Friday, November 21, 2008

Spinning tires in Columbia MO

Wow, it has been a long time since I last wrote something for this blog. I regret not taking time to add my thoughts and comments to the site but man, it is hard to start when there is so much to do. I find life can be like spinning tires, busy at home and on the job, working hard at both but seemingly not going anywhere. But I have had some observations lately and would like to share them with the teeming masses.

I always take the kids to school on my days off. With teenagers I do what I can to spend time with them and try to get some sort of conversation going. Usually in the morning they are arguing about something so stupid you want to pull over and push them out of the vehicle, but anyway. This particular time I stopped at McDonald's on the Business Loop thinking we could get a fast meal. There were only a few people at the counter and the drive thru was busy. Once inside we could not get anyone to take our order because all the staff was gathering orders for the drive thru. We waited patiently until someone finally took our order and of course it took a while to make. I watched the clock because I did not want to drop them off late and almost said something before the cashier gave us our order. We had to eat it on the run but everyone got to school on time.

In another case, several times in the last month I stopped in at the new Starbucks on Broadway where the new HyVee is being developed on Conley Rd. I prefer the downtown location but there is no parking that late in the morning. The drive thru was packed so I go inside and find no customers. Wow, I can get a coffee right away. Wrong! I had to wait until the three employees got the drive thru orders out of the way. I felt like I was disturbing the Starbucks staff so I left knowing I would not go there again. Other people I know have had similiar incidents and shared them with everyone. This location will fail if they do not take care of walkins.

Here you have two companies, one that has fairly good food (McDonalds) and the other great coffee (Starbucks). In these two cases I should have talked to a manager or owner or someone who would listen. If you do not have enough staff to handle both the walk in crowd and a drive thru simply close one. Lock the doors, put up a sign that says "Not enough help, please use the drive thru." We are continuing the era of bad customer service which will affect the big chain stores and open up possibilities for smaller independent stores. Here are some hopes:

I took the kids to El Rancho, a Mexican restaurant downtown on Broadway for a quick meal. We got our food fast and it was great. These people come from Mexico and open up a great little restaurant which I believe now has a location in Kansas City. After the great meal at El Rancho I stopped in at Day Light Donuts to try their donuts. These East Indian or Pakistani gentlemen (don't know for sure but I will find out) have started this business next to the Papa Johns on Broadway and believe me the donuts are great, better than Krispy Kreme. I loved it, the kids loved it and the prices were great.

Two businesses trying to make it during tough times opened by newcomers from other countries. They will get my business whenever possible because they are taking the chances; I consider these people brave and hope the best for their businesses.

Now a short note about our economy. I know I bored everyone with my last entry but things are changing fast. Saudi Arabia has bought over 3.5 billion dollars in gold because they see things changing. OPEC has decided not to lower the production of oil because they know low oil prices will silence American ideas of higher fuel standards for cars and new energy sources. But with banks hurting and most Americans spending less, fuel consumption is down and may remain that way for a while. Guess who is hurting also?

Have we heard anything from Chavez, the president of Venezuela lately? No, because his oil revenues have fallen which is what keeps him propped up. He heavily subsidises basic needs of his people like food and gas. His nation has a murder rate which may topple his government because the Venezuelan people have finally seen what he really is and how ineffective he is. How about that president of Iran, he is quiet now because the oil revenues are needed to keep food and gas prices low for his people. By keeping food and fuel cheap he and the mullahs stay in power. He has spent so much money on terrorist organisations, Iran's military and the nuclear weapons program that the economy may be a bust sooner or later. And Russia, where is Putin. He has been quiet lately because Russia's oil revenues have fallen. They can still use oil and natural gas as a weapon against Western Europe but he is quiet now.

We Americans need to wake up and change the world one more time. I believe we can do this but that would be another time. Until next time.

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