Thursday, September 18, 2008

it's not about the popcorns!

The last book I managed to finish entirely in one sitting was Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. I had 3 hours to kill in KLCC, so I waltzed into Kinokuniya and picked up a book that seemed the most interesting. I had never heard of him before but I would later learn that I read it on the very same day he passed away.

In the book, he talked about a time when he was a kid and he went to Disneyland with his parents and his sister. His parents then allowed them to roam free on their own for a while. His sister and him, grateful that they were granted that freedom by their parents, decided to buy them a present from the gift shop with their remaining pocket money. When they walked out of the gift shop, he somehow dropped the package and broke the mug that they bought.

Distraught, and on the verge of crying, they were ready to walk away when a stranger approached them and asked them to try to go back into the gift shop, tell the store manager their story and see if they could get a new mug. Randy couldn't believe that it could be done - he knew it was his fault, but he tried it anyway. To his surprise, the store manager agreed on the spot to give him a new mug and even apologised for not wrapping it enough, causing it to break when it was dropped.

The book goes on to say how Randy collaborated with Disney many times during his professional career and how his parents were so impressed with Disney's customer service that they ended up giving Disneyland back more business over the years just because of a $12 mug. He then questions - if you are in the service industry, does your company have a policy that would allow your staff to do what the Disneyland guys did? Would your managers punish a store clerk for giving an 8 year old kid a new mug to replace one that he broke? You claim that your customers are always right and that you will do anything to please them. Are you really?

Going back to my previous story about the popcorns, it was really about the popcorns. It didn't hurt me that I didn't get to have the popcorns. In fact it was healthier that I didn't get to indulge in junk food. Indeed, I walked away, thinking what a muppet the counter lady was, walked into the cinema hall, watched the movie and then went home and blogged about it.

It would have stopped there if not for the comments of a few people who seemed to think that it wasn't the girl's fault - and when I thought about it, it probably wasn't. I could blame her for her stupidity and her indescretion, but this job has thought me that you can't blame RM5/hour workers.

There is something incredibly stupid about a management that thinks that they cannot trust their workers with popcorn to the extent that they need to keep track of how many boxes are left at the end of the day. Dammit, you're not selling boxes of gold, it's popcorn for fucks sakes! How much popcorn can your employees steal a day? How much money do you lose from your employees eating your goddamn popcorn?

Take that into consideration, versus the number of people you annoy and the sales you fail to make just because you didn't have the right sized box, and we have a damn stupid policy with which someone needs to be shot.

I know, it's just freaking popcorn.

But there's a lesson to be learnt everyday and best you learn from other people's stupidity.


ur popcorn incident reminds me of an old employer of mine, trying to save money by not hiring an extra part time staff on a busy night (restaurant business). in the end, he gave up the chance to earn at least AUD400 and decided to save AUD50 for the extra staff's pay. due to short handed, the bar couldnt deliver the long order list of beverages and alcohols.

Well come to think of it, its actually easier for the staff to steal if they sell them based on boxes.

Perhaps there isn't another index that they can base on to measure sales?


Now I agree with you. You can't blame those workers. It's not their fault they're stupid. And it's not their fault that the management gives strict orders and you can't blame them for following it to the letter.

So idiot watch has to look for bigger idiots behind the small ones.


that's actually a very good observation. it's always "the system" that's to blame.

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