Flying J, Peru, IL. Thanks, Jimmy! – I’m sure you mean it. (eye roll). This is actually a driver’s shower room, but I guess Flying J is too cheap to use different signs for the showers vs the restrooms. No matter, though.
Here’s the rub, Flying J/Pilot… you’re slipping and slipping pretty badly. You’re at the bottom of the heap of the mega truckstops. Your showers are nothing to brag about. Your competitors are outdoing you.
Here are a few of the problems you have concerning showers….
1.) You don’t fix what’s broken. Some of your showers run freezing cold, while others scald. When hot water heaters fail, you don’t address it. You don’t even post signs at the pumps to let drivers know. I was recently at the Springfield, MO stop and the shower intermittently scalded me. I learned after the first scalding blast to jump back.. but what if a child was in that shower? Drivers take their children on the road. It’s a newer stop, too – what excuse is there for the poor workmanship that allows scalding blasts?
2.) This may seem petty, but every megastop puts two towels in the shower rooms. Not Pilot/FlyingJ!
3.) It would seem there are no shower employees in the overnight, and that you depend on your night managers to clean showers. Well… they don’t. Maybe they’re busy; I’m not in a position to know that, but there is too often a long wait in the wee hours for a shower. I’ve walked down those hallways to see many showers dirty and waiting.
Bottom line, you’re cheap. Pilot/Flying J, from YEARS back, didn’t provide decent venting in their showers and it has not improved. Even the newer Pilot stops aren’t that great in this area.
I’m not saying they are all bad, not at all. Some of your showers are seriously awesome – great water pressure and heat. But, it is a shooting match. You just never know. Some are great, others are seriously horrible. You never know what you’ll get. I’m sure you get complaints about showers that are poor and MY complaint is that you don’t care and do nothing with those complaints.
You know that we drivers are stuck with you; we have limited choices if you are the company required fuel stop. Speaking only for myself, I will go to a different fuel stop if I can. I’m sure you bank on those of us “stuck” with you. That’s a stupid and dangerous business plan that’ll fail you eventually.
I went into the Flying J Travel Center in South Salt Lake City, UT in early April 2019 for breakfast and a shower. I sat down in the restaurant (Denny’s) and checked the Pilot app to see how many were waiting for a shower, if any.
Three were ahead of me. Odd for 2:30AM, but okay. I entered my shower request and ate. About twenty minutes later, I was the next one. I went back to the driver’s lounge area and stood against the wall, looking down the shower hallway.
A female Flying J employee came around me, walking slowly down the hall, to the cleaning cart. She did something with some supplies and went to a shower door. She opened it and apparently someone was in there. She did not knock first. I heard her say,“You have to lock the door!” She sounded angry. I couldn’t hear what the person in the shower said.
Soon my shower number was up, so I went to it. She was still there in the hallway, so I asked her for an extra towel. She sort of rolled her eyes at me, like it was a big inconvenience to her, but gave me one. I politely thanked her because my mother taught me manners.
As I was finishing up my shower and putting my things into my bag, the door began to open. There was no warning of any kind. I said, “There’s someone in here.” It was her again, and she said to me exactly what she’d said to the other driver she walked in on: “You have to lock the door!”
And here’s where it all started.
I responded, “I did lock the door.”
She said, “You didn’t lock the door.”
I said, “I DID lock the door.”
She said, “YOU DIDN’T LOCK THE DOOR!”
Back and forth we went. Honestly, much like little kids. Yes I did, no you didn’t.
I opened the door. I said, “I promise you, I locked the door. Maybe something is wrong with the bolt latch. I don’t know. I’ve been taking showers in truckstops for a lot of years, and I never forget to lock a door.”
She freaked out. She said, “DON’T YELL AT ME! Do NOT YELL! I don’t feel good, STOP YELLING!”
I wasn’t yelling. I mean, I seriously was not yelling. I have a rather loud voice and I was putting effort into NOT yelling. Into keeping myself very calm.
At this point, I was really irritated so I gave up. I said, “I am not yelling. Enough already.” I did slam the door shut. I did also say, once the door was shut, “Oh My Gawwwdd.”
I put the last couple things in my bag, and opened the door to leave. She had been out there in the hallway mumbling nonsense that I’d ignored. Now the security guard was out there also. I’m not sure, maybe he was there before…
I wasn’t about to argue about the door being locked anymore. I simply asked, “Are you the manager?” She responded that she was. I then asked, “What is your name?”
Holy crap Batman. She turned into the evil spawn of Satan.
“GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW OR I WILL CALL THE POLICE, NOW GET OOOUUUUUUTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
She was in my face screaming, her arms flying around and I was waiting for her to swing on me.
I very briefly considered my options.
1.) Give her a good smack and go to jail.
I decided against that pretty quick. It’d feel right and proper for a minute, but I might get hurt, jail would really not be fun, and my load would be late.
2.) Say something to see if she’d swing first and then SHE would go to jail.
Ixnayed that pretty quick, too … That security guard would probably lie and say I swung first and I’d end up in jail anyway.
3.) Walk away.
I went with Option #3, but first just stared at her for a moment. I mean, this was such insanely bizarre behavior that I couldn’t hardly even believe it. I looked past her, where the security guard was standing. He was about 6 foot back, just watching, staring. I sort of raised my eyebroughs, like, are you going to get this woman under control or…. ?
He said, “Get out.”
I looked back at her, smiled, turned and left. I said nothing – no parting, snotty shots. I just left.
I returned to my truck and put my things away. I got my dog and took her to the grassy around close to the Denny’s restaurant. I was only there a few minutes when a different (female) Flying J employee came walking around the corner. As soon as she saw me, I saw her speak into her communication thing. All the employees wear them. I felt like they were checking up on me and honestly, felt kind of unnerved by it. She went to a car, opened the door and leaned in, but I didn’t see her retrieve anything from it, and then she went back inside.
In twenty five years, I’ve never been treated like this at any truckstop in this country. It was a truly crazy experience. I absolutely did not deserve this treatment. I am fully capable of being a jerk and earning karma, but in this case, I didn’t.
I never did get her (the night manager’s) name. She is about 5’3 or so, plump, Hispanic, with long black hair and about 50. She had a lot of tats on at least one arm, prison variety, no color.
I called the Flying J later that morning and spoke to the day manager. I didn’t quite catch his name, but it sounded like “Jameson.” He was very pleasant. I asked him to watch the video of her behavior. He said he would. He took my name and number, but I haven’t heard anything back. That was five days ago. I will escalate this by posting and contacting higher up management, but I don’t have any big hopes of it making an ounce of difference. If they do actually DO something, I will update this accordingly.
It would appear that Miss Bitchy Face has had issues before and clearly she still works there, so how much does any Flying J management truly care? A few fun Google reviews: