6 comments on “Which Would You Prefer

  1. Cabalamat:

    You should look at the piece I wrote on Tim’s prior entry on the subject–just a few blog entries ago. Might give you a somewhat different perspective. And, though I have no doubt that you’re an intelligent person, likely to a distinctly superior degree, the chances are quite good that you actually couldn’t manage a MacDonald’s

  2. SORRY.

    , at least not successfully, if left entirely to your own devices. Eventually, quite likely. But why on earth would you want to learn specific matters of plumbing, chemistry, statistics, psychology, local health law enforcement, cash-handling equipment and techniques, personnel scheduling, accounting, and cooking equipment maintenance on your own hook on a trial-and-error basis? And, especially when all the very specific amounts of those (and other specialties) that you’d need have been gathered (at the expense of many millions of dollars and the recording of hundreds of man-years of actual experience set against productivity statistics) for you in the “training” of which you are contemptuous.

    If you would object that such activities are beneath you, not worthy of your talents, inclinations, and different form of education, I would very much agree. But that very preference on your part–is only attainable and only attainable in such degree as others are available for all of the specialized functions to which you’re unable, unprepared, or unwilling to devote your time, your life.

    This is a world of concrete, finite, and temporally-limited choices.. Just as you can’t be in the mountains when you’re on the beach, so you cannot earn a living by performing dramatically different functions each day of the week, even if you’re able to do them all. The reason for this is that there will always be other more specialized and productive whose efforts and productivity will price your down to the level called “marginal” (or, most likely–below).
    Given the superior productivity of specialized performance, this is a natural inevitability in virtually any case imaginable. All that remains unanswered is how what you do shall be determined and , in this regard, social organization offers only two choices.

    In the case called “freedom,” the “free-market system,” and, frequently, “capitalism,” it is you, yourself, who chooses. Usually this choice is made with some relative ease: from a variety of activities in which one could engage, most choose that bringing the largest monetary compensation, i.e., that which everyone else wants you to do, as evidenced by their willingness to reward you more handsomely than for any other effort. You are not bound, however: you could choose, as long as you get enough to exist, to make less in an occupation you prefer or affording more leisure; it’s entirely up to you, as are, by and large, just as where and under what physical conditions you choose to work. The more highly developed (and the more “capitalistic”) is the environmentsocial system, the more likely it is that you will reap the greatest compensation for the efforts you most prefer from among those you are able to perform satisfactorily.

    The other system is called “socialism.” In such system, your choice of occupation (and of many other life activities) is more severely circumscribed. You cannot earn a living on your own volition–it is not permitted. It is not of great importance whether your person is or is not considered the property of the authority. In effect, since there is no private property and the productive aggregates–plants, machinery, vehicles, buildings, etc.–are all vested in the authority, no choice remains. The very best that may be said of such system is that those in authority are not motivated (at least not usually) by malice. Their interest is to fit the individual into that niche promising the same “highest value” as would usually be the case under the free system. The problem here is that they have no method for such choice and are thus left with crude guesses conditioned by
    dossier contents, aptitude and performance testing, and elements of personal favor.

    If you reflect on these matters, you may change your opinion on others. It’s happened before.

  3. The knowledge necessary to successfully run a small business, especially one with tight margins and in a heavily competitive and regulated environment is really quite substantial. It has nothing to do with academic intelligence but then, let’s be honest, neither do modern A levels.

    This: “In other words their workers — including store managers — are essentially cogs in a machine with little scope for independent thought or intelligence; they have to be so, because otherwise their system wouldn’t work.” is, frankly, condescending bollocks.

    The system works, sometimes, and doesn’t, others. Some franchise profit, others go bust or get bought out (often by store managers).

  4. I have a friend who works as a manager in a pizza takeaway. This is, admittedly, not a McDonald’s, but I would argue that it is essentially the same line of work.

    Anyway, he regularly turns up at work intoxicated with one or more recreational drugs. He also takes drugs while at work. Furthermore, he is a lazy idle bastard.

    In spite of all his, he seems to do his job tolerably well (I know the pizzas are OK, because I’ve eaten them; and his boss is sufficiently pleased with his work that he hasn’t been sacked).

    I contend therefore that managing a pizza shop is not actually a particularly difficult job, and it’s quite possible to do it while one is pissed and stoned. I expect the same is true of a McDonald’s.

  5. Cabalamat:

    Managing a MacDonald’s is not a “particularly difficult job,” as you’ve observed. But it is difficult enough, in the estimation of the successful franchisor, MacDonald’s, to have devoted substantial resources to development of training programs. That, in a nutshell, is all that counts. Were your judgement somewhat more balanced and considerate and you were actually convinced of that which you aver, you could make yourself a fortune by starting something similar but with lower expenses (realized by dispensing with all the training regimes). You’re “talking through your hat”; whether you actually believe your position is another matter altogether.

    Businesses can be run in a great variety of fashions. Few require any genius or rare combination of talents. But, on the other hand, the more poorly-run examples in very many fields are continually supplanted by the better, more attuned to actual market demand. And, as some are regimented and reformed into virtual clones with the unprofitable “warts” removed, the businesses themselves become more marketable entities. Training is not unique to MacDonald’s; many other firms expend seffort (and money) in training those of requisite aptitude (but often without specific educational requirements beyond literacy and numeracy).
    I don’t know where you are located but in my home area (U.S. Middle Atlantic seaboard), there is a company operating “convenience” stores of the type located throughout the U.S. They’re not franchises but differ primarily from others (which may or may not be franchises) in the thoroughness and rigidity of their training programs and enforcement of their various policies. In my lifetime, they’ve grown from a small, local dairy farm into a system of over 3000 units against which no competitor has been able to survive more than a few months. And, they’re only in a few states and are still a family-owned enterprise. They’re the largest entity (in the region) in gasoline marketing, despite having entered the business less than 10 years ago and either adding such facilities or building anew in virtually all their locations. It’s not luck, bud. They explain their entire strategy in their TV advertising: “We do everything just a little bit better.” And they do. Basically, that’s all ther is to it. But you knew that already–or did you?

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.