Redwood Picnic Tables

Otis Orchards, Washington
June 7, 2016 4:11pm CST
Back in the late 1970s when I working in a gas station I got to know a man who came in quite often. One day there was a guy that came in while this man was there. Once the man left the guy said, “That man got caught cooking the books of his business and spent some time in jail.” Even knowing this when the man asked me if I would haul redwood picnic tables for him using his pickup I accepted the job. I would drive on my days off work. It sounded like a good job. I would be going anywhere the man sold the tables. I wouldn’t have to load anything but I was told I may have to help unload. He also had a U-Haul trailer hooked up to his pickup. When I arrived at his place of business for my first trip I took one look at the picnic tables. “That’s not redwood. Those are made out of pine.” Also the table were poorly constructed. “It doesn’t matter what they are made out of,” the man said. “They are stained redwood so I can call them redwood picnic tables.” I had already agreed to take the trip. I was headed for Great Falls, Montana–about a seven hour drive from Spokane. I didn’t have time to stand there and argue with the man. The trip went fine. I found the store in Great Falls easy enough. I went in and asked for the manager. I told him I had the redwood picnic tables. “Great,” he said, “Pull around back and we will help you get them unloaded.” I pulled around back and the manager took one look at the picnic tables and said, “I don’t want this crap! Take them back.” Before I had left the man told me to call him if I had any problems. So I told the manager I had to call my boss. “I don’t care what you do. We’re not accepting those tables.” The man had asked to talk to the manager. Somehow he got the manager to agree to unload them and I would pick them up on my way back on another trip. For some reason I knew that would never happen. Probably because it would have been easier for me to just haul them back. I made several more trips to Montana after that and got much the same reaction everywhere I took the tables, but I never brought any back. I don’t know what price the man put on the tables but I’m sure the buyers thought they were getting picnic tables made from real redwood and not just pine stained redwood. Whatever happen to the tables I don’t know. I imagine they ended up in the dump. Have you ever worked for someone who was a crook?
5 people like this
5 responses
@DWDavis (15672)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
7 Jun 16
Fortunately, I have never had that experience. The man employing you had evidently not been rehabilitated by his prison stay. He was still trying to bilk people with bogus goods.
2 people like this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
12 Jun 16
Yeah, I don't think he learned anything from being in prison. All he seemed to be interested in was making a fast buck. I think it came back to bite him because I don't think any of the stores paid him for the tables.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (122358)
• United States
7 Jun 16
Wow. A shame that guy was pawning off shoddy picnic tables as good ones. Well, as a matter of fact, the superintendent of the first school district in which I taught embezzled money from the district. The district demoted him to a 4th grade teacher since he was only a few year from retirement. I assume he had to pay back the money he stole, but I was not longer teaching in that district when he did his dirty deed.
2 people like this
@much2say (40881)
• United States
10 Jun 16
Eek! I don't know if I'd go so far as calling my ex-boss a crook, but some of ways he did business was pretty shoddy. I didn't agree with it, but trudged along - only because it was "work".
1 person likes this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
10 Jun 16
Yes, the extra money I made at the time came in handy. Otherwise I would have told the guy to go fly a kite (preferably not one he made because he would have never gotten it off the ground due to shoddy workmanship). I worked for several companies that did things that I thought were pretty "shady" but nothing like what this guy did.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40881)
• United States
10 Jun 16
@RichardMeister Well the "redwood" guy certainly sounds like he was a scam artist. I don't know how sales were handled back then, surely he wouldn't be able to get away with it now. Was he at least honest in paying you?
1 person likes this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
10 Jun 16
@much2say He paid me but I can't say he was honest about it because he paid me "under the table."
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (140961)
• Bunbury, Australia
7 Jun 16
I can imagine the shop-owners would be pretty annoyed. I guess a fair bit of this goes on in one way or another.
1 person likes this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
12 Jun 16
I think he could have pulled it off if the tables would have been well constructed.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (140961)
• Bunbury, Australia
13 Jun 16
@RichardMeister Bad enough that it is the wrong timber without them being badly made too.
1 person likes this
@louievill (20307)
• Philippines
7 Jun 16
Good thing you were not implicated if one of those would be customer victims complained to the authorities.
1 person likes this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
12 Jun 16
I was simply the driver and had nothing to do with the construction or selling of the tables. I was even willing to take the tables back and I made that clear before they called my boss. In order for me to be implicated they would have to prove I was involved in trying to con people with my boss. There was no way they could have proved that since all I did was drive the truck.
1 person likes this