Random Contrarian Thoughts – Part VII

COSTCO GAS PUMP TRAINING…At our local Costco gas station in Mettawa, their gas station pumps are typical of other gas stations, having pumps on both the left and right side of the pumping area although most vehicles have their gas tank on the left side. Because their gas stations are one way and 75% of cars have the left gas tank, it’s only logical to conclude that the right gas pumps serving the left gas tanks will be used two or three times more than the pumps on the other side.

When this occurs, and the majority of the cars are waiting for the right pumps to be unoccupied, how do you deal with some of the vacant left designed pumps?

A few years ago, I found a “work around” to this configuration. These gas pump hoses are quite long so if you close to the pump on the other side, you can use the opposite side by stretching the hose.

This has helped me considerably over the years – often, the right gas pumps are occupied so I carefully maneuver to the left pump and fill up accordingly. Why don’t others do likewise?

Is it because they don’t know how or don’t think it’s a legitimate to pump gas? Do they mind waiting in a longer line waiting for the right gas pumps to be unoccupied? Perhaps they’re not sure it will reach or if they’d do it right. Perhaps Costco could encourage others to consider this. Or perhaps, redesign the gas stations where there are twice as many right pumps as left ones.

SHOULD YOU THANK GOD WHEN YOU FIND A MATE THROUGH ONLINE CHRISTIAN SITES? You see some football players who thank God after they win a football game. It’s funny that you never heard a gridiron player thank God for losing but I digress.

Should Christians who find love and happiness through the Christian dating sites thank the Lord for that arrangement? If God wanted those two individuals as a couple, why would a dating site be needed? Could they not meet the opposite sex at a bible study or church? I’m not sure if God had a hand in connected them through a dating site?  If they didn’t connect through other Christian channels, should the thanks go to their God? Perhaps it should go to those who designed a website and utilized similar profiles and commonalities and geography to help connect people together. Or will they say God’s hand was in the design of the dating site.

MAKE DRAMATIC CHANGES AT THE OSCARS? Watched about 2 hours of the Oscars a few days ago and first, I will not be one of those who complain about the host, Seth MacFarlane, he was a little vulgar and irreverent at times but overall pretty funny. But that’s not what I want to mention and would like to suggest a different model when winners make their acceptance speech. Why not have a separate ceremony where people are thanked – I’m thinking 95% of the viewers don’t care. Why not ask the winner to tell a story about the making of the film – something interesting that occurred during movie production and told in a compelling manner. Would that not add some flavor and spontaneity to the broadcast?

TELECOMMUTING BLUES…In the business news last week, Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo is requiring all Yahoo telecommuters to begin working in the office full-time. No more telecommuting will be allowed after sometime this summer. Is she right? Will people collaborate better if they’re in the office? Should people who are working on projects sit near one another? Could video conference work to help bring remote workers together? By having to work in the office full-time, you’re dealing with much more politics than remote users but perhaps they’ll be more brainstorming and collaboration. Remote users who now will have to commute into the office will not necessarily be happy about the new arrangement? Will she be at all flexible with this arrangement?

Perhaps Yahoo should set up a happy medium program where all workers have to attend 3 or 4 designated days in the office each week. So the collaboration work will be done while employees are in the office. Some of the more solitary work could be done a day or two when employees are telecommuting. This might keep management happy by creating an environment where employees work together and bond 3 days a week. It’s not all 5 days, but perhaps a compromise that they can live with. Employees would get something with this arrangement where they could still telecommute 2 days per week. Not all employees would be happy with this arrangement, especially those who telecommute full-time but is this proposal a little more win-win than no telecommuting whatsoever? With this approach, management can see employees 3 days a week and continue to stress collaboration and idea exchange and employees can at least be content by telecommuting a few days each week. Or should there be any compromise whatsoever by Melissa Mayer?

DO OTHERS FIND MUCH VALUE WITH GOOGLE OFFERS? Google Alerts on items to purchase. It’s $10 off $20 worth of drinks at some downtown bar in Chicago. On the other hand, iPhone accessories @ 45%? It’s not really a ‘Wow” situation – how well do you know these service providers or retailers? Better yet, do you know them at all? How useful would it be to save $10 at a Chicago drinking establishment when I live some 42 miles away in the ‘burbs? Are these retail prices legitimate or are they inflated to recoup some of the profit lost? If you save 50% of $90 but their prices are inflated – how will that work?

Some Recent Examples:

Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ – $20 for up to $40 toward unique barbeque fare.

Regarding Gemvara, a total savings of $100 toward $250 in custom jewelry. Not sure how valuable this deal is?

$9 for 1 express manicure & 2 martinis ($18). Shouldn’t it be the other way around, 1 martini and a manicure and pedicure? If the manicure is express and it comes with 2 martinis and you’re traveling by auto, hopefully, there’s a designated driver.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.