Socialism in the Workplace

I’ve had occasion to observe an alarming trend in our food establishments. I don’t know what to do about this, but would like to consider options as to how this might be changed.

I’m referring to the incipient socialism taking over in the restaurants in our area–maybe your area, too.

I was at a Subway for breakfast about 7:15am. There was only one server setting up for the morning. They open at 7. Ahead of me was a lady who had ordered six foot-long sandwiches. The server began my order while that one was working. She was very efficient with her time and her movements behind the counter, plus she was very pleasant.

The lady tried to give a tip for the excellent service, but the girl refused at first. Finally relenting to the older woman, she took it and said, “I will tell the manager about it when she comes in.”

Later, I had opportunity to ask her about the tip.

“We’re not allowed to take tips,” she said.

As I pressed her for more information, she said, “They take all the tips and set them aside for two weeks until the next pay-day. Then they divvy the money up according to who works the most during that time period.”

(slap me six sides of silly!)

But, then I remembered asking about how they handle the tips at one of our favorite restaurants in town.

They put the tips into a common jar, and it is divided equally at the end of the shift.

“We had to start doing this because we found that some servers wouldn’t serve any table but their own, so this eliminated the competition,” I was told by the assistant manager. “They wouldn’t even refill a coffee cup as they passed by if it wasn’t their table.”

Except for the lousy work ethic being tolerated, that actually sounded plausible to me–until this latest episode at the sandwich shop. Then I began thinking about how many places I’ve been where there is a common tip jar. Some of those places, to be sure, there is no one in particular to tip for extra service–Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panera, etc. And, I realize that the Subway shop probably falls under the same category of eatery.

But, this was special–different–and only one person was on duty doing an excellent job of keeping customers happy. She earned the recognition.

Here’s my problem: servers on the afternoon-evening shift the rest of the week and weekend will benefit from her excellent service whether they deserve it or not.

Yes, the same thing can be said of the morning shift deriving benefit from another–but that is my point. Why should one person (or shift) carry another? There is no guarantee of quality service from one person/shift to another. In fact, my experience at the local DD is that the morning shift deserves all the tips, while the afternoon/evening shift should pay me for what I have to put up with. (so, I seldom stop there after noon.)

This system of sharing equally may also help to explain why there is such dour service at so many places.

What is the motivation to excel if everyone gets rewarded the same?

I understand the superiority of internal motivation over external motivation, but that is not the kind of planet I live on.

What can be done to shift this slide toward socialism in the workplace? Employers are constantly complaining about the lack of quality workers. Apparently we are not able to see a connection between effort and reward.

I don’t have an answer at this time, but if you do, please share it.

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Spell Check in WordPress

     I know that being able to spell is not the main thing in life. But, for those of us who attempt to communicate our hearts through writing, spelling is an essential piece to the effectiveness of that communication.
     I learned to type in high school a few decades back. That was when the keys were designed for big fingers. I still managed to lock the keys on the manual typewriter, so I was never allowed to attempt the only electric typewriter we had in the classroom.
     Now we have these things called keyboards that are designed for the Japanese female, and I really have a rough time! Thankfully they don’t lock, but you ought to see some of the words I come up with. Added to that is a severe case of typing dyslexia–the ability to type words backwards from the known spelling.
     For instance, ‘the’ usually comes out as ‘teh;’ ‘of” almost always arrives on the page as ‘fo;’ and ‘and’ is almost always ‘adn.’ And that is just the small words! You should see what I do with the bigger words.
     But, I try to catch all that before it gets to your eyes. (Just then there was a ‘d’ at the end of ‘before.’ How? I dunno.)
     I usually go back and read all that I’ve written to look for the mistakes. But, we’ve all learned that the eye sees what it wants to see; and since I wrote it, it must be okay. I read what I thought I wrote.
     I tried teaching re-writing and editing to the middle school students, but that was an exercise in futility. “Done” was their goal and that was it. “Do-overs” are not allowed in the classroom–only on the playground.
     Going back over something is tedious and time consuming, but it must be done if we want excellence in our work. E-mail and posting to our blogs have taken away some of that drive for excellence. In the name of speed and efficiency, effectiveness takes the far back row.
     So, I’ve tried to use a spell checker, but to no avail until this morning. One of my sons would read my posts and go in and correct the typos, and then tell me what he had done. He kept telling me that they would show up as red-lined words in his editor; but that wasn’t happening for me. So, he told me to try using FireFox as my browser, because that may be the ticket.
     I did. It wasn’t. Spent most of yesterday just trying to learn my way around the new format of FireFox.
     I tried to use the spell-check that WordPress supplies on the toolbar for posting, but all I could get was language choice. That was because I was hitting the drop-down arrow. Finally figured out that I should just hit the ABC box–the one with the checkmark in it.
     The upshot of all this is that now I can find the misspellings and the typos. It won’t make the distinction between sense, since, and cents, but that is for the writers among us–not necessarily those who are simply trying to share their heart.
     So, after you type a post, before you hit the publish button, try to do a spell check of your document. It will help a little toward a more excellent product.
     Is that not what we want?