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Pallet People Say the Darndest Things - Review of Best Pallet Quotes Since 1992
Quotable Quotes: Pallet people say the darndest things. A look at the most memorable comments we have received for the ‘Quote of the Week’ feature in Pallet Profile Weekly.

By Jeff McBee
Date Posted: 12/1/2006

Art Linkletter had a television show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. They do. Then kids grow and become adults. If they are in the forest products industry, they sometimes say things that become Pallet Profile Weekly’s Quote of the Week.

   Pallet Profile Weekly’s Quote of the Week feature is truly a reader favorite. The Quote of the Week became a regular feature of the Pallet Profile Weekly in October of 1992. The quotes are an excellent barometer of the entire forest products industry, while showing just how wide-ranging a sense of humor this industry has.

   The Quote of the Week can reveal whether business is good or bad, or will tell when pallet prices are too competitive. It can also be a good gauge of the economy, labor problems or dissatisfaction with the government. Sometimes the Quote of the Week will reveal when people are doing the unexplainable – sometimes that includes customers or competitors.

   These quotes are usually a spontaneous response from market calls as I talk with sawmills and pallet suppliers to gauge industry activity.


No Don’t Quote Me!

   Spontaneity is a beautiful thing – especially after a good quip. I’ll frequently comment about the potential for a remark to be a quote of the week. That will often bring a response from the contact trying to beg their way out. “No! That’s not a Quote of the Week!”

   Oh yes it is. We aren’t looking to get anyone in trouble and the Quote is only attributed to the region. Sometimes the state and the comment will be enough to get someone in trouble. Here are some samples where the region was withheld to protect the innocent or guilty party, whichever the case may be.


   “I got a call from a nail supplier telling me about a fall special. I told them they had fallen on their head. This whole industry is so competitive that association meetings will soon be held in the county parks. It’s the only place we’ll be able to afford...and the nail suppliers will be there, too.”

(Location withheld to protect the innocent: 12/4/98)


   “Have you driven a Ford lately?! The impression I get from my buyer is that Ford’s Parts and Service only cares about the price of our pallets! Who cares about our specifications as long as it’s cheap. I guess this is the same buyer that bought the Firestone Tires.”

(Withheld to protect the not so innocent:



   “I got a call from a chain hardware store wanting someone to pick up their pallets. I told them the area I cover and they asked if I picked up appliances. Sure, I can go a couple hundred miles to pick up an Amana microwave. What do I look like? Fred Sanford?”

(Withheld to Protect the Guilty:


   “A good friend is someone you can call when you are in jail. A really good friend is the guy beside you in jail saying, ‘We really screwed up this time.’ ”

(withheld to protect a good friend:


“CHEP can’t count worth #%$*! No! Don’t use that! That’s not quote of the week material – it’s just the truth.”

(Withheld : 8/18/2006)


The Repeat Offenders

   The December 2001 issue of the Pallet Enterprise had the first Quote of the Week article. It seems like yesterday but it’s been five years. That article talked about Lee Killingsworth of Acme Skid in Silsbee, Texas and his knack for one-liners. Lee is not the only repeat offender. Here are some quotes from the repeat offenders – beginning of course with a few gem’s from Lee.


   “One million feet won’t last as long as a paper shirt in a bear fight. It’ll be gone before you can say, ‘No. Don’t do it.’ There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind we’re all getting ready to run out of wood.”

(Texas: 12/20/96)


   “Pallet prices held too long, but are finally going up. It’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer...it feels so good when you stop.”

(Texas: 5/2/97)


   “We thought it was slow until it stopped. Now we know how slow it can be. It’s improving, but it’s been moderately miserable.”

(Texas: 1/25/2002)


   “I’ve always said that if oil got up to $50 a barrel, someone would dig a well. Well, it did, and they did, and now you can’t buy a stick of pallet lumber with a gun in one hand and a checkbook in the other.”

(Texas : 4/22/2005)


   “If you think everything is going alright, you’re not smart enough to know  what’s sneaking up on you.”

(Texas : 2/3/2006)


   Louie Calsavara of Windsor Pallet in Windsor, Ontario is another king of quip. Here is a sampling from Louie.

   “Tell him to hold, Jo Anne. I have to throw Jeff at Pallet Profile off the phone!”

(Ontario: 1/18/2002)

   “Our customer’s motto is, ‘We order what we don’t need, and we need what we didn’t order right now.’ ”

(Ontario: 2/1/2002)

   “Gordie has a bunch of stuff planned for us in Richmond. I don’t think I’ll be able to make half of it. I’ve gotta play golf... Yeah, if you quote me, say it came from Alberta.

(Ontario : 2/8/2002)

   “The automotive OEMs want all of the corners cut to save money, but that happened long ago. They have taken lowering costs to the point of failure. You can’t re-engineer the wheel. My competitor told me he delivered for free because he had no cost. I asked him if he had fallen out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.

(Ontario : 2/7/2003)   


   Bruce Benton at Hunter Woodworks in Carson, CA is another repeat offender with a way with words. Here are some of his better quotes.


   “The day starts cloudy and cool, then by afternoon it’s 7,000 degrees. People come in with boots and jackets, and by lunchtime everybody is naked. Only two people don’t want to see me naked – my wife and everybody else!”

(California 7/2/2004)


   “It rained so hard that I hydroplaned all the way to work. They say you can’t control a car that’s going sideways – they haven’t seen me drive!”

(California : 11/5/2004)


   “I’m getting a lot of calls. There’s one guy who is calling every day. I told him last Friday that I needed to take inventory over the weekend. The phone was ringing at 7:30 Saturday morning when
I got here. They won’t take no for an answer!”

(California : 5/6/2005)


Pallet Philosophy

   Being part of the pallet industry requires a different mindset – pallet people just think differently. Here’s a dose of philosophy pallet style.


   “There are two theories to arguing with a woman . . . Neither one works.”

(Virginia: 7/20/01)


   “I don’t think this purchaser is a complete idiot. I’m almost certain that he is missing some parts.”

(Virginia : 6/3/2005)


   “A lot of guys in the pallet business are not rocket scientists because – they are not rocket scientists.”

(Oregon : 8/12/2005)


   “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away, and you have their shoes.”

(Virginia : 7/7/2006)


   “I want to know who the surgeonis who performed that guy’s charisma bypass.”

(New England : 10/13/2006)


Those Blue Pallets

   CHEP marked pallets are often found at the center of controversy. Not coincidentally, there are plenty of opinions and some of them are humorous.


   “I had a dream about Hurricane Isabel. It was sort of like the Wizard of Oz. The house was flying around, and I looked out the window and saw Elton Potts on a bicycle.”

(Oregon : 9/26/2003)


   “I saw 400 to 500 CHEP USA pallets in a yard in Pusan, South Korea. I asked Elton how he was going to get those back for $2.25!”

(Washington : Recycle Record
March 2005)

Current Events

   When the news collides with the pallet industry, EVERYBODY ends up talking about it. In 1998, it was the Wall Street Journal’s pallet assault. In 2006, it was the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) raids on IFCO.

   “IFCO announced its annual general meeting on Tuesday, and then all the trouble broke loose on Wednesday. Talk about timing. I guess the German family that owns so much stock are all sitting around a table saying, ‘ACHTUNG!’ ”

(withheld to protect the troublemaker : 4/28/2006)


   “I’m still busy. I got a lot of IFCO business that I wasn’t expecting. I thought about writing a letter to the INS thanking them for the additional business.”

(withheld to protect the thankful party: 11/3/2006) 


When You Think About It

   Sometimes the Quote of the Week takes a serious turn. The observations show the insights of the entrepreneurs. Then sometimes the insightful thoughts become a humorous take on the industry.


   “In Europe, you have to take a course before you can drive a forklift. All you have to do here is just put your beer down.”

(Pennsylvania : 3/15/2002)


   “I got a ticket from the fire department for not having an address on my fence line. They said they needed to be able to find my plant. I told them if my place catches fire, you could find it from space!”

(Washington : 4/25/2003)   


The Politics of the
Forest Products Industry

   The delicate task of dealing with other people can be even trickier in the forest products industry. Sometimes it’s your employees or employer, other times it’s a customer or vendor. Every once in a while it is a competitor or the government. Here are some insights that became quotable.


   “We always couch our threats in good ol’ boy language so everyone can keep their pride in tact.”

(Kentucky : 7/11/2003)


   “You don’t want to rile the girls in accounting. They’re big enough to go bear hunting with a switch.”

(Missouri : 10/24/2003)


   “I got a call from a mill that I have a standing order with. He said his price was up five bucks. I told him that my price was down five. After an awkward 15 second pause, he said we should put on a load at the old price.”

(Oregon : 8/22/2003)


   “Insurance with less coverage – up 30%. Gas, labor, nails and lumber – up 10%-25%. Competing for business with an idiot – priceless!

(Western Canada : 2/6/2004)


   “Lumber is like women. The good looking stuff is taken and the ugly stuff is abundant. Maybe some drinks will help!”

(Alberta : 12/24/2004)

   “Sawmillers are odd. If they lost money cutting seven-by-sevens 14 years ago, they’ll never go back. They say, ‘Yeah, that was a hot product, and I got stuck with a bundle and lost $43.32.’ They might make a lot of money if they listened, but all they can think of is the $44.”

(Missouri : 2/10/2006)

   “That little tidbit about the lumber futures made my day. I was beginning to think that lumber had no future.”

(Oregon : 7/28/2006)

   “I’m dealing with a new purchasing agent. It’s a long story... Imagine the worst, and then there’s this lady.”

(Minnesota: 6/26/98)


I Should Be Quoted

   You may be wondering why you haven’t been quoted in the Pallet Profile Weekly. It may be that we haven’t called you. If you are interested in being part of our information network, simply call (800) 805-0263 and ask for Jeff. I’ll be happy to add you to my call list. Maybe, just maybe you’ll have as much fun as I do.

   The Quote of the Week is just one of many features of the Pallet Profile Weekly. Each week, for example, we track 27 regions in the hardwood pallet industry, bringing you information about prices for cants, boards, and average prices for new and used modified GMA pallets. This is the kind of information that our subscribers use to stay abreast of the business climate in their region.

   The Pallet Profile Weekly is an unbiased source of information that they share with purchasing agents and other buyers to justify pallet prices.

   The Pallet Profile Weekly is also dedicated to the West Coast and Canadian pallet industry  providing similar information on raw materials, lumber and pallet prices. Each week, we chart average prices for hardwood cants and Western Douglas fir and SPF softwoods, giving you a visual snapshot of price trends for the past 12 months.

   All in all, the Pallet Profile Weekly gives our subscribers the information edge they need to do business and be profitable. Each week, we help them improve their bottom line.

   Many readers frequently tell us that the Pallet Profile Weekly is “the most important publication in the pallet industry.” The Pallet Profile Weekly has become a “must read” for pallet manufacturers and recyclers. Why? Quite simply, the Pallet Profile Weekly goes to work for you and helps you sell pallets.

   Our industry faces challenging times ahead; together we can face the challenges, adjust and profit.

   Call today for a special offer! Dial 800/805-0263 and ask for Jeff.

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