January 13, 2006

The Corporation Doesn't Want Sixty Seconds to Be a Minute

A friend of mine -- well, actually he's my son Chris -- is going through a week of training for a job as a waiter at a midrange corporate-owned restaurant. Every task at the restaurant is broken down into a timed sequence, and as a trainee, Chris will be tested on his knowledge of all the required sequences, as well as on the menu items and their descriptions.

The time limit for greeting a customer at the door is sixty seconds. When his trainer, as a review, asked him to provide this information, Chris said the time was a minute.

"That's not the correct answer," the trainer said. "The correct answer is sixty seconds."

"Sixty seconds is a minute," Chris said.

The trainer repeated that the answer "a minute" was wrong.

"I maintain that a minute is sixty seconds," Chris said.

At no time did the trainer admit that a minute was sixty seconds.

"Corporate doesn't want a minute to be sixty seconds," she told him. "Corporate decided that service would do it faster if they saw it in terms of seconds not minutes. Therefore, sixty seconds is not a minute."