I don’t like waiting in lines. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked out of a store because the line was long and usually there might only be one person working the whole store and maybe two and it is simply not enough. A recent experience at Office Depot caused me to blog about it. I go in to put in an order for stationary and business cards which lets say is over $200. Well the way Office Depot works is they have a computer template to design the stationary. Amazingly it has less features than Microsoft Word – meaning they cannot set something exactly 1/2 inch off the top, they have to guess.
But here is my real gripe. There were two people working in the area that does stationary/copying etc. One of them went somewhere else in the store and now there was one. The person who was helping me needed time to do my stuff because you are picking paper stocks, colors, font sizes etc. Meanwhile there is a line developing and there is no one to service them. So she stops working with me to see what they want and it like “I need six copies of this”, etc – even at dime a page and I don’t know what they charge, it is a 60 cent order. She did this a couple of times, until I told my order is over $200 and I don’t want this to take a half hour more than it needs to so you can make six copies of something. I am actually surprised more people who were waiting just didn’t walk out – I would have and maybe some did after I left.
I have walked out of my local CVS on more than one location because the line to cash out was too long. When this happens they will call someone who is doing something else like perhaps stock “John to your register” over the speaker and then they have two checkout lines. But this is due because these greedy corporations don’t want to spend the money on one person to stock shelves and one to check people out, they want one person doing two jobs and you wonder why there is double digit unmployment in this country.
I walk out of ice cream stores all the time which actually is not bad given my waistline I really don’t need the ice cream. They often have one person working the counter – if they have to do anything complex like make a shake, while they are doing that another worker could have taken care of cones for two other people at least. The problem is there are too many bean counters in corporate America. They can see the cost of an additional worker, it shows up in a report. But they don’t see all the customers who walk out without ordering. Given the low cost of most retail service workers, it does not take too many walkouts, to where the lost business revenue exceeds the cost of having to hire an additional worker.
But I also blame the customers because not enough of them walk out – unless you really need something like a prescription filled right then, walk out – the more of us who walk out, eventually it will get noticed and communicated to the bean counters in the ivory towers. The most precious commodity is not money or oil or soybeans or gold it is time. Don’t give your time away to idling away waiting – all the waiting we do in lines, in vehicle traffic is an incredible loss of productivity in this country and God knows how much we can increase the GDP with better use of time.
But if we want to make a dent in the unemployment numbers, we need to walk, protest, and write more complaint letters about shoddy service, so the bean counters will hire more front line workers. Hey I have an idea, less have more unemployment, but let’s fire the bean counters and hire people who actually deliver a service.