Article > Tech

Get Off Your Duff

By Gary Garberg

Stools — those four-legged devices that were originally designed for people to sit on while they were drinking, eating or relaxing — aren’t for use by parts professionals.

What are your pet peeves? Come on, everyone has them. Maybe it’s the way that your spouse squeezes the toothpaste tube, or the way that your kids always have everything in the middle of the room after they have moved on to the next thing. Does your neighbor start mowing his lawn at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning? Or, is it maybe your sister, who cracks her gum every time she chews it? Boy, some of those things are annoying, aren’t they? Sometimes it’s hard not to say something, because it just bugs you so much.

Well, that’s kind of how I’m feeling right now. Something really has me bugged and I’m not going to get past it until I get it off my chest, right now, to all of you. I know that I am about to offend a good number of you and I also know that it is a literary no-no to do that, but I can’t help myself. So, here it comes: It’s stools.

Yes, stools – those four-legged devices that were originally designed for people to sit on while they were drinking, eating or relaxing. What is it that these three things have in common? A lack of activity, or motion, or as far as I am concerned, a lack of enthusiasm, initiative and motivation. I’m not saying that everyone who sits on a stool all day is lazy, but let me offer up an example, or two, from my own experience and travels.

I enter an auto parts store that is probably very much like the one that you work in. There are no customers at the moment and the phones are dead. There are no stools in front of the counter for the customers to sit on when they come into the store. But, all three parts professionals are sitting on stools behind the counter.

The retail area of the store desperately needs re-stocking and the products out front have not been dusted in months. The front windows are still covered with last winter’s residue from when the snow plow went by and sprayed them. There are piles of catalogs behind the counter, on the floor, brand new, that need to be sorted and put away. And the bathroom that I asked to use, was, well you don’t want to know about the bathroom used by employees and guests. (That’s another one of my pet peeves.)

As I walk into the stock area to check on my product stocked back there, there are carts full of merchandise begging to be put away. This is the merchandise that the parts professionals sitting on the stools up front will tell your customers you don’t have, because they have not been checked in and received into inventory. The last “bath” that any of the delivery trucks had, was when George W’s dad was president. Believe me, there is no shortage of things to do in this store, but all three parts professionals are very comfortably sitting on what I assume to be the customer’s stools.

Perhaps I’m missing something. Maybe, there is a designated stock replenisher, duster, window washer, catalog sorter, bathroom maid, merchandise checker-inner, stock putter-awayer, and even a delivery vehicle valet to clean the trucks. But this isn’t the case in most stores. I wonder just what might get accomplished, if all the parts professionals were not quite so comfortable sitting on those stools.

It’s a funny thing about standing on your feet for a long time — you tend to get restless and uncomfortable. Before long, you are walking around looking for something to do to take your mind off of your aching feet. You soon discover that the busier that you are, the less that you notice the pain in your feet and legs. That’s because they are made to move! They are made to be used! Now, you would rather be busy than stagnant, because it just plain feels better.

Now, your days go faster and you begin noticing that your boss is downright cheerful all the time. That’s because he is thrilled that the store looks so terrific all the time and everything is all caught up and put away. He even enjoys using the bathroom now. Oh, and by the way, I hope you noticed that he made a little adjustment in your compensation on your last paycheck. That’s because he is pleased with your recent performance. Just think, all of this because someone suggested taking away the stools.

This article is not intended to incriminate anyone who, because of physical disability, requires the use of a stool to do their job. It’s simply intended to point out, that for all of the rest of you, the regular use of a stool is not professional for parts professionals. If this article gets you to consider the possibilities of your position, without a stool, I will have done my job. Then, maybe I will be annoyed one less time when I walk into your store.

  Previous Comments
avatar   john   star   8/27/2009   5:41 PM

I honestly think that this article is an oxy moron. Honestly now hear me out you have a guy setting at a desk in his comfy chair writing this article. Think about I'm right. Okay now hears the kicker this person has probably never had a job to where he has to stand all day. I have complications from a broken leg because of standing all day so sometimes I do have to set daown and rest a little bit, but I still make sure the place I work is clean and fully stocked. So You can sit and get everything done that needs to be done in the elloted time that you are given.

avatar   Paul   star   8/15/2009   6:13 PM

If you check out the Letter to the Editor in response to this article, (It's not the Stool) you will find that most people disagree with Gary that the stools are to blame.

avatar   aj   star   7/31/2009   2:50 PM

i have to agree with lee if they are just sitting their butts on a stool then quite obviously management isnt doing their jobs either a good manager would be on them to do their jobs get the stuff put up, store clean etc. most times if you have lazy employees you have a lazy manager

avatar   lee   star   3/23/2009   12:14 PM

i caught this past article last week. had to think about it for awhile. im on my 26th year now.20 of them managing a store for a single owner. to me its more like poor management, not the stools fault. if the shelves havent been wiped in months, where i come from no one,including the manager would still be there.and i was lucky to work with guys who had over 40 years exp. the more the stand the more they hurt. ive seen them sit on the counters. its not the stools fault. its the people.

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