By: Allyson Miller, Army Spouse

The first day of school always looms large on the calendar. Most military friends I know who do a military PCS over the summer work to get the last of the boxes unpacked and the house organized. I mean, who wants to start the school year in chaos? Shouldn’t that be reserved for that magical time of the year when soccer season intersects with the ballet recital or the week before Christmas when every club and organization wants to have a holiday gathering?

Military Word of Mouth

As my friends rush about, trying to find a new home for every spatula, party platter and picture fame, I gently remind them to take 5 or 10 minutes to review their movers on PCSgrades. It is not always a priority, but as the horror stories pile up, so it should be.

Of our eight active-duty moves, this PCS to Southern California is only the second painless move we’ve experienced. Most of my friends claim that it’s because we were ahead of the summer PCS cycle. Relocating in early May meant working with the top tier moving companies. And I am inclined to agree with them. However, from the beginning, I treated this move just like the last five. PCSes where movers left trash in our house, made racist remarks in front of our son, stole a furniture dolly, left multiple items unwrapped or unpacked and took four days to complete a two-day job.

Seeking Info on my Movers

Our movers for this military PCS did not appreciate my attitude. In their eyes, it was undeserved. They also felt they were being penalized for someone else’s unprofessionalism. But how could I know what to expect from them? I had searched the PCSgrades website for some clue as to who would be packing our house and moving it from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. But there were no reviews. There were no indications of whether I should be relieved or worried.

I Paid It Forward

So, after all the boxes arrived, after everything was accounted for and unpacked, with only one cracked Mason jar and a busted Dollar Store basket to show for it, I did it. I sat down and wrote a review of everyone who had been involved with our PCS.

Sure to include how quickly and carefully the packers worked, I told how the driver patiently noted every scratch and dent already on our furniture. Included was the frustration the movers felt when I followed them around all morning, assuming they were going to steal or miss something. They weren’t grumbling about how hot it was. There were no complaints about how heavy our stuff was. They simply wanted me to trust them to do their jobs. Old habits die hard, my friends.

Perhaps my suspicion and doubt are hard-earned, justified even. But why is that fair to this set of packers and movers who, in their minds, had proven themselves to be trustworthy and disciplined professionals?

Share the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

If Allyson’s moving company had been reviewed on PCSgrades.com, she might have been able to relax a bit. That is the beauty of paying it forward and sharing the good, the bad, and even the ugly of a military PCS move. 

The reviews we write not only benefit military families looking for some kind of reassurance during a tumultuous time, but can also give credit where credit is due. As my team of all-women packers from Armstrong Moving said, “We pack a lot of homes at Carlisle Barracks. Some women cry when they see us at their door. They’ve heard about us through the military word of mouth and they are so happy.”

And that is just one example of the grapevine that crisscrosses military installations all over the world. We need to turn those military word of mouth testaments, bad and good, into researchable reviews.

Hell to the Yeah!

Here at PCSgrades, we couldn’t agree more with Allyson. While it might feel good in the moment to air your frustrations about a military PCS move, that Facebook post will be hard to find in the future when you want to reference it.

Leave your reviews for your fellow military and veteran families where they can find it when they need it most. PCSgrades.com is easy, accessible, exclusive to the military and veteran community, and best of all, it’s FREE. It’s the military word of mouth that has existed for decades, updated for the digital, fast-paced, information-obsessed age we live in.

Allyson Miller is an Army spouse, a regular contributor to PCSgrades, mother of one and a blogger for The NeighborGood. Her blog focuses on finding and sharing the experiences that make each duty station unique. Her family is currently stationed in Los Angeles.

Allyson Miller

Army Spouse