5 Things Military Movers Want You to Know

Things Military Movers Want You to Know
A good reminder from a military mover that it's important to treat people kindly. (US Navy/Russell Stewart)

Updated: 3/25/2021

I am a packer. I work for a moving company, and I go to houses every day and pack military family belongings. I have so much respect for these military families and everything they go through.

I enjoy my job... most of the time. But when I see comments online about how packers and movers are all thieves and disrespectful, and that they need you to hover over them while they pack and load, I feel sad.

I want you to know our point of view.

5 things you didn't know about military movers

We don't try to make your move more stressful.

Moving is stressful to start with, but maybe you feel like we make it worse because you are not organized to start with? If we walk into a home and it is unorganized or messy, or you pull everything off the walls and out of your cabinets and set it on the counters, tables and floors, it makes our job 10 times harder. And that makes your move more stressful. We have to constantly ask questions, ask you to move things or possibly end up accidentally breaking something when you do this.

We are not maids.

We are at your home to pack up your belongings, not clean. I was sent to help a crew pack a house once, and my day was going pretty well until I stepped foot in their home.

I almost turned around and left. The couches were soiled with urine and food. The floors were slippery from dog pee. The crib had poop stuck to it, including the walls surrounding it. But the only room that was halfway clean was the master bedroom to which I got assigned.

After I packed it all up the owner walked in and asked why there were still things on the floor. I said it was because they were empty soda cans, and she told me to pack those, too. So I crawled on my hands and knees and picked-up trash off the floor.

The next day I found a rash on my wrists, then my arms, then my elbows, and went to the emergency room. I had SCABIES -- yes, scabies! I was mortified. They spread to my daughter. And that's when I put my foot down and refused to pack a dirty house.

We should not have to work in those conditions, but we do because if we refuse to pack a house, that's refusing money to put food on the table for our families.

Not all of us steal.

I have enough respect for you and my company to not take something that is not mine. Pretty much common sense, right? Well, some people like to stand over us while we're packing, presumably to make sure we don't take their things. That's like saying "Hey, I think you're a thief, so I'm going to stand here and watch you." We hate that -- especially those of us that aren't thieves. We don't need anyone standing over us to get the job done.

We don't break anything on purpose.

Accidents happen. Most of us don't deliberately throw your items in a box so that they will break. I take my time and treat your items as if they were my own. I don't want to break something that costs more than my car.

We don't expect you to tip or provide water.

But it's nice when you do. We come to work with our own lunch and water, we do not expect you to provide any of that. We do get paid to come to your house and provide a service.

But common courtesy is still nice. I recently had Direct TV installed in my house, and while the serviceman was outside in the sun installing satellites and crawling in the attic hooking up wires, we did offer him a cold beverage. To me that's just common courtesy -- when you have a guest in your home you make them feel comfortable. That's just the way I was raised. But we don't expect you to do so.

I've had shippers who have made me cry and pushed me to my limits, but I would never disrespect anyone. I was taught to respect my elders and have some manners.

But our job is not easy. We do not get paid as much as everyone thinks, especially those of us who are packers.

Please don't think that all of us are out to ruin your things or mess up your home and steal your stuff. When I walk into your home I'm there to get the job done right and leave your home in the condition it was when I arrived.

--The author of this piece asked that his name not be used to protect his employment.

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