Freight Broker Pump & Dump Scheme

I glanced around the Freight Brokerage floor for a moment—it was a circus, as usual.

Freight Broker Pump & Dump Scheme

I glanced around the Freight Brokerage floor for a moment—it was a circus, as usual.

Casey was yelling at a trucker: “take the load! Just take it! $5000 is a market rate!” Salazar slammed his phone down and called someone an idiot. Noah took a drag from his vape. Mollie had the aux cord and was piping Bikini Kill over the loudspeakers: the crashing of cymbals, an off-beat kick drum, and the lofi bitching about something or other. It was early and I felt like bitching, too.

The mission for the day was to make 200 cold calls. That’s it—just talk to as many businesses as possible and harass them until they send us a load. A truckload of watermelons, steel, toilet paper, or whatever—it doesn’t really matter what. We’ll take the load and then pray to the Freight Gods that we can find a truck to move it for less. Margins, baby.

Kyle noticed something I was doing wrong. I heard him go “pff” as he swung over to point it out. He’s the Senior Sales Rep from Chicago. Tall guy, handsome, with the eyes of a maniac. If you told me he kept his ex-girlfriends in the refrigerator, I’d believe you. But he was one hell of a freight broker, and today he was showing me the ropes.

“You know what?” He said, turning away from his standup desk. “I’ll show you how to win some freight… Here, give me your phone.”

“My phone?” I asked.

“Yes, your phone Chris. Let me borrow your cell phone for a minute. I’m gonna show you a little trick I use for hunting. Works every time.”

I handed Kyle my phone and took a swig of coffee. Here we go, I thought.

“I’ve got a customer down in Woodville, Mississippi.” His eyes narrowed. “Total Bumfuck, Egypt. Guy runs a lumber mill down there. He’s got tons of freight, but the rates are grimy… He lets the loads rot away until the cheapest trucker calls in.”

Kyle punched in a number and listened to the tone. “His name is Jimbo . . . I swear to god, bro.” He whispered to me.

Jimbo picked up.

“Hahh, this is Jimbo, how may ah help yew?” He said in a muddy, twangy draw.

Kyle went right into his pitch, but oddly he was speaking in a different voice: “Howdy there sir, this is Jeff calling in from Speedy Logistics! Do you have any loads I could move for ya today?” Kyle’s voice was squeaky and high, like he was impersonating his little brother. Why was Kyle disguising himself? Was he having a manic episode?

“Weeeall,” Jimbo said. “Ah’ve got some lumber ah need moved up tuh Albuquerque this week. Each one is settin’ at 48,000 pounds a pop. Yew got uh truck for me?”

Kyle looked at me, winked, then returned to the call. “Why yes sir I do, I’ve got an empty truck, gassed up, and ready to roll for just $4000!”

Four grand?!” Jimbo gasped. He was appalled. “Ah’m used tuh payin’ half that!”

“Well, sir.” Kyle said, carrying on his abnormally squeaky voice and newfound alias. “Have you seen the spike in diesel? Or the mudslides in your area? Also, my carrier partners tell me it’s 20 loads per truck in Mississippi… The market flipped overnight and unfortunately for you, sir, you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of it. $4000 is my best rate—take it or leave it.”

“Yahhh, wheel see about that!” Jimbo shouted. Then he hung up and went back to whatever he was doing.

“Did you hear that?!” Kyle asked, smiling ear to ear. “Jimbo has sticker shock—he was repulsed when I gave him my rate! . . . Step one is complete.”

Kyle handed me my phone. Then he looked at his watch and counted, his bottom jaw slightly open, utterly thrilled with himself.

A minute passed.

“Now check out step two.” He picked up his phone and punched in Jimbo’s number. Jimbo picked up. Kyle introduced himself with his normal voice and name: “Gooood morning, sir! Do you have any Albuquerque loads available?”

“Yeh, whatchyu got?” Jimbo asked suspiciously.

“Well,” Kyle said, “I’ve got a truck that just unloaded and he’s real desperate to get home for the weekend. Real desperate. We’re just lookin’ to cover his fuel on the way back . . . can you do $3000?”

“$3000?! Even with the mud-slads?!” Jimbo asked.

“Yessir.” Kyle said.

“That’s thuh best rate ah’ve heard today! Lock it een buddy!”

“Yes sir! We’ll get the truck over there ASAP!”

They hung up, then Kyle sent him the contract.

Kyle turned to me, fist clenched: “You see that?!”

Then he turned to the Carrier Reps sitting behind him and hollered: “I’ve got a schmoker hittin’ the board! . . . Mississippi to New Mexico . . . who wants to book a g-rip on this flatty?!”

The boys across the bullpen came alive. A kid in a baseball hat shouted: “let’s fucking go, dude!” Another one said: “feed the beast!” I heard the ring of a cowbell and the crack of a Lone Star.

From that point on, I would never look at the Trucking Industry the same way.

I went back to making calls.

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