Someone was cleaning out a closet at my parent’s place, and found this:
It’s in pretty good shape for a nametag created in 1992-ish. The name sticker hasn’t peeled off and it’s still easy to read.
I now present you with a seventeen year old rant about my time at Taco Bell, written today from the perspective of me in 1992.
Obviously there are a lot of problems with making computer systems to tell the future and then punishing the manager when it fails to do so. The system doesn’t look at anything other than how much the store makes an hour. If you did $100 worth of business, then it concludes the place was dead and you only needed a couple of people. $100 works out to a customer every five minutes or so, so yeah. You don’t need a lot of people – assuming all customers are evenly spaced. But in the real world – which is where my store is located – customers come in blitzkrieg waves. Like, when Wal-Mart closes, twenty customers show up at once. With only two of us, we can’t hope to keep up. People will sit in the drive thru for fifteen minutes. We have a one lane drive-thru. Once you enter, you can’t get out. Do you have any idea how pissed off people are after being trapped for fifteen minutes? So we have twenty minutes of total destruction, angry customers, terrible service, refunds, and misery, and then forty minutes of no customers at all as we try to recover. And the computer will tell us we only needed two people, and then chide us for astronomical service times.
The system also doesn’t take into account the fact that you can’t make people work hours selectively. “Oh Bob. We need you to work on Friday night at six for an hour. Then at nine for an hour. Then come in again around two for the bar rush. Thanks.” If you need three people at nine and three people at two, then you need three people the whole time, no matter how slow it is at midnight.
The whole thing is just this really messed up way of asking us to do the impossible, because no human being would have the nerve to look at the work we’re doing an claim we’re lazing around all day. So instead we have this stupid computer system that does the same thing, but you can’t argue with a computer. They’ve been through three store managers since I got here, and they’re calling this a “problem store”. It’s not a problem store. It’s a store with chaotic business patterns that can’t be predicted by their computer. We’ve got the high school, the intermediate school, the farmshow grounds, the lake, the state park, a movie theater, and two different shopping plazas nearby. We’re sitting on the nexus of a couple of major roads. This isn’t a problem store, it’s a good location for a fast food joint. You just have to be able to deal with unpredictable surges. You can either keep enough people around to serve them when they show up, or you admit you don’t care how much our service sucks, how dirty the place is, or how slow our service times are.
How come we get one of these ties showing up every four months to stand over us and try to figure out why this is a problem store? I could tell you what’s wrong with this place without ever looking at the building: It’s run by an idiot computer.
I hate this place.
It’s interesting that the thing I hated most wasn’t the “demeaning” work, the low pay, the sore feet, or the fact that we were all dressed like the Special Olympics baseball team. At the end of it all, what I really hated was not being able to do a good job. I never hated the job more than when I’d hand some grim, silent family their tacos, bump the order (mark the order as complete) and see that they placed it fifteen minutes ago. They probably pulled in here in good spirits, looking for a quick bite to eat, and now they’ve been stuck in my drive-thru purgatory for a quarter hour. We just ruined their evening. We suck.
I like Taco Bell food*, but I don’t go there any more because of how angry I get over how unfair the system was. The store is still there. I wonder if they ever figured it out.
* Well, it’s not bad for fast food, anyway. I don’t confuse it with real Mexican food or anything.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. What was your first job?
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