HINCKLEY & SCHMITT Water Man JIM NITKA: follow Jim in his truck and while delivering before going to the plant and shooting the machines which fill the water bottles.
00:00Copy video clip URL Videogapher walks with Jim Nitka as he enters the Hinckley & Schmitt warehouse and distribution center cracking jokes and fraternizing with co-workers he passes. They exit the warehouse and approach a fleet of trucks. Nitka finds his vehicle and takes from the passenger side a manifest.
01:37Copy video clip URL Nitka opens all the compartments on the truck using his manifest to make sure he has all 174 bottles he needs to deliver today. He cracks jokes the entire time.
02:33Copy video clip URL Nitka realizes he needs to get a cooler to set up a new customer. He rounds the truck closing all the doors and asks his boss for help locking the back bay.
03:19Copy video clip URL Videographer and Nitka are in the truck and Nitka drives them to the warehouse to collect the water cooler. Along the drive Nitka calls out silly comments to co-workers. He says he’s been doing this job for about 3 years. He says it’s fun. He notes one must be strong, as the water bottles are upwards of 50-pounds when full. He says as the day goes on the bottles actually start to feel lighter to him.
04:31Copy video clip URL Nitka comments that a typical day is about 10-12 hours, but some days end earlier. Days are long because he has to drive downtown which means dealing with traffic.
05:04Copy video clip URL He notes he is pulling up to Cooler Service, a warehouse housing all the water coolers. He enters the warehouse and parks.
05:39Copy video clip URL Nitka starts a dolly rolling and enters the main warehouse joyfully greeting all his work mates.
06:10Copy video clip URL Video drop outs. Stop/re-start digitizing. Nitka selects a packaged water cooler and adds it to the dolly, explaining that drivers pick out which cooler they want. The staff fixes, cleans and boxes them. He selects a second type of cooler and adds it to the dolly, cracking jokes along the way.
07:22Copy video clip URL Nitka takes his coolers to a checkout staffer named Kim. Nitka and Kim go through the paper work. Nitka explains they log all the serial numbers so that the company can keep track of where the coolers go. Kim comments that Nitka is a great guy. Nitka and a co-worker chit chat and joke around as Nitka pulls his loaded dolly towards his truck and loads them on board. Video drop outs.
09:19Copy video clip URL Nitka gets in his truck, waves silly to the camera, and drives away.
09:46Copy video clip URL Videographer follows in a car behind Nitka’s truck which is traveling on the expressway. The driver notes the skyline in the background and apologizes for hitting all the bumps in the road.
11:00Copy video clip URL Nitka backs his truck up to a loading dock at an apartment and office building. He removes the dolly and starts loading it with water bottles. They are joined by a company employee, Laura, who escorts the videographer. Nitka cracks jokes and experiments with voices as he works. “I’m too big to be doing this stuff!” “If anyone feels like helping, feel free to jump in!” He explains he is loading up 12 bottles, will make his deliveries in the building and return to reload the dolly. He notes that if someone doesn’t pay for their service, the company takes the money from Nitka’s personal paycheck. When asked how many 50-pound bottles fit on a dolly Nitka playfully responds in a mock-authority voice, “Company policy states: twelve.”
14:23Copy video clip URL They wait in line for another deliveryman to fit a sofa through a door. Nitka notes that he spends half his day in elevators or waiting for them. Once in the elevator Nitka notes that it’s a company rule to start at the top of a building and work your way down. They head to the 51st floor. He cracks jokes the whole way up, making funny comments about people they see at various stops. They exit the elevator and Nitka makes his first delivery. He collects the empties and returns to his cart. He says he has a Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from Morton College. He explains the logging process, documenting in a note book what was delivered and when. He writes the balance on a card and places it with the bottles he leaves for the customer. He says that’s it for 51. Now they head to the 44th floor. He jokes about the elevators in Chicago. “Many different elevators in Chicago. Some good ones, a lot of bad ones. If you put too much weight on an elevator you’ll get stuck.”
19:23Copy video clip URL When asked what he likes about his job Nitka laughs nervously and quips, “Not good if you gotta think about it.” He says he likes being on his own, talking with the people, being his own boss. Then he realizes his mistake and goes into a mock-servitude character saying to camera (to his boss), “Sorry Mister Lenny! You is the boss. You is the big boss man.” He jokes to the videographer: “Make sure you edit that out!”
20:16Copy video clip URL Nitka makes a second delivery, hustling a bottle of water down a long corridor. He reads a note left by the customer and comments that he never sees many of his customers. He says he has some famous customers. The guy who does the Cheer commercial. He also delivers to a local journalist. He says he’s seen a lot of famous people while on his route. He says he saw Irv Kupcinet once. “The guy looks like Cary Grant!” (An inside joke commenting on Kupcinet’s line from tape 14110 stating that people think he looks like Cary Grant.)
22:54Copy video clip URL Nitka says he managed a fast food joint in the past. He describes the job as a lot of hours for little money. He notes that water delivery provides a bigger pay check, but the job is similar in that you serve people and you have to get people to like you and your product. He says some of his customers keep the water just because of him.
24:27Copy video clip URL Nitka makes a delivery to a customer, fills out his notes logging the delivery. He approaches another customer’s apartment and discovers the bottle he left two weeks ago is still there. He figures the customer is out of town and logs his book.
25:38Copy video clip URL They are in the elevator trying to go down, but accidentally head back up to the 51st floor.
26:09Copy video clip URL They leave the elevator and Nitak delivers a box to a customer. Nitka gives a plug for Chicago Slices as he walks down the hall.
26:46Copy video clip URL Video drop outs. Stop/re-start digitizing. Videographer and Nitka enter the office. Nitka makes the delivery and fills out accompanying paper work for the customer as they chit chat. The woman says Jim is a sweet guy, always friendly and cheerful. “We look forward to his arrival.”
28:20Copy video clip URL After leaving the customer’s office, Nitka announces to the videographer they are headed to the 29th floor. He jokes that people downtown don’t wake up until about 9.30. In mock sophistication voice he observes: “They have their bagel and cream cheese and amaretto coffee and then start their day at eleven.” He says that throughout his route he observes a lot about Chicago and about its people. He concludes that people who drink water are free spirited and energetic. And that’s Chicago.
30:11Copy video clip URL Nitka’s supervisor Leonard joins the group, checking up on Nitka. They joke around about the paper towel Nitka is supposed to have with him. (Nitka uses a mock voice of superiority to say that he bought his own paper towel and he will get his eight-nine cents reimbursed by the company.) When the videographer asks Leonard how he found them, the group jokes: Leonard knows where Nitka is at all times!
31:20Copy video clip URL Leonard notes he has been with the company nearly nine years. He has been a supervisor five years. When he worked as a route salesman he worked the inner loop. He says desire makes a route salesman successful. Laura says Nitka was route salesman in June. Leonard attributes Nitka’s goofy behavior to Nitka’s father Bud. Bud is a carpenter who always cracks jokes. Nitka notes that with this type of job you have to make it fun. You cannot love to do this job, you just have to do it. It’s not something you want to do for the rest of your life.
34:00Copy video clip URL They enter the elevator and Nitka notes that it’s takes a physically big person to do this job. It has its advantages. Nitka notes he’s 6’3, 235 lbs. Leonard says he averages 6’4, 270 lbs. They joke around in the elevator.
35:05Copy video clip URL Nitka makes another delivery. The videographer notes that all his customers are at the end of the hallway. “Don’t I know it!” Nitka quips. And comically rants at how it’s the trend for water drinkers to live at the end of hallways. The customer answers the door, Nitka and videographer enter. The woman mocks being horrified of being on camera. She notes Nitka is the best water man. They finish their paper work and Nitka heads back to his dolly.
36:50Copy video clip URL B-roll Nitka making a delivery.
37:18Copy video clip URL Back in the elevator the group heads to the 27th floor. Leonard says he is a St Louis Cardinals fan and that he and Laura are both from Missouri. Nitka makes another delivery and notes that he gets to know his customers and they get to know him. If they ever have a problem they know they can call him. He fills out the paper work and leaves a receipt.
39:19Copy video clip URL Nitka makes another delivery. He comments that this customer never leaves out his empty bottles and contemplates that he must keep them and use them for art.
40:10Copy video clip URL Nitka notes that Leonard knows every building in downtown Chicago like the back of his hand.
41:09Copy video clip URL In the elevator Leonard demonstrates the proper way Nitka is supposed to take the bottles off the dolly. Nitka does and makes another delivery. They enter a man’s office. Nitka changes the water bottle but Leonard comes in and chastises Nitka for using an incorrect method. The customer notes that Nitka is good, timely, and courteous. He likes the water and the service, and has Hinckley & Schmitt delivered to both his home and office.
43:25Copy video clip URL In the elevator Leonard notes that the proper way to change a water bottle is for the deliverer to keep the full bottle on his shoulder with one hand while removing the empty with his other hand. This is done to prevent personal injury to his back.
44:16Copy video clip URL The group exits the elevator and Nitka makes another delivery. Leonard demonstrates for camera the proper method for removing a full bottle of water from the cart and dropping it off at a customer door: grab spout using paper towel (to keep the spout sanitary), place the bottle on shoulder, slide bottle off shoulder using the free hand to support. No pressure to the back at all.
45:25Copy video clip URL Nitka makes another delivery.
45:48Copy video clip URL In elevator the group jokes around about the footage for Chicago Slices. Nitka jokes to Leonard that the show won’t make use of all the footage; they’ll edit. Nitka quips to camera about Leonard: “He’s from Missouri. He doesn’t understand editing.” Nitka exits the elevator and makes a delivery.
46:39Copy video clip URL Leonard notes that Nitka’s hair still doesn’t meet company policy to be off the collar. Nitka pulls a sheepish face.
47:24Copy video clip URL Nitka pulls a bottle off the cart and makes a delivery. He does the Waterman Shuffle while he waits for the customer to open her door. He enters. And changes the lady’s water bottle, at first not using the company approved method, but does so when Leonard appears. The customer, an older woman, notes that Nitka is a card and jokes around with Nitka. She says she writes poetry and the videographer reads one hanging on the wall. Nitka and the customer discuss payment options.
50:54Copy video clip URL Back in the hallway waiting for elevator, Leonard tells Nitka he’s still not changing the bottles properly.
51:41Copy video clip URL Outside, Nitka and Leonard are at the truck. Nitka reloads his dolly.
52:07Copy video clip URL A female customer is in hysterics when she sees Nitka is the subject of a TV segment. Leonard makes the delivery and demonstrates the proper way to change a water bottle. The customer says Nitka is wonderful and always leaves her a glass bottle because he knows she doesn’t like plastic.
53:25Copy video clip URL B-roll Nitka fills out paperwork from the delivery.
53:51Copy video clip URL Nitka heads to an office in the building to make a delivery. He enters cheerfully and makes his delivery. One of the employees notes that Nitka is very nice and always very helpful. “We have no problem with him.” The customer is introduced to Leonard and raves about him.
55:06Copy video clip URL Nitka, with bottle on shoulder, heads to an elevator and heads up and into another office. The customer, a young man, says Nitka is a lot of fun and sweet. Lively. Nitka and the customer chit chat.
56:24Copy video clip URL Interior Hinckley & Schmitt factory. B-roll of water bottles on conveyor belt being filled with water. B-roll of caps being separated, bottles getting capped, labelled, and boxed.
59:38Copy video clip URL B-roll, wide shot of the factory.
59:59Copy video clip URL END