The place I work, which will remain nameless until I finally leave it, is a gas station that serves hot food. This hot food has to be ready for any customer whenever they want it. The majority of this food is pizza slices, and they can only be left in the food warmer for 90 minutes. After that, a new pizza must be cooked to take the place of the old slices. The old slices are then thrown away.
The corporate geniuses have told us that we waste too much food. At the same time, they are telling us to put out more food. We’re putting out more food. And more food is being wasted. We have already saturated the demand for hot pizza slices. Corporate says otherwise. They say that other stores our size are selling twice as much pizza as we are. We just need to make more pizza and people will inevitably buy it.
They are correct that other stores sell much more pizza than us. It’s handy to do comparisons like that on a spreadsheet. An accountant sets it up so when the number of sales don’t reach a certain value, that cell turns red in the spreadsheet. The numbers don’t lie. It’s there in black and white. We must be doing something wrong. Or are we? Might there be something more to this? Is there anything that could account for our lagging sales?
Why yes there is. It’s something we’ve been telling them for months, I’ve been told. It’s something that we have no control over, but isn’t reported on any spreadsheet. It’s a little thing called Pizza Hut right next door. People don’t buy pizza from us because for the same price they could get a bigger, tastier pizza. We keep telling the corporate accountants that ding us for poor sales about the Pizza Hut next door, and they tell us that the only thing that matters is that a store our size is underperforming when it comes to pizza and hot food sales.
This is an indication that a corporation might have its head in the sand. It could be possible that the corporation might be too reliant on how things ought to be instead of observing reality. That’s not a good sign.
Its similar to the reality that five or six whole pizzas leave the store in trash bags every day. Dozens of cooked and uneaten hot dogs are tossed out. Egg rolls, corn dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches. More than half of what we make is simply thrown away. Some items are made without anyone buying a single one in a whole week. But we still have to make them. It’s such a waste. And the expense of it all is passed on to the customer.
Our gas station has some of the highest prices anywhere. I’m always surprised that anyone would want to buy milk or bread at a gas station. Especially with a grocery store a few blocks down the street.
Is there a way for someone locked away in the corporate fortress to look down and see what’s really happening? Could they perhaps understand that a gas station next to a pizza restaurant isn’t going to sell many pizzas?
Nah. Can’t wait to leave this place.