(#48) Re-assembling Care Packages for Seniors with the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps (December 17, 2014) – Part 2 (A Small Idea Is Started… And Abandoned)

March 27, 2015

Picking up from last time –

Someone came over and said we’d be consolidating lines. So, we needed to move whatever supplies we had to the table in front of us.

Okay, sounds good. We all did.

Once I got up there, we had more than enough people (since two lines were converging into one). So, I got to grab a bag and go down the line myself to fill it. Yet again, from a different angle, I saw the great efficiency.

Once I got back to the beginning, the morning shift was leaving. With the empty spots, I re-took my place behind the table.

There was one person who was trying to be efficient, and I appreciate her (as I appreciate anyone trying to make things better). But her plan was proving not to be wildly efficient after all. Her plan was to take a bunch of empty bags and put the first items in them (stamps, toothbrushes, and toothpaste). Then people could grab those bags and not even have to hit that station.

This was not necessarily a bad idea in theory.

Granted, the station that had that stuff was staffed just like the others. So, it really took barely any more time for the bag-builders to start a couple of feet earlier in the line and have someone plop that stuff in there… So, personally, I didn’t think the half seconds of extra efficiency were necessary.

But I’m not gonna argue with someone who seemed so happy to be implementing her idea to try to make things go smoother. Also, who in the world do I think I am to even worry about this, right? I’m an assembly line worker today. So I don’t need to be worrying big picture… Bu I’m still gonna talk about it a bit… So, it was sort of a potato/po-tah-to situation in my mind. It might be slightly better. It might not be. My feeling was it didn’t truly matter, since it was about the same… Or was it?

There were a couple of small issues that came up.

Since none of the other lines were doing this, the bag-building people would get confused. They’d come up to our line with an empty bag, but then she’d be trying to hand them one that had a few things in it. Then they’d either have to reach over her to get stuff in their bag (since she was keeping her pre-started bags right in front of the station with stamps and stuff). Or they’d have to go put their empty bags back… It was just confusing people. And it started to get in the way, since it became so hard for people to reach over to the stamp/toothbrush station.

Also, she’d start putting lotions (the next item in the line) in the bags sometimes. And then it became this whole thing of, “Do you have lotion in there already?” The additional confusion definitely outweighed the half-seconds that may have been saved.

Again, I admire this person’s desire to make something better, and her gumption to just start doing it. I love when people are really thinking about the task at hand. I’d rather work with people passionate about what we’re doing (who might make a mis-step (as any of us could)) than people who don’t care. You never fully know if something will work until you try, right?

Since that wasn’t working out so well, she stopped doing that. And people just started again with their empty bags. Basically, no harm, no foul there. And great teamwork. The day was still spectacular.

And then…. This is where I’ll pick up next time.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?