One More Employee

With my post on why it’s not good when we wait in a line, it should be obvious for the need for more workers. Yet, we seem to live in a society that devalues a human employee because of costs. It’s one thing to replace all cashiers with automatic registers. It’s another thing to have long lines.

This comes back to other things as well. If I am waiting for service at a restaurant, it’s the equivalent of waiting in line for something. Like a grocery store, once I have entered the restaurant and started ordering food I am stuck with the speed of the service. I may not go back to that restaurant’s location again, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

I should be more specific about the scenario of which I am thinking. After all, what can you do if every table is full at a restaurant but wait? It happened last Sunday, where there were many tables open and we still had to wait outside of the restaurant. A part of me figured that maybe they just had to clean a few tables to be able to seat us. That might be all that it was, as we were seated within 10 minutes of arriving. But when we tried to order, we were turned down a few times by different servers. In Japan, you don’t necessarily have the same server over the course of the meal, so it didn’t really matter who took our order.

These are both very minor incidents, and if you want to label them as first-world problems, go ahead. But the point is not that I had a bad day. The point is that with unemployment rates still an issue, it’s ridiculous that a business like that one, where I paid $14 for a lunch with no drinks and one plate (I was hungry again less than 4 hours later…) can’t hire just one more part-timer. This is exactly how I feel about grocery stores. It’s ridiculous if there are lines and there are registers that could be used by a worker that aren’t being used. Raise your prices slightly if you have to. I know some people will complain, but I would rather pay a little bit more and employ more people.

I can see the standpoint of the employer because I worked at a grocery store. It’s easy to hire any high schooler and they might just be sitting around when it’s not so busy. You definitely don’t want people floating around. But then, you can’t always know how many people you’re going to need at any given time. Convenience stores in Japan seem to do a good job at having enough employees at any time. If they’re not at the register, they are stocking shelves.

One idea that comes to mind is this-if you are dissatisfied with the service, you don’t have to go there. That’s mostly true; as I said before, I won’t be going to that particular branch of that restaurant again anytime soon. However, it seems that many sectors of businesses have already succumbed to this style of business for its customers. I am talking about the airline industry, which sometimes really could use an extra worker or two. I am also talking about the cable company that puts you on hold for over 20 minutes (I mean…really?).

This is exactly why every company or store that serves customers in this way owes it to themselves to hire one more employee. If every airline hired one more employee per airport, it would cost the airline quite a bit of money, that is to be sure. But why are there lines at check-in that are 30 minutes long? Did the passengers and the airline just get unlucky with a surge of people checking-in? Maybe.

But I can’t stand it when companies tout how they’re going to make things quicker by installing computers. What they’re telling you is that instead of hiring a real person, we’re going to have a computer assist you. Heaven forbid it should break down, you’d need a real person to assist you anyways, but…hey, somebody is saving money somewhere.