the place. And management at Dutro swallowed the whole bait in one gulp. Both day and night shifts were running just fine. The problem was the other side of Dutro where we wouldn't get parts made in a timely manner. If we had product made we could easily ship out thousands of stoves.

My old time card.

Rumors of Lamie coming in and dismantling the crews and how we did things took its toll on all of us. We knew what he thought of the night crew. He didn't like us because we were smart and we didn't need any management. We were very cost effective, they could pay us cheap since we were college students and we were only part time. We also worked really hard and we put out great numbers. But all Lamie saw was a way to save some quick bucks and make him look effective. All of us saw right through all of his bull. Legrand called it right away when Lamie was first hired. Lamie would walk around and act like he owned the place. Legrand and I were talking about him one day while assembling some SS50's and Legrand made a comment that he "would never follow some dumbarse wearing a Steelers coat and sunglasses all the time". We looked behind us and Lamie was standing right there. Legrand just smiled at him and said hello. We didn't care, we knew our time was coming.

Lamie did everything he could to try to con us. He would constantly tell us that we were valuable but then we would overhear him say to Phil and my dad that he would love to get rid of us all. I shouldn't admit this but some people easily got into his files and found evidence of this all. We also found a list of workers that would get raises and those that wouldn't and why. I found out that I was given a pretty decent raise only because I was Paul's son. But not the reason you think why. Under my name the reason they gave me a raise was to make me an ally and make my dad somewhat of an ally. My dad seriously disliked what Lamie thought was best and fought against it. Lamie lost the respect of everyone on the night crew when we found this memo. And of course we told the morning crew as well.

About a month or so went by and it was summer once again. We were all on the day shift during the summer when the company decided to have a meeting about what the future of Dutro was going to be. And we all knew what was going to happen. The night crew was going to be let go. Lamie wanted everyone that was against him out of the company. That was everyone on the night crew along with my dad. In fact, my dad was not even invited to this meeting. They sat us down and told us that it was more effective to let the night crew go. And we all balked and rolled our eyes. Lamie gave some reasons why and told us that we would all have jobs elsewhere in the company and finally I had had enough. I laughed at them and asked them exactly how they figured it would be more cost effective to let us go. They didn't know what to say, all they could say was I wouldn't understand. That made me even more angry. I got up and told them all that I knew exactly what they were doing and that Lamie was a liar and I walked off.

Lamie muttered something as I walked past and I immediately turned around and got into his face. He wouldn't look at me in the face. I asked him to repeat himself and he wouldn't. He said he was not talking to me. "If you were not talking to me how come you are afraid to tell me what you said?" He then said he was not afraid of me and I asked him why he was backing down. It was pretty tense. The funny thing is that Baugh pulled me away physically and told me it was not worth it and told me we should go talk to dad. For the whole time I worked there, Baugh had never said one word to me. He was a bit of a loner and rarely spoke to anyone but because he respected my dad, he pulled me away from Lamie.

He walked me to the back entrance where my dad was. I was still angry but I was finding it funny that Baugh was pulling me away. He told my dad that I was quite brave and was quite angry at Lamie and pulled me away before I used more bad language. That made my dad and I laugh.

I never turned in my Dutro timecard. I still keep this in my wallet to remind me to not be like Lamie.

The next few weeks were very tense with all of us but I still had a job to do and I was going to do what they hired me for. That was until Lamie made another couple of stupid mistakes. He hired some new people that he had worked with before and brought them in to eventually replace us. We rarely would work with these new people but it was only a matter of time before we got to know them. I became friends with one of them and she told me that both Phil and Lamie had told her and the new people to stay away from a bunch of us. We asked who and they pointed out every worker that was on the night crew. And those other jobs Lamie promised we would have? We talked to the guy in charge of the other side of the plant and he told us he had no idea what Lamie was talking about. I knew Lamie was a liar! Any respect that we had for management was quickly zapped.

Eventually I quit and moved on to my next job. But that is for another column.

Karma does come around. It was not long before Dutro saw the error of their ways and Lamie was eventually a goner. It's too bad that he ruined a good job for all of us, It was good while it lasted.


  1. I don't like this Lamie person... grrrr! I love your Matt at work posts!

  2. It is so frustrating when someone comes into a company that was working just fine without them, and that person tries to puff themself up, make themself important and at the cost of the company and the hard-working staff! Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and your father!