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  • Lance Mannion
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    Wallkill, NY 12589

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One of the things I have long noticed about our Chicago Transit Authority is the difference between weekday and weekend service. During the week, it's the usual litany of urban transport horrors. Missed stops. The bus pulls away just as your face hits the doors. Etc.

On the weekends, however, humanity reigns. I have seen with my own two eyes drivers helping old ladies climb the steps. They're willing to shout out "This is the Wrigley Building!" for the tourists who don't recognize what the Grand Avenue stop means. Instead of pulling away while people run for the doors, they pause and let them get aboard, even let them pay (!) before hitting the gas and throwing them off-balance.

I've assumed these weekenders are part-timers and new employees. They're nice because they want a regular full-time gig and because they're not burnt out yet. But it's only a theory. Whatever the case, there can be a big, big change in vibe from Friday to Saturday on the CTA.

Ed D.

It's top down... management sets the tone for it all. The good case study is Costco vs Sam's. At Sam's the employees are sullen and unhelpful. If you ask a question you'll be standing around for 10 minutes and then they may never show anyway. At Costco the employees are unendingly cheerful and helpful. I ask for something and they immediately take me in tow and fix me up.

Our local grocery stores are the same. If the employeeds look sullen, have a brief talk with the manager and see who they are. Odds are they are the type of manager who is suspicious and controlling. Happy stores have fair minded managers.

Unfortunately this plays out most in the public schools where teachers are treated like machines instead of the dedicated professionals they are. The management determines their attitudes and those attitudes are the seeds of success or failure. The job description of all public school administrators should be: "My Job Is To Support Teachers." We'd see an immediate turn around in the schools if this credo were enthusiastically adopted.

Like so many other things, it's about respect for the people you work with - give it and you'll get it.


the blonde

In the case of the panicked grocery store employees, I believe the culprit is a manager who rules by fear. She even scares me.

Ken Muldrew

See "Chad Vader, Night Shift Manager" on youtube. Perhaps your local manager is trying to emulate one of the greats.


The blonde is right, Lance. You're trying to turn a management problem into a chicken-or-egg argument.



It just so happens that last weekend I was in your neck of the woods. I was passing through on my way home from NH. After a quick visit with my parents in nearby LaGrangeville I was on my way again. I thought of you and almost invited you *out* for a cup of coffee, but since I had a 9-hour drive in front of me, I decided to grab a cup of coffee to go. Just west of Newburgh I found a Dunkin Donuts. It was early Sunday morning. I walked in, smiled at the clerk, said "good morning" and was met with an icy stare. "OK then" I said. "I'd like a medium coffee please. One milk. And a Boston Creme donut." This young man went about his business with out acknowledging me in the least. Took my money. Placed my change on the counter, then turned away as if too busy to linger. I noticed his tip cup on the counter. Didn't give him one. Won't be back.

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