Monday, January 3, 2011

Mr. Efficiency is NOT alive and well in Asia

Hey all,

I see you're back to hear my latest rant.  As you all know, we live here in Macau and for the most part, we enjoy living in an Asian country.  But every once in a while, I just get so irritated with how they handle things over here.  Now, I'm the first to say when in a different culture, do as they do, but there are some things that span cultural lines and IMHO efficiency is one of them.

No, no, no.  I'm not talking about the nasty man with the clipboard who is trying to be so damned efficient he cuts jobs by the thousands.  I'm referring to the basic, simple and obvious ways that efficiency can be used every day. 

1.  Now, my first introduction to Asian inefficiency was in something we saw almost every day.  We let it go for the most part because after all, we're in THEIR country.  It's us who should adapt to them.  But as time went on, we both realized that what we were seeing had less to do with us adapting (which we are doing) and more about the inefficiency of the people involved.

I'm talking about cab drivers who work with predominantly English speaking people who don't know a stitch of English.

Again, before you jump me, remember I know I'm in their country and I do know some Cantonese now.  (a teeny tiny bit) But seriously, if you work everyday with someone and your livelihood depends on it, why wouldn't you at least know the English for places tourists and Westerners go to every day? 

I've been in dozens of taxis since I've moved here and I'd say close to 75% of the driver know little or NO English at all.  Not even words like airport or ferry terminal, which are the number one places tourists would go.  If you were a cabbie and knew you'd make more money knowing a few words in another language, wouldn't you take the time and effort to know some of the basics?  Mr. Efficiency does NOT speak English in Asia.

2.  This one frosted my cookies but good.  You know how in the states you make a reservation in a restaurant for a specific time?  For example, we would make it for 6:00 or 6:15, right?  And the restaurant would then book the same table for about an hour later or so.  They do that so the restaurant can turn over as many people as possible. and thereby make as much money as possible.  Well, not here.  Here Mr. Efficiency can't eat out on busy days. 

Why?  Because for some reason we just can't fathom, they don't do it that way over here.  Instead they have seatings, like they do on cruise liners.  For example they'll have a 6:00 to 8:00 seating or a 8:00 to 10:00 seating.  And if you have a table booked, you can come any time within that period of time to eat.  Even if you get there at 7:30, as long as you finish up by 8:00, you're good to go.

But do they fill that table that sits empty for an hour and a half?  NO!  So, you can go to a restaurant at 6:00 and the whole place will be empty, but you can't get a table, because the seating is supposedly booked.  And that's just ridiculous.  They lose big time money doing it this way and it's just bloody inefficient!!!

3.  So we're walking back from the fireworks on New Years Eve and we see that one of the bridges has been blocked by rescue vehicles.  It's quite a distance away, but we stop and watch.  From what we could see, someone had fallen into the lake from the bridge.  Now, like every other rescue crew on the planet, there were a copious number of rescuers on the bridge, but unfortunately Mr. Efficiency couldn't get anywhere close.

Tell me why on earth you'd have a ladder truck, boats, and a special lift, but instead of using any one of them, you toss a rope over the side and pull the poor guy up by hand?  Now before you jump me again, please understand that Jonathon and I both have rescue training, so we've worked some of these kind of scenes and what we saw was not only inefficient, but dangerous.  A rope?  Pulling up the rescuer and the victim together over the railing. 

It took them over an hour to get that poor guy out of the water when he could have been out and in a boat in less than fifteen.  Happy New Year?  Right.

4.  And now finally... a magical type of inefficiency.  And this one made me craziest of all.  We discovered that Mr. Efficiency doesn't go to Disneyland.  In fact, I think he runs screaming from the one in Hong Kong. *grin*

I told you we had a wonderful day there and we did.  I love Disney and spending our Christmas Eve there is a a memory I'll always hold dear to my heart.  But having worked at Disney and Universal theme parks and knowing how things are supposed to be done, I have to say, it was one of the worst run places I've ever seen.

The cast members were wonderfully friendly, the ambiance outstanding, the theming, top notch.  But the efficency of getting people on and off rides?  OMG...  If Walt was alive, he'd be screaming his head off at these people.

They do the same thing on rides as they do in restaurants.  They put you on and off in big groups.  So instead of farming you onto rides as a car gets empty, they wait and do a whole bunch at once.  And that...any operations person can tell you, is completely and ridiculously inefficiency.  Lines that should have taken fifteen minutes to go through took almost three times as long because they did the whole stop and go thing instead of feeding us on in a constant stream.

And since Walt Disney was all about efficiency and guest satisfaction, I think he and Mr. Efficiency would both be plenty irritated at what is going on at Hong Kong Disney. What's that Disney song?

I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's backside
But thick as you are, pay attention
My words are a matter of pride
It's clear from your vacant expressions
The lights are not all on upstairs
But we're talking kings and successions
Even you can't be caught unawares


LOL  Obviously, I'm reaching a bit, but please guys!  Do it right, for Walt's sake.  And Mickey's too!

So, how about that for a great rant?  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  What do you think about it all?  Have you been a victim of inefficiency so bad you want to rant about it?  Here's the place.  Put your very own rant in the comments below!

Check here on Wednesday when I reflect back on the year 2010 and what it meant to me.


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I can see the frustration level rising CJ! Nothing comes to mind to rant about. Can't wait to see what other people come up with.

CJ England said...

Totally frustrating. I wanted to wring some necks. Seriously.

Phylis said...

Aha! I found my rant this morning at work! LOL! Why can't anyone put something back where you found it. It's like their arms can't lift again once they've taken it off the peg or the shelf. I had to put so much stuff back this morning. Or those people that touch everything! Pick it up, look at it & put it down. They did that with a vase jar that had those willow lights in it with some other Christms picks. They kept picking it up and pulling them out and messing it all up. ARGH!!! Ok, done for now. Did your blood pressure go down?

CJ England said...

Oh Phylis...we could do another whole blog on retail rants. I'm glad I'm not doing it right now. People drive me nuts.

My fave rant in retail. Those customers who don't bother looking before they ask question. Like "How much is that?" question asked right next to the sales sign. If I had a nickle for ever time THAT happened, I could retire and take us all to Ireland for that vacation we've talked about.

Margaret West said...

It's good to rant. we should all have one at least once a

Unknown said...

And let's not forget "island time"

CJ England said...


Wouldn't that be great! I'm glad I have my sweet baboo. He's my ranting board. I couldn't make it without him.

CJ England said...


Totally. LOL I've run into that way too many times.