You Want Fries With That?

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This rant has been in my thoughts for quite a while.  I've worked in various service industries for the last 20 years (man, do I feel old!) and I can not believe the quality of today's workforce!

I mean how hard is it to work at Taco Bell and remember that when someone orders a "taco supreme" it is supposed to come with tomatoes on it?

Or, how about the cashier who doesn't know how to make change properly?  I'm sure that both you and I could go on and on with these type of examples.

I'm 38 yrs old.  When I was growing up, I was taught how to work.  Sayings like "If you're going to do a job, do it right." and "If you can't do a job well, don't bother doing it." and "A job worth doing, is a job worth doing well." were drilled into me by almost all the adults around me.

I remember Mr. Peterson, a baker I worked for one summer as a teenager.  I absolutely hated that man.  No matter what I did, it was wrong!  I was slow, stupid, lazy, a klutz, a moron, and would never amount to anything.  He really made my life a living hell!

Yet, looking back over the years... I find that almost all of my work ethics were taught to me by that man.  I realize now that it was just his way of teaching a kid how to work.  Out of all the bosses I had as a kid, his is the only name I can remember.  Thanks Mr. Peterson for teaching me to work well!

I really don't know what is causing all the bad work ethics I see.  It's not just kids either.  It seems that most people have adopted an "I don't care" attitude.  Everywhere you go, you see clerks, not salesmen!  Do you know the difference?  How many times do you go to a clerk for help and it seems like you're bothering them?  How many times do you ask a question and the clerk doesn't know the answer? And doesn't care either?  Have you ever been to the 'puter section in a Best Buy?  'Nuff said there.

I grew up in Oregon.  Many of the jobs I had as a kid was in a gas station. In Oregon there is no self-serve gas.  At the station I worked at we had two islands with three pumps on each island.  One island was mini-serve and the other was full-serve.  Full-serve customers got priority. They got the gas pumped, the front and rear windshield cleaned, belts and fluids checked, air cleaner checked, and the tire pressure was checked...all done by the time the tank was filled.  Mini-serve customers got the front windshield cleaned and an offer of having their oil checked.  My boss expected me to "hustle" out there.  I always must be smiling, happy, pumped up, excited, and greet regular customers by name.  While on the clock sitting was not an option!  If there were no customers I was to be on the lot picking up trash, cleaning the restrooms (at least 5 times per shift...unlike today, where they're cleaned once per day, whether they need it or not.), or wiping down the pumps.

How many times do you have wait for someone to get off their ass (or the phone) to help you?  Are these people happy to see you, the customer?  Are they smiling?  If I failed to do the above, I would have been fired on the spot!

So who's at fault here?  Who taught these people that it's ok to screw off on the job?  Their parents?  Schools?  Employers?  I don't know.  But I see it everywhere I go.

As a truck driver, a shipper or consignee doesn't care why you're late....only that you ARE late.  It doesn't matter to them if you broke down, had weather problems, or anything else.  When we pick up a load, we treat every load as a hot load.  We don't lose (waste) any time until we're within one hour of delivery.  If the run will take 27 hours to drive and we have 48 hours to do it in... we will always stay at least 4 hours ahead of schedule in case of problems.  I believe it's better to be three hours early and have to wait, then it is to be five minutes late!  Usually we show up at the consignee the night before and sleep on their lot.  That way, when they get to work they see the truck and don't have to worry about if it'll show up today or not.  We have not had a service failure in over 800,000 miles (knock wood).  Most drivers I hear say "It'll get there when it gets there." and "If it's late, they'll really want it then.".

This is a message to all of you that work in a service industry.  Notice the word service!  If you're one of the people that fits the above...I'm ashamed of you!  Service does not mean painting your nails, joking with co-workers, paying bills, reading a book, not knowing your products, not focusing on your job, being mad when a customer needs help, watching the clock, or thinking about what you're going to do after you get off work, while on the job!

If you can't offer fast, good, quality service with a smile all the time, every time, you don't belong in a service industry!  You should quit (or get fired) and get a job where you don't deal with the public!

If you're an employer in a service industry.... How dare you hire people who can't look at a customer while talking to them!  Don't give me that crap about how you can't find good people today!  Have you ever heard of training?  Or firing someone for screwing off?  Trust me, the rest of your employees will get the message.  I remember being the only guy to survive a whole crew firing at a gas station.

Well, do you agree or disagree with me?  Remember, this is my opinion.  You're more than welcome to think I'm full of it.  Feel free to email me and tell me why, but please, no flames, there's no need to be rude.  After all, you chose to read this.

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Last Revised: 12/25/2000
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