A Yeti walked in the door, continuing to the parts department in the auto dealership. Seven feet tall with long dirty, matted hair all over its body. AND NO ONE SAW IT.
Lately, several cartoons have depicted big happenings surrounding people who don’t notice because their heads were looking down at their phones. This was a brief experience I had last week at a car dealer.
My son and his family were on vacation and spending time with us. My son was actively looking for additional transportation since the oldest granddaughter is now sixteen.
He spotted a car of interest while perusing CarGurus.com less than an hour away. Since the next day was his birthday, I said I would drive him over and back. This accomplished two things. He got to see and test drive a car on his list and I got to spend time with him.
We saw the car in the huge lot and walked around it to get a feel. Since he was interested in a test drive, we went to the showroom and consulted with a salesman. He found the keys, they climbed into the car and drove off into the sunrise. Since the back seat was all but non-existent, I declined and went back into the showroom to enjoy the air conditioning.
Then, as happens when you’ve finished several cups of coffee, … well, you get the idea. I walked to the front counter to ask the location of the restroom.
Cell Phones Everywhere
I approached the desk and the receptionist was on her cell phone. It was several moments before she noticed me standing there. Embarrassed, she looked up, and with my question, pointed me through the parts department to the last hallway. “Then take a left,” she said. I thanked her and headed back.
When I was returning to the showroom I noticed that the lady in the first office was on her cell phone. Then passing the second office, she was too.
Looking to my left, I noticed both Service Writers were busy checking their phones.
The Battle is Lost
The battle is lost and the war is not far behind. Here is what I remember from my work experience before the ubiquitous cell phone.
When there were no customers that needed help, we found work to do. Filing, sweeping, cleaning, sorting, whatever. Obviously, the options are different at different types of workplaces. Now the time is filled with heads down looking at social media. I’ve never worked anywhere there was not work that needed doing when the calm hit. Sometimes even preparing for the next onslaught.
I would like to see a study on how many million man-hours we lose daily to these devices.
My personal experience is no different. When I would walk into the warehouse, several people would scramble to put their phones away, while trying to look innocent. Speaking to them didn’t make a difference, neither did scolding them of writing them up. Addictions are hard to overcome.
Sadly, the only solution I found was firing people. That would help all workers in the short term but not for long.