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Anti-PC League

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Something That Has Bothered Me Lately.

Recently, I've noticed something more and more that truly disturbs me: bringing children to work. I recently worked, in a call-center, for a major cell phone provider which employed 300+ people. It seemed no less than twice a week an employee brought a child to a building which contained nothing more than cubicles and phones. For anyone who has had children or spent much time around them you will realize that talking on the phone is nearly impossible when children are nearby. Even when possible you still can not give 100% attention to a person on the phone with a child around. So what percentage of your attention goes to a customer on the phone, 50%, maybe 60%. Also consider there are people no less than 2 feet to your left and right, who are also on the phone. So now, you have not only seriously given up some of your productivity, but you have also taken away productivity from no less than 2 and perhaps, up to a dozen others. What bothered me most is that management did not care.

Last week, I went to a local chicken restaurant (fast food style) and ordered lunch with the girlfriend, planning on enjoying what is quite possibly some of the best food you will find at around $5/person. I noticed two children running around acting up. As there were 2 couples finishing up, I figured it was a typical case of liberal parents who refuse to discipline their children. While it was annoying, I saw both couples were about finished, and I figured my inconvenience was to be short lived. As each couple got up and left I was worried someone forgot their children (with children like that I don't see how you could forget them). Then the cashier started telling them to behave, and I was quite annoyed. Because of an insistence of the g/f I did not say anything. I finished my meal, quite upset, and left very disappointed. I did later return and inform the manager of my displeasure and was told that sometimes there are things you can't control.

Tonight I had the television on as background, while playing on the computer, and Supernanny came on with a family that owned a restaurant and kept their kids there after school. These kids were rarely watched and never disciplined, which is why they embarrassed their family by being on such a show. I was quickly reminded of my dining experience and quite saddened by what is acceptable in society.

Let me start off defending myself (it's sad conservatives must do this). I had worked at this chicken joint when I was young, making minimum wage. I have also been in management in fast food. Follow this up with the fact I come from a family that owns several small businesses and I was a child raised at the workplace. I came from a family that went through a divorce where my mother could not afford a babysitter and both her and my stepfather had to work to survive (it was my father's family who owned the businesses).

With that said, I will get to my point (finally).
I have a strong background in customer service and believe that it is as important, if not more important than any other service a business offers. I feel that several people's customer service abilities are effected by the fact that children are present in the work place. Consider the fact that no less than 3 people are disturbed, no less than 8 hours a day, no less than twice a week. That would be 6 people per week effected. Now 6 people working 8 hours take approximately 70 calls per person. That is 420 customers a week and almost 22,000 people per year. Now this company has about 20 call centers. IF each one ran the same way, that is nearly half a million customers a year whose customer service experience was interfered with by children. Would you want to do business with a company who didn't offer the best possible experience for over half a million customers per year?

Now, consider the restaurant experience I had. I've been at the cashier level, management level, and a customer. Because of that I am able to make a judgment from each view point. From the bottom of the totem pole, if I was a co-worker, I would be concerned with the fact that my co-worker is not able to do her job due to the fact she had to spend some time looking after her children. Therefore I would have to help cover her job, which is truly not a fair deal for her co-workers. From a management level, children being around interfere with business, leading to a potential loss of business. Children being around bring down morale as other employees have to put up with the children as well as doing additional work because of the parent. As a customer, I have informed management if I ever see that there again, I will defiantly never dine in there, and I very rarely go through their drive through. What really got me was the manager telling me that some things can't be prevented. While this is true, you have multiple choices on how to react. Do not allow an employee to work if they bring a child; see how quickly the uncontrollable become controlled.

As a business owner, the first thing you should consider is how to properly serve customers, or you will not survive long. As a parent, the first thing you should consider is how to properly raise a child. You should not mix the two. In the businesses I was raised in was a linen delivery company, which did not do direct business with customers at the warehouse. Second, there was always a teenaged aunt or cousin who had the full responsibility of watching me, so other's work was not effected. A second business, that I spent a bit of time at, was a beauty salon. I was not allowed in an area where a customer would see me unless I was quiet, respectful, and barely noticed. If I was in an area not viewed by customers, I was never to be so loud as to where a customer would hear me. Finally, there was a convenience store, which I wasn't allowed in for more than a visit. All of these things were to prevent me from taking away productivity and causing a bad experience for a customer. These things are all common sense. Because of them, each of these businesses have been successful for over 20 years.