The 30 second shortcut

Jun 1, 2007 by

I was at the service desk of a big box home improvement store when there was a crash behind me. As I turned around, I saw an employee at the top of a scaffold of moveable stairs, next to the racks, with a pole in his hand. Underneath him, there was a gentleman in his seventies, in obvious pain, who was bent over with his hands pressing against his face. The employee had been using the pole to reach a plastic packaged item, located high above the floor. The desired item had slipped off the hook at the end of the pole, and struck the customer on the bridge of his nose. At this point his glasses were on the floor and he was starting to bleed. Employees arrived with the medical treatment kit, and began administering first aid. Overall, it was a minor accident, but the sad thing was, it was entirely preventable.

The customer could have prevented it by not standing underneath (he certainly was old enough to know better), the employee could have prevented it by simply asking the customer to move just in case something fell, and the employee could have prevented it by taking an extra thirty seconds to move the ladder, so he could safely reach the item. That thirty second shortcut cost at least a quarter hour of standing around time, plus who knows how much time spent filling out the paperwork to document the accident, plus the lost work time of the other employees who administered first aid and supervised. Then you get to figure in the trip to the doctor for stitches, a follow up visit to remove them, possibly an MRI…

It was a mighty expensive shortcut

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