April 17, 2009 – What’s Wrong with This Envelope?

Here’s an envelope from the City of Duluth that I saw a parking attendant put on my car in Duluth a few weeks ago. (I was in a space after the yellow line stopped on the curve, but the winter salt and grime obscured the white hatches indicating no parking – the ticket was a warning, but I got the envelope as if it had been a real violation.)

So now the City of Duluth has outsourced its parking fine payment to Tarrytown, New York.  It strikes me that the computer systems needed to implement this system and the and unfamiliarity the New Yorkers have with Duluth streets seems like a bad idea.  I wonder if the city bean counters considered the additional loss of the local multipliers of the local people who lost their jobs processing payments, who might not be able to find a new job and go on public assistance!

This reminds me of  an article about McDonald’s in Hawaii outsourcing their drive through order-taking to a call center in Texas.

“It takes a little getting used to on the order-taker’s side, but I think with practice, they become more and more comfortable working with our local clientele,” Okazaki said.

McDonald’s said the new system is delivering more accurate orders and speeding up service, but there is no cost savings. “We haven’t pared back on our labor force at all. In fact, we’ve been able to have our crew members concentrate more on their particular position,” Okazaki said.

Evidently, it is now too complicated to both listen to an order and put the items in a bag.  Now the “put the hamburgers in a bag” people will be able to perfect their “loading burgers in a bag position” without having to learn to coordinate listening and putting food in a bag.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #114″