Oh military life. No matter how many PCS’s (permanent changes of stations) you have experienced, the next one is no less dreaded or stressful. I will be PCSing this summer, along with thousands of others, and oh the stories we all have to tell about moving.
This summer will mark my seventh military move. Just walking around my house, looking at all my stuff that will soon have to be put into boxes causes a little stress. And wondering who will be putting my stuff into boxes causes me even more stress.
Yes, we could pack ourselves up, but I’m pretty sure our family unit wouldn’t survive such a task. (However, I am amazed at those of you who accomplish DITY moves!)
As I’ve talked to many fellow military spouses around the country and in different branches, I have been amazed and shocked at some of the stories I’ve heard.
Here are a few PCS move experiences that will make you laugh, cry, and gasp in disbelief:
- As the packers arrived at my house, they attempted to back up my driveway. Their first attempt failed as they ran over my mailbox. Of course they didn’t want that to go into a report against them so one of the guys promised to fix it. He came back the next day with a new one he built, it actually looked better than the one he ran over.
- We apparently got assigned the “B” team to do our pack out. Pretty sure the team leader was intoxicated, and he brought a ragtag team he found at Home Depot. The team was not doing what they should’ve been doing. The team leader decided to fire one of the guys which lead to a fistfight in our kitchen. My husband had to throw them out. And then we found that one of the guys urinated all over our bathroom floor!
- With one of our moves, we found many boxes where no packing paper was used. Our stuff was just thrown into boxes and taped up. We also received the box of our 50 inch TV without the 50 inch TV in it, which was very strange since my husband put the TV in the box himself.
- I had an alcoholic packer (I am making an assumption) who had the shakes and smelled like a distillery. Midway through the packing of my kitchen, I offered him a beer in the hopes to calm his shakes. He took it very willingly and asked for more and helped himself. I honestly didn’t care at the time because he stopped shaking and none of my stuff got dropped or broken.
- I had a couch that arrived covered in mold. They took it to be cleaned and returned it with a gash across the back, claiming it was already there!
- I was at home with the packers all day with my 2-year-old. My husband finally got off of work, and when got home, he walked around the house talking to the packers. He then came down to tell me that one of them was recently released from federal prison! Might explain the many missing items that didn’t make it to our next home.
- We watched the movers, who packed us out, drop our washing machine from the floor of the moving truck onto the ground. It was at least 5 feet and it made a huge bang. They never said a word to us about it.
- On our very first cross country PCS, on move-in day it was 100+ degrees, so we made sure to stock up on water for our movers. Our bedroom set is giant, so after they moved it up the stairs into base housing, one of the guys chugged a ton of water. He went to move another piece of furniture up the stairs and then barfed all over the floor of our 1-year-old’s bedroom. The driver was so upset and was screaming at the guy. We were trying not to laugh while we were bringing up supplies to help clean. The driver refused to let us clean it up and made the sick mover clean it up himself.
- Our last PCS ended up with a bunch of missing household goods. We assumed they got lost in the transition. About 15 weeks later, the truck driver called me and said he had all our missing stuff in a lower compartment of the truck and it had just been sitting there the whole time traveling around the country.
- One of our movers was bragging about a scam that he runs with another moving crew. He laughingly explained that they keep someone’s property and then extort them for more money in order to get it back. My husband stared at this man unloading our goods into our on-base house. He moved his jacket to the side exposing his gold badge and slowly explained that he’s a federal law enforcement officer. The mover turned sheet white as my husband took his name and number to give to off-base authorities.
- The movers weren’t allowed on base. One had a warrant out for his arrest. Another had been convicted of rape. They sent us a new group of movers the next day which was fine by me.
Just in case you are headed out for your first PCS move and those stories just completely freaked you out, here are a few tips I have.
Tips to Help Your PCS Move Go Smoothly:
1. Be kind and respectful to the movers/packers.
2. Have water available to offer them.
3. If you have a spacious two-level house with multiple packers, ask them to all start on the same level.
4. Walk around and check out what they are doing. If your spouse has to work during the pack-out, try to have a friend there with you. An extra set of eyes helps keep people accountable.
5. Have personal stuff packed up before the packers arrive. If it’s personal stuff that you will travel with, sometimes it’s a good idea to lock it inside your vehicle.
6. Ask their plan for lunch when they first arrive. Are you going to get them food, did they bring their own, or are they going out? We like to get them food, so they stay and remember they have a job to do.
7. Take pictures of your valuable items beforehand, including all furniture.
8. Do not afraid to call the head office if things are absolutely not going right.
When you think you’ve heard it all, there is always more. Have your PCS moves all gone smoothly or do you have a crazy story to share?