Sorry, We’re Short Staffed

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“We are short staffed today, please be patient… (insert snarky comment here)” We see a lot of these now days and it certainly speaks to the hiring shortage, that I keep hearing about.

…Now I don’t want to get off on a rant here

What is interesting about this is that we need a sign, to let people know not to be rude to the 17-year-old fast food worker, because your fries took an extra 45 seconds. There are plenty of jokes about people being a “Karen”, but can we create some sort of citizens arrest system, to punish people for being jerks?

Long before the shortage, people were getting poor service at fast food restaurants. Sure, the shortage has justified the wait, but it’s a fast-food restaurant. You’re paying five dollars for a burger, fries and a drink; you expect high quality food and service for five dollars? The old saying about, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here.

Restaurants that aren’t fast food are also having issues with staffing. Perhaps this is because they get two-dollars an hour and then have to count on tips, to make a livable wage. I don’t know who started the whole, lets underpay restaurant staff and make them live off the generosity of others system, but it can go any time.

Pay them what they are worth, like any other job, and raise the cost of the food, to offset the tip that we no longer pay. We, patrons, pay the same amount (assuming you would have tipped. If that assumption is wrong, you are a bad person), the restaurant/business makes more, and therefore pays more, and the waitstaff make a reasonable salary for doing a job… hence, more people would do that job and the wait goes away. Solved. Let me know when it’s done.

How about non-restaurant jobs?

Well, it seems like we are excluded from the whole “please be patient” stance. If you are a manufacturer, and your lead times are not acceptable to your customer, you can’t just say “please be patient” and add some snarky comment, with the assumption that your customers will just wait. They won’t. They’ll go elsewhere. Someone else can meet their lead time and loyalty means nothing when you have your own lead times to worry about and a business that can go under, if those lead times that aren’t met.

As an IT services provider, I can’t just tell a client to not work for a week, and we’ll get that computer fixed next week. There is an expectation of services to be provided, in a reasonable time.

If I cannot meet that expectation, my customers will find someone who can. There is no cute sign about patience, no snarky comment to make my customers snap to a reasonable stance and no loyalty to the business that you pay for a service, when that service is not provided as agreed upon. If I don’t have the employees, I lose business, it’s that simple.

So, how do I make sure I have the workers?

I suppose I could do what a lot of businesses are doing… Raise my rates, then hire for higher salaries and provide sign on bonuses. When my employees see those higher rates advertised, they’ll (justifiably) want raises, which means I raise my rates again.

My customers now have to raise their rates, to afford my services, and so on and so forth, until every business in the country has raised their rates, to the point that we are paying a fortune for gas and groceries, that no one can afford, even with all the great new raises… I guess that’s how inflation works. Seems like a pointless exercise, where all we do is pay more taxes. That reminds me; make sure you vote.

My 2¢

I guess my point is that money isn’t the only way to solve a problem. Teach your kids the value of hard work and that no one gets their dream job at 17 years old. Making fries for eight dollars an hour sucks, but you don’t have any other skills to offer the world and you have to learn how to be an employee. That’s why it’s called the minimum wage. Because it requires minimum skill. You want more, learn and work and earn more.

For businesses, you can offer a lot more than money. Your employees are the life blood of your company. Make it an enjoyable place to work. Be mindful of their passion and their interests. Be flexible, to allow them to work from home or take time for appointments.

These are human beings. Treat them with respect and care if they are happy. If they hate you and their job and are offered a government handout to sit at home and watch The Price Is Right, they’re going to watch the Price Is Right. Give them a reason to work for you and they will.

I am feeling a little Dennis Miller here, with the rant, but I feel like this is a silly problem. Hey everyone, do the right thing and be a decent human being, and we can all go out for margaritas and great service. Sheesh.