Yesterday, I watched a repeat of Anthony Bourdain’s Anthony Bourdain’s Blog: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations : World, Travel, Food, Wine No Reservations in India. It was the “Bollywood” episode where he did this stupid skit about being a director and casting Bollywood parts for a movie. Now, Bourdain may enjoy these skits, but it never looks like it. Why do his show’s producers find it necessary to waste time on them? Frankly, I would rather hear him grouse endlessly than watch some lame kindergarten skit. I actually like Bourdain’s grousing. He does not sugar coat things, but tells it like it is. Skits on television, however have not worked since the Carol Burnett show. But, I digress, as always.
What I found amazing on this episode is the lunch system in Mumbai, India. Fresh home-cooked lunches are delivered to office workers every day; from their own home usually. What this article did not mention, and what Bourdain did cover, is the rate of mistakes. Once, every three or four months, one lunch is miss-delivered. Or, as Wikipedia says: there is one mistake in 6,000,000. Dabbawala – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia One mistake in 6,000,000.
Wow! Picture that in most of America. Where, you are lucky to get the right order at McDonald’s on any given day. Where, the Wal-Mart employees do not know how to make change without a register telling them. Where, I will get the wrong mail, on average, once a week.
Do these lunches actually stay warm during all of that travel? The one they delivered to Bourdain appeared to be steaming. I believe the reason they do not just carry their lunches in themselves, is there is a very long commute involved. And, vegetables do not microwave all that well. Or, perhaps it is just that home cooked quality means something in India.
My mother loves to eat out, so anytime I take her to town, we hit a restaurant. After sixty years of cooking for family, I can’t blame her. This wrecks havoc on my diet, but mostly because I forget to order something that is good for me to eat. It’s a habit I need to get into. We often do get thoroughly burnt toast or raw or burnt bacon (This reminds me of being home, actually!). I rarely complain, but occasionally I point out that I do not like my toast black. Mother comes from a generation who thought that suffering was the way to Heaven, so she can get embarrassed when I complain.
My nearby town, Nashville, Indiana, had a Long John Silver’s for years. They closed it because, and this was stated in the paper, they could not get good help. If their employees were delivering the Mumbai lunches, I would be able to get one delivered here, in America, purely by mistake because their employees did not know where the “special of the week” food was kept in the kitchen or how to prepare it. Although, I’m not certain how much was the employees fault and how much blame lay with the management.
I do know that our country has low standards when it comes to employees because when I did temp work, in Wyoming, I had three different bosses say to me, “If my secretary ever quits, would you come work for me?” In my head, I was screaming, “Well, fire her, you fool.” Especially, since I was looking for a job at the time. One of these secretaries did quit finally and I was called, but I was rehabbing a house in Indiana. Once, I found two months medical billings in the bottom drawer of the desk of one office.
So, why is it that America cannot have competent help? Yet, Mambai can deliver tens of thousands of lunches correctly. Could it be that we are people who don’t give a flying fig? Like the shop employees, and owners, in this town who sit on the phone and continue to talk while you stand there with your purchase and cash, in hand.
I have no way to wrap this up. To bring you full circle from where I started. I just do not understand how India can keep it’s values and in America we have people who insist on putting your change ON TOP OF YOUR BILLS in your hand. What is that about? Ever try to keep from dropping that change, while holding a bag and getting out of the next guy’s way? You know what is fun? Let them put the receipt and bills in your hand and then pull your hand back before they get there with the change. Freaks them out. Especially if you just jerk that hand back and put your other hand out. They have no idea what to do.
Yup! Real Bright Employees. Maybe it isn’t intelligence. Maybe it’s just common sense that is lacking.