Friday, September 7, 2012

The cost of clearing a tray ...

From Chiew York Hun


Sep 07, 2012

I disagree with the opinion in the letter "No excuses please, just clear your trays" (Aug 31) from two perspectives.

First, the comparison with the police and doctors is flawed. The police would never encourage citizens to break the law and a doctor would never jeopardise his patients' health just to keep their jobs, whereas a food and beverage business would always encourage people to patronise.

Manpower and operating costs such as for cleaning services would have been taken into account in the price a customer pays. It is facetious to view tray return as a social grace when it is a paid-for service.

For instance, is it ungracious to have chambermaids make the beds in hotel rooms? Would one insist that it is social grace to refresh the room for the next guest?

Second, those employed to clear trays are often unskilled elderly with little chance to "elevate" their job. Clearing trays, wiping tables and washing dishes are critical processes that must go on simultaneously to maximise patron turnover.

Therefore, either there is separate manpower to do the wiping and washing or these elderly staff are also expected to do them. In any case, if customers start clearing their trays, it would reduce workload.

What could that mean other than a manpower cut in a profit-driven business obsessed with productivity and efficiency?

Asking customers to clear their trays benefits only the F&B company's bottom line and not other customers, as people are already employed to do that at a cost worked into the prices we pay. More importantly, these employees are a group who would have difficulty getting a job elsewhere. It is an irony that one deemed as gracious is endangering the livelihood of some needy elderly.

[Only a Singaporean can rationalise laziness and inconsideration with logic surpassed only by self-righteous indignation that anyone would dare suggest that he should clear his own table. He should hire someone to wipe his ass. Hey! Think of all the jobs that would create for the poor uncles and aunties with no better skills.]

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