December 31, 2009
The morning of the move, get yourself set up the way you did for move-out day. Head to the store and get breakfast, lunch and drinks for the movers. Once they arrive, introduce yourself, walk them through the house to let them know where things should go, and make it clear that you expect them to unpack (not just unload) ALL
the boxes they’re delivering. Every single box must be unpacked and the box itself removed from the premises.
Otherwise, you will be mired in boxes for weeks and procrastiate with further unpacking. You don't need to deal with this! Regardless of what they claim, the military has paid the movers for their time and help on this end as well, so they should honor that.
After laying down your expectations, keep in mind (your grandma was right) it is easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar. So be as pleasant as possible while holding a tough line, and try to have music of their choice playing throughout the day to make it go by more quickly for everyone.
Regardless of refreshments and kind words, many movers will still balk at this and be annoyed (hoping you’ll back down and do the work they were paid for), but they have already been paid for their time and labor, and once you agree that they can leave, you’ve waived your right to complain or get their help back, so brace yourself for a little ‘tude and make the most of the help. If they really start to hassle you, call TMO and report the behavior (preferably while they’re still there) or if the office is closed, try the Inspector General at the base who will come and help sort out the problem.
Keep in mind, while they’re responsible for getting everything out of the boxes, they are not responsible for putting things away. Don’t waste their valuable time trying to get your house perfectly put together while they’re on the clock. Just make sure everything is out, not damaged and in locations you can get to (not in one big pile.) As you’re doing this, make sure that either you or your husband are carefully checking the inventory lists. As the boxes come in, tick them off the main inventory list and direct the movers as to where the box should go. If any are missing or damaged, regardless of what the company tells you, write it down on the DD Form 1840 (a pink copy of the paperwork for TMO). You can also ask the mover to check the warehouse for lost items, but not until you’ve put in writing exactly what’s missing. Do not sign any paperwork until you’ve had a chance to inventory the boxes and noted any missing or damaged items. Although you have 70 days after the move to report any items that are damaged or missing for the military to reimburse you the “Full Replacement Value” of the item, it’s important to report the quality of the goods to the military both for verification, and to ensure quality control measures on the military’s part when they hire out contracted movers. This is when you’re going to be really grateful for those photos you took or that video you made documenting your goods, so that the military will pay you the full value you deserve and in a timely manner.
At the end of the move, the movers are required to take the empty, unpacked boxes with them. This can be a really important step as many waste management companies won’t haul moving boxes -- you have to pay to remove them! -- and it’s illegal to dump them into commercial dumpsters. If you do find yourself stuck with a truckload of boxes, break them down and try to find a local recycling center, but, sadly, this can be tougher than it should be in military areas.