"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Nibbled to death by ducks.

Supposedly, it was someone in the State Department, in the '40s or '50s, who thusly likened working there under their endless rules and protocols.

My suspicion is that the sentiment was voiced shortly after the first bureaucrats painted their edicts on the walls of caves (probably "No Painting!" signs).

I don't post as often as I would like, because sometimes the muse shacks up with someone else and all I can do is wait and hope she returns so I can inquire, "Well, did you have a good time?"

So, what's the latest duck to come waddling into my workspace, inspiring her return? ...

... a memo, from the powers that be, that we need to work on our rapport with customers, and a little form to be filled in daily with your little helpful hints.  From this copy of what I turned in, you can see I gave it exactly the respect it deserves.

I just hope it doesn't get me fired for responding that way, but sometimes I just cannot help myself.  I've been that way for a long time.

I was first introduced to bureaucracy and Mickey Mouse crap passed down from on-high (from people with way too much time on their hands), while in the USAF, half a century ago!  In fact, while still in Basic Training. Would you believe that one of my drill sergeants referred to me as an "agitator"?  (He didn't seem all that displeased; I suspect we were actually in agreement where some of my bitching was concerned.)

Ok, then. What's so insane (so Dilberty) about that memo?

"... you could utilize to start the conversation with your customer."

This is a supermarket, where you are trying to move things fairly rapidly. YES!!!  You DO wish to have good relations with your customers, but most customers come here to get something and then get out, because they have other places to go, other things to do, and conversation is NOT what they came in for.  You really want to get people antsy (cashiers, managers and other customers):  get that conversation started while people line up waiting to get their business done and get out.

I'm never good at long conversations and do not try to initiate them. I AM open and friendly, and have never had a complaint about being cold and aloof. Basically, I try to use common sense.

And that is precisely the gripe I have about that (and similar) memos. That they absolutely give you no credit whatever for possessing common sense and take the attitude that they must lead you by the hand every step of the way.

It's degrading, demoralizing and an insult to your intelligence.  I suspect that is considered a sine-qua-non by the people who justify their miserable existences by conjuring up and inflicting those memos on the rest of us.

I promised the manager who hired me that he would not be getting some disgruntled guy showing up with an attitude, and I've done my level best to keep that promise, but sometimes ...

With Dilbert, Scott Adams has probably already said everything I could possibly say on this subject.

I just needed to get that out of my system.


Gary Binkley said...

Does your boss have pointy hair by any chance?????

Paul Gordon said...


But, I'll bet some of the people he answers to does. :-)


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