Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Fast Food Analogy
With the current debate over troop levels and war plans, it can never hurt to put the whole situation into a simple fast food analogy. I will use McDonald’s as my example, since I worked there as a kid. I am sure the smell of it is not much better than the smell of battle. If we assume the US military is McDonald’s the best fast food restaurant in the world, then Don Rumsfeld seems to think that it was a good idea to agree to bus in 400,000 Iraqi soldiers at 3:30 PM to eat. This seems like it makes no sense, right? Well just hold on, it does make “some” sense.

At 3:30 PM the staff level in a McDonalds is not at the level it needed for the lunch rush. The middle of the afternoon is after all a slow period. Since the dinner rush hits at 5:00 PM, they will not start staffing up until 4:00 PM, at the earliest. Rumsfeld, and maybe the White House, could not wait to bring the 400,000 Iraqis to eat until dinner when the staff was at its peak; they had to rush it forward to the middle of the afternoon. They think the smaller superior staff should be able to handle the rush, which they eventually will handle, but the service level will not be at its best, and grease and grill burns will increase. Now, add in the fact that management (Rumsfeld & Bush) decided that they don’t need to start raising staff at 4:00 PM for the dinner rush; they can wait until 4:30 PM or even 5:00 PM itself to beef up for the rush. At this point not only does the staff have to deal lines of angry Iraqi “customers” out to the door, they will not be getting the staff level increases as early as they normally would get. Lower staff means lower service and more worker injuries during this premature afternoon rush.

Now, every one will be fed, but it could have been finished before the dinner rush if Rumsfeld had not delayed the staff increase and had even called the dinner team and asked them to get moving at 3:30 PM in hopes they could get in a little early. The food was not as good as it could have been, mind you, but the Iraqis will not be complaining. Will the staff be complaining about the pain they had to endure? Pain that will not prevent them from doing their jobs or completing their mission, but pain that could have been minimized.

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