The following is a post at Forbes Blogs – Work in Progress:
At the Starbucks coffee drive-through on my way to work, the customary path is to drive around the building and get in line. The other day, a gentleman came from the other direction and cut in front of me…with his car. This guy was in such a rush, he cut me in line and almost hit my car in the process. I was so frustrated, when it was my turn to get to the window, I asked if this guy was a regular.
“Yep, he’s here every day.”
As someone who almost got my front bumper torn off, I asked the barista, “Next time, could you tell him not to cut people in line and risk damaging their car before 7:00am? His making your customers angry could affect your own tips.” I thought I got over it, and then again, today, he pulled around, about to cut in front of me. I had scooted up enough to the car in front of me, the guy screamed on his brakes. He had to drive behind me, do some angry reversing, and then get in line behind me. Something he could have achieved without all the screeching if he had just followed the drive-through path. It’s marked there for a reason.
My first thought was, Man, customers behaving badly can really affect a store’s sales. I had done some calculations about how much customer value a store could lose over a year if a customer like this cut someone twice a week for a year ($400+ in direct sales profit, $6,000+ in local word-of-mouth, and so on…). I was going to write a post full of fire from my blog soapbox, and perhaps even send it to not only the local store, but the Starbucks’ customer service. Teach that guy to cut me.
Right. ‘Cause would any of that have impact on the cutting driver? No.
They could put up a sign to request people actually drive around, or do what fast-food places do by constructing a concrete curved bumper to force cars to follow the path. Unless this guy actually causes thousands of dollars in damage, he probably thinks he’s just being smart, not dangerous.
When I used to work in a banquet hall, our manager constantly said, “Work smarter, not harder.” That could mean setting all forks, then knives, and such for place settings, or if you know you can’t lift stacks of chairs, have someone else do it so you can do something more appropriate. You learn tricks like putting a little water at the bottom of a votive holder to pop the candles out at the end of the evening, or pouring out all the liquid when clearing champagne flutes so you can lay them on their side on the clearing tray (drastically reducing the risk of breaking them as they all topple over).
However, the “smarter” from that motto never included cutting corners. Actually, cutting corners was considered foolish and completely counterintuitive to the motto.
Process improvement and increasing efficient productivity should never be done at the cost of cutting corners. Feeling a little clever because you found a loophole doesn’t mean you’re smart, and in fact, you could be facing more heat down the line than if you had done the right thing. As the Sunshine Law suggests, if your decision and the results of that decision ended up on the front page, would you want people to see it? This guy feels he’s a little clever avoiding the drive-through, but will he feel that way when he slams into another customer?
Especially in an area where really big men drive trucks and hunt? Yeah, that front-page story won’t be so hot for him.
If you’re cutting corners, take a look at the reason why. Then take a look at who you are affecting. You may not care about other customers, neighbors, or innocent bystanders…but what if the local Starbucks decides they’ll only serve you if you drive correctly through the drive-through. I don’t know if they can actually do that, but what if they could? Is your cutting habit more important?
And if you have such a bad cutting habit just for coffee, what other cutting are you doing in the rest of your life? Cutting corners in one place may mean you’re doing it somewhere else, and that says something about a person’s character. Does that really represent who you are?
I suggest we change that little motto I had beforehand: Work smarter and work well.
Think of all the things you could do without driving people crazy along the way.
Image via Wikipedia.