I get up at 4 a.m. In this phase I got used to it well. Sometimes I wake up before the alarm clock. My wife hears nothing. I’ve always been an early riser. It’s still dark at 4 a.m., but it gets a little lighter around 5 a.m. It’s harder to get up when it’s cold. As soon as I get my coffee, I’m a morning person. It’s too early for breakfast, so I’ll have a sandwich later.
Arrive at DPD warehouse at Rosemount Business Park. When we get in, the trailers are there. They come from the sorting office – the depot in Athlone. When the packages come off the trailer, we sort out those that come off the conveyor. I have all the packages for my specific area down on the floor ready to be scanned. This takes about two and a half hours.
You have to predict when you will deliver. In the morning, a customer receives an SMS with the exact time the package will arrive. DPD has a great system. Because of this scanning, 95 percent of your customers would be home knowing you’re coming. Then we set off and start our run.
I do this from Finglas Village to Ikea in Ballymun. If I know there will be traffic — near schools, for example — I’ll go in the opposite direction or allow extra time so I can get deliveries within the hour allotted. As a rule, we have two to three minutes per delivery. You have to pack the van the way you want to unload it. The guys call my van the Tardis because I’m so into it.
They could deliver anything – clothes, toys or dog food. It could even be a car door. During lockdown people have got used to ordering their little things online and although we are no longer in lockdown they continue to do so. Covid has completely changed the game in our industry. In some areas where you might have had one driver, you now have four. I know many customers by name and they also know me by name.
Our policy is to treat each and every box as if it were fragile. If you were spotted on camera throwing a box across the floor, you were reprimanded. Everything but clothes is precious cargo. You can throw a sweater. It won’t break.
Generally you know the area where you could jump out and run to a door, but you need to know the location of the land because you never know when or where someone would try the lock. We have your product in the back of the van, so we have a duty to bring it to you.
Delivery to homes is not usually a problem as there is parking but apartments can be difficult. Buzzers are often broken or a person may have their phone on silent. It’s the only job I’ve ever had where someone is in a bad mood but is still happy to see you.
The generosity of the people is incredible. Yesterday I walked up to a door and a guy gave me two big bars of chocolate to say thank you. Sometimes women meet me at the door because they don’t want their husbands to know they’ve shopped online again. But often there are lighthearted jokes about it.
I love my job because of the freedom. You’re out and about meeting people every day, and if you’ve done it right with DPD, you’re left in peace. I used to work in an office and couldn’t take it anymore. DPD is a very good company. There is no sick pay issue and there is a contributory pension but they will give you the instructions to do so.
If you don’t deliver something, take it back to the warehouse and reschedule the delivery. Then turn off your scanner and you’re done for the day.
I finish work at 1 p.m. When I come home I’m like a coil of wire. In the afternoon I eat a snack. Then I might go for a walk or ride my bike. If there is something to do at home, you have time for it. It’s not just about the work. You have to live too. If I go to bed at 9 p.m., I’m out like a switch.
Interview by Ciara Dwyer
https://www.independent.ie/business/irelands-best-employers/a-day-in-the-life-des-culliton-dpd-driver-41670533.html A day in the life: Des Culliton, DPD driver