Kennywood-"Bad Ops! Bad!" (day 8 0f 10)

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Monday, June 30, 2003 4:43 AM
"Why not take a cue from the Point and have the op say even a little something about the ride as you wait or are boarding?"

I don't know about anyone else, but when I board a ride, I really don't care if the ride ops give me a mini history lesson about said ride. While some basic instructions are appreciated (and were said to be missed in this case), being upset that a ride op does not go into a lengthy disertation on the history or back ground of the ride is not really high on my requirement list.

Okay... so my response was a bit snotty. So be it. Like someone said, its basically a sign of the decline of "western civilization" (a civilization which, in my seeming politically incorrect opinion is still the best alternative on the face of the planet). People in general are just a little less courtious than they used to be. For instance, look at many of the responses on this board. How short and ill tempered have we become? Especially look at the responses to people who simply ask "which rides at [insert park name here] do you reccomend?" and read the responses that you can just hear hissing "read the web sites and don't waste our time."
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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Monday, June 30, 2003 6:19 AM

Jack Rabbit: ..... Even with the bar down, there is a lot of room, and I'm a husky guy!

The lap bar does not move on the Jack Rabbit, it is fixed. Have they modified the restraints?


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Monday, June 30, 2003 6:32 AM
Robocoaster's avatar READ the TR and my following responses, Fake. I'm not upset about not getting a history report. It's a suggestion, period. One of a multitude of possibilities as opposed to nothing. Even you mentioned the basics are appreciated.

I have been in a customer service-orientated profession for 18yrs now. I've come into facilities that had horrible reps for how the employees treated the customer. It's not easy turning that around, and educating the staff is an ongoing process, but it can be done. Yes, even in this day and age.

So, stop it with the "society today" stuff, people. That's a cop-out. It starts with a good screening process, and from there you hire the best candidates and guide them as to what is expected from them in all aspects of their position; from the technical stuff to how to deal with patrons. I'm betting KW doesn't hire just anybody without a similar process. And if nothing gets said, nothing will change.

So I am going to contact the park, and let them know how I felt. I'll tell them how my visit went, and how much more I'd recommend their park, and how much faster I'd try to return, if they just work on this one area.


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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......
*** This post was edited by Robocoaster 6/30/2003 10:34:08 AM ***

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Monday, June 30, 2003 6:35 AM
Robocoaster's avatar Jimster, that's what I meant. Even in it's one position, there was still a bit of wiggle room. So there must be even more room for those who are smaller, especially kids.

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......

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Monday, June 30, 2003 8:08 AM
rollergator's avatar

SLFAKE said:


I don't know about anyone else, but when I board a ride, I really don't care if the ride ops give me a mini history lesson about said ride. ....a lengthy disertation on the history or back ground of the ride is not really high on my requirement list.

Requirement? Certainly not.....that being said, I *hope* I'm not the only one who enjoys a little bit of the hsitory of certain rides....and it IS a nice *bonus* when it occurs. The first visit to SFoG this year, we talked to the older gentleman running the carousel (Riverview Carousel)...we were the ONLY ones riding, and after the ride we stayed and talked with him for 10-15 minutes about the history of the ride and its place in SFoG history as well....it wasn't *required*, but it certainly made the difference between a good day and a GREAT day....

Pleasant and polite interactions between staff and guests, IMO, is the most important part of running any business in the *hospitality industry*....and for ALL the rides and fun, that's STILL what the amusement business is....
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It seems today, that all you see, are violins in movies, and sax on TV....


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Monday, June 30, 2003 8:43 AM
Robocoaster, unfortunately, there are bad eggs at Kennywood. That's just the way it is. And in this day and age, it's not that easy to hire enough people to work the park and, unless they're stealing or doing something that really warrants firing, they won't do it. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but it is. I'm a manager in Games and the guys I work with aren't always the happiest people on Earth. Heck, I'm not always the happiest person either. But when you work 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day and are either bored out of your mind or running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you wouldn't be too happy either. I know that this isn't much of an excuse for the paying guest, but it's the truth. Most of us teens only care about the paycheck every two weeks (although I'm not one of them, and if you do want a history lesson, come and see me. :) ) I do ask that you give Kennywood that second chance though. Maybe come back on a busier day, because I know we were all bored out of our minds in early June. :)


	
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Monday, June 30, 2003 9:01 AM
You're making it seem like there was a talent contest and only the best got picked to be ops - its not that kind of park. It may be a great park, but very few people know that, and when I tell someone "hey Kennywood is one of the best parks in the world" they look at me like I'm from another planet and tell me I must be joking. Kennywood is just the "local park" to us, and they don't have a very selective hiring process (based on my friends who have jobs there).

My friends that work at the park are awesome, they're fun people to hang around, but they don't care about their jobs anymore than someone who slaves away in a cubicle. Kennywood isn't a spectacle for those that live here, its just the hometown place to go have a good time. The ops are just there to operate the things that you aren't allowed to touch yourself, and you make your own fun. I like it that way and I think it would really put a dent in the Kennywood I know and love if the ops were as "into it" as CP ops get late in the year.

If you want someone to care about their jobs, you give them time away from it and you pay them a decent wage. If the ops only worked 8 hour shifts or so, and had a day off every now and then to do anything more than catch up on the sleep that they haven't gotten lately because believe it or not, they are humans and they are kids/young adults who like to have fun from time to time and not work every day all summer, I'm sure they'd be happier.

Plus as a side note - if you see the travelling band in the park, please stop and clap for them. They do a great job, but they're very angry this year that they don't even get a clap from the patrons, they just get stared at ...

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett

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Monday, June 30, 2003 9:02 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

So, stop it with the "society today" stuff, people. That's a cop-out.

I didn't drop the "western civilization" comment as an excuse - more as a rationalization. I see it happening everywhere. Which brings me to:


It starts with a good screening process, and from there you hire the best candidates and guide them as to what is expected from them in all aspects of their position

Sadly, they probably did all of that.

A personal example: My wife is a hotel GM. She's been getting some less than great feedback on her front desk staff. She hooked up with one of those "secret shopper" type services. They have a checklist of what should be said, done and how things are handled when making a phone reservation. The "secret shopper" calls and fills out the report while making a reservation. Between the comments and the secret shooper service she has a meeting with the front desk staff, reminds them of the way to treat a guest (or potential guest) and offers a hundred dollar bill to anyone who gets 100% on the report. These people know in the next month someone will be evaluating their performance two times and that all they have to do is do their job correctly to get $100 on the spot (twice potentially). Sounds simple enough.

The highest score anyone got over that month was 57%.

And we're talking adults here. Kids working a summer job at an amusement park basically for spending money are going to be even harder to keep tabs on. Sadly, while I don't agree with and am even saddened by it to a degree, this is just how things have turned.

You can take every action possible and still people will be however they're going to be. Hire a supervisor to watch a group and they won't see everything in the best case. In the worst they'll be as big an idiot as the people their watching. I'm sure they're doing as much as they can and letting them know only helps. I'd bet they're even appreciative of the feedback and will take all appropriate steps to correct the problem(s).

It's not an excuse for the actions to blame a declining society in general, it's reasoning as to why this stuff seems to happen more and more - even at traditionally top notch places like Kennywood. I try to fight it every chance I get, and am glad you will too. Sadly, I'm not sure it helps in the long run.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 10

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Monday, June 30, 2003 9:26 AM
I must admit I really dont pay much attention to ride ops, unless they pay particular attention to me. That being said, a monotone op dosent bother me in the slightest. I have over thbeen to Kennywood many times over the years, and while I cant really remember a time an op was particularly nice to me, I cant recall a time where they were rude either. I will be going to Kennywood sometime next week, and maybe I will pay a little more attention to the ops(and especially that spitting thing), so we will see. I have had a few nice experiences with Ops, one that really stands out was at SFGAM on a cold rainy day in May, 2001. It was on their antique car ride(cant remember the name). Anyways, I was there on a class trip, and it was scattered showers all day, with a high of 55 degrees. Not exactly the kind of weather that puts you in a good mood. Adding to that, I was with 5 of my friends. This op started a nice conversation with us while we were boarding. Asked us how we were doing, where we were from, ect. Of course it didnt last long, but it was nice to talk to someone who was in such good spirits on such a cold nasty day.

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Kennywood Park, America's finest traditional amusement park.
Track Record: 60 coasters at 17 parks.

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Monday, June 30, 2003 9:53 AM
Pete's avatar

Robocoaster said:
Gangbanger style is what I meant. And that style is fine for leisure wear, but unnaceptable for that job. I don't let my staff wear their uniforms that way becuase it's un-classy. You don't have the right to be as comfortable as you please on the job. You do need to be presentable, however.

That is so true. The last thing I want to see are a bunch of people working with half their butts hanging out. Hell, the local plumber looks classier with "plumbers crack". I don't know why people think they look "cool" with their pants pulled down, they just look like dorks to me.

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I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks,
than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Monday, June 30, 2003 10:15 AM
I'm reminded of my one-and-only visit to Kennywood - two years ago at the start of the season. The start of the day involved hanging around the main gates, one of which was open with numerous people - not in uniform - wandering in and out. I made the mistake of wandering inside to the area where the ticket boothes were and was immediately "intercepted" by a security guard who snapped "Can I help you?" in the mast sarcastic voice I have heard. I was then told in no uncertain terms to get outside of the gate.

I was then allowed to enter and buy my ticket. On entering the park, the girl on the entrance gate muttered something about a hand. I had seen other guests holding out their hands to get a stamp, so I held out my right hand - big mistake! "LEFT hand!" - she practically shouted at me. No smiles from anyone. So - I had encountered two very unfriendly members of staff before even getting inside the park. That probably put me in a bad frame of mind, but then I was met with rides that didn't open until an hour or two later, even though we had passed the park's publicised opening time, coasters were running with single trains and vey slow loading times, and in the first two hours, only one park employee smiled or showed me any courtesy at all. That guy was one of the sweepers, and was the only one who seemed to be enjoying his job that day.

So - sorry folks - my Kennywood experience was very disappointing. I left soon after (once I had ridden Phantom's Revenge) Again, perhaps it was the negative frame of mind that my early encounters had put me in, but I found PR to be a major flop.

As people have said in previous posts - it can be hard work being a ride op, gate attendant or security guard, but these events took place just a few minutes before and after the park opened for the day, and it was right at the start of the season.

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Monday, June 30, 2003 11:07 AM
No one really works six days a week, 12 hours a day. Managers are only allowed to work four open-closes in a row and on the rare occasion red-shirts work three in a row. Most of the times we get two days off a week and the days non-minors don't work open-close, you come in at 1.

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Monday, June 30, 2003 11:25 AM
Pete, talking like that just shows your age (I too, also think it looks stupid, showing my age). Every generation finds something about the next generation they think is stupid. That's just the way life is. In the early 80's it was cool to wear your collar up or push up the sleeves of your jacket (any jacket). The early 90's it was the grunge look. But they now realize that they looked like idiots, just like the older generations thought at the time.

The moral of the story is you can never stay cool forever. Except for me! :-)

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tambo
*** This post was edited by tambo 6/30/2003 3:27:52 PM ***

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Monday, June 30, 2003 1:03 PM
I must be missing out on something good then Beeman, because I worked 63 hours last week and I was there open to close everyday but Monday (which was my day off) :(
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Monday, June 30, 2003 6:03 PM
Robocoaster's avatar This has been way more interesting than my usual lurking...;)

Seriously, I may have been to quick in my overall assessment. Come to think of it, the ops on my visit were indeed efficient. I acted as if hospitality is the only factor of a ride ops job. I won't change my initial TR, as I can admit a mistake when I make one. And I did.

No, the ride ops do not suck. But my initial reaction ot the lack of customer service remains the same. I visited 8 different parks this trip, and was least impressed with ops at KW. As 'Gator said, polite and pleasant interactions with a park's staff, ops included, is an important part of the business.

I am salaried, and during busy weeks at the movie theatre, I can work up to 70 hrs, 7 days a week. And when I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off (which will happen when you have 3 "Bruce Almighty"s, 4 "Matix Reloaded"s, 2 "X-Men 2"s, and a bunch of other busy shows), you can darn well bet that even at the end of a long day (and it gets very hot behind the snack bar with all the popcorn poppers and hot dog cookers and nacho warmers running full speed), I will still let the customer know I appreciate their patronage, and give them a smile; for I know full well they could go elsewhere.

And one last time: They are the ones boasting about having the best park. They are putting themselves out there as a place to visit. No offense, but I'm not interested in how the locals feel about the park. The locals aren't the ones courting my dollars; the park is. And any business bold enough to make the claim that they are the finest anything, ought to have an above average level of customer service.

The ride ops are not horrible; just in need of a little pr training.

Thanks for all the input, really. The ones who disagreed with me and those who understood what I'm trying to say.

But like I said, it's time I take it up with the park directly.

-Robo


*** This post was edited by Robocoaster 6/30/2003 10:05:53 PM ***

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003 2:33 AM
I noticed the "pants down way past the ass" on a few ride ops (one was a girl!) a few weeks ago while at Kennywood. I don't mind people doing that if they are park guests but I thought it was extremely inappropriate to have numerous staff members dress like that. I'm not talking about wearing your pants low--I am talking about down past the butt.

I didn't notice any rude ride ops but thought it was strange not to put the 2nd train on Phantom when the wait got to be 45 minutes +. We asked a ride op if they were gonna add the 2nd train and he said it wasn't busy enough (!)

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003 7:32 AM
If they still arent running 2 trains on the Phantom, thats just plain stupid, that I'll admit. I mean, they spent money to get those breakes installed, why not use them? Anyways, one factor that probably contributes to the whole ''bad ride op'' deal could be Kennywood's location. Its not exactly in happytown, USA. In fact, some of the surrounding area's are basically the ghetto, IMO. Its a unique place for an Amusement park to be sure, but not the best. I remember in 2001, that main bridge that you cross right beofre turning onto kennywood blvd., was closed the day I went(somebody jumped off it), so we had to take a crazy Detour, that with us not knowing where we were going(we've always used that bridge). It took an hour, and some of the areas we went through were not the best. No offense to anyone who lives in West mifflin or the surrounding ares. Just thought I'd point this out.

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Kennywood Park, America's finest traditional amusement park.
Track Record: 60 coasters at 17 parks.

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Thursday, July 3, 2003 2:14 PM

Anonymous16 said:
I wear my pants pass my ass, and I'm not a gang member. Some of us like to wear it like that because it's comfortable, not because it's the style.

Then perhaps you should try buying pants that fit!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004 1:35 AM
HI! I just read over this entire thread. Took me nearly a half an hour to read. I have a few statements to make. I work at Kennywood. This comming year will be my 5th year there. The statement saying that kids are working to make a quick buck or pocket money is not entirely true. I know for a fact that many of those workers are there to pay for college education or means of transportation (even if just bus fair) and some to support their families.

Also, I would have to disagree with beeman on the hours worked. Since he was a minor at that time of posting, I will not hold it against him; however, I have worked 4 13+ hour days in a row, had only 1 day off the week, and worked 12 days straight. My average paycheck consisted of my working over 120 hours in 2 weeks. To some, they may sound like a lot and to others not enough, but if you add in the traveling time to and from, time I had to share with extracurricular activities and other school things I was involved with, that doesn't leave much time for resting or being with your family.

The posts about the pants. No. They should not be hanging that low. It's the managers and Supervisors' job to watch for that. But you have about 1 supervisor for every 150 so workers. They aren't going to be able to catch them all. And when they do see it, they correct it.

If you want happy operators, don't come on an excessively slow or busy day. Don't come if it looks like it'll be closing soon but it won't, or when it's really hot. That's the sad truth. While wearing polyester uniforms, in the sun, on your feet, fighting guests, you try to show the bare minimum. Most workers believe "why be nice to the guest if they aren't nice to us." Just like you claimed operators as a group, I am as well with guest. We do get the occational ones we wish would ride over and over again. When you have to deal with parents that are mad because their child is to short to ride, or someone in line that can't wait until they are off the ride to smoke their cigarette, an adult that throws up on you or a child that pees on you, let me know if you can be at your highest level of happiness and enthusiasm. Thoughts may cross your mind that this doesn't happen every day, but sadly it does. Guest don't know how to read the signs and yet fight the workers for doing our jobs. With that kind of attitude from the general guest, why should the workers be happy all the time?

This may make you think I'm possibly one of those that was rude to you, but unless you were rude to me, I wasn't. I'm known for only being rude to those I have to fight with. Generally, I make everyone else have energy. With my outlook of loving my job and most of the people I worked with, the mere fact that I am able to have these such complaints against yours should show you proof enough. Not everyone is bad, not every park is perfect. And you get what you give. Some are downright rude to everyone, other co-workers try to get them fired. While others usually just have a bad day either caused by a guest or some other means.

I'm sorry your visit wasn't up to par, but I can bet that if you were a worker, you'ld do nearly the same thing after a few weeks. Maybe not as bad as some that you took note of, but not a single one of those Kennywood workers are happy all the time. You just got the bad end of the shift.

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Thursday, February 26, 2004 3:31 AM
Robocoaster's avatar Airyckah, I thought for a while about whether to respond or not, having said enough already. I appreciate your input on the subject, however, and what I'm going to try to do is address some of the points you brought up. I don't want you to think I'm picking on Kennywood; not at all. Rest assured, I can't wait to get back. I am taking issue with some of the comments, but in a very general way; you could apply this to almost any job.

If you want happy operators, don't come on an excessively slow or busy day. Don't come if it looks like it'll be closing soon but it won't, or when it's really hot. No offense, but which three days of the year would that be?;)

Most workers believe "why be nice to the guest if they aren't nice to us." Simple. I pay your wages. End of discussion. A bit harsh? Yes, it is. Such is the world we live in. However, just because I paid x amount for parking, admission, a locker, gifts and refreshments, does not give me the right to be a jack***. No worker anywhere should be treated rudely by a customer, and overly obnoxious guests should be asked to leave. I have a lot of options as to where I will spend my hard-earned cash. And A simple "thank you" or "enjoy the rest of your day" is nice, even if not expected. And sometimes you have to bite your tongue and smile and be pleasant to someone who is a total jerk. And if your good at it, by the time your interaction is done, youv'e made the jerk feel like a completely self-absorbed ****knob. Trust me, it'll only hurt your ego once...

When you have to deal with parents that are mad because their child is to short to ride, or someone in line that can't wait until they are off the ride to smoke their cigarette, an adult that throws up on you or a child that pees on you, let me know if you can be at your highest level of happiness and enthusiasm. No offense, but are you under the impression that these situations are unique only to Kennywood? Please. This happens at most amusement parks, a lot of which I feel have superb customer service despite all the troubles.

With that kind of attitude from the general guest, why should the workers be happy all the time? Which brings me to my main point, which is: No one expects the workers to actually be happy all the time. But you could act like it. I'm sure all the enthuisiastic kids at CP weren't all that thrilled in reality, but they are well-versed in putting on their best face, regardless.

...but I can bet that if you were a worker, you'ld do nearly the same thing after a few weeks. No, I wouldn't. Sorry, but it's called work ethic. But when I was younger, my work ethic was questionable at times, I admit.

See, I work at a theatre. And every single friggin' day, I have guests being rude and obnoxious; like trying to sneak into the theatre, or into an additional show, who get very beligerent went caught red handed disobeying the rules. Parents who are ticked that they can't give permission for their kid to see an "R" movie without their presence. Kids throwing up popcorn and twizzlers because they had to much of that mixed with their sodas. People who change their infant's diapers in the theatre, and leave it as a present for us. Patrons upset that the paper has the wrong times (nevermind that the date at the top of newspaper was yesterday or even older). Hey look, I could go on (and on and on), as I'm sure you could. But I can't take that out on all guests. Each guest deserves thanks for choosing my place over a competitor's, and until and unless a person is rude to me, they will be greeted with a smile and a pleasant attitude and my full attention when I'm on the clock being paid to work.

Look, I know you feel strongly about your complaints, but few jobs are fun. Most people tolerate their jobs for the pay. And a "minimum response for minimum wage" attitude is simply wrong-headed. It's just a fact that some places have better customer service than others. I believe that a good work ethic on the part of the employees starts with the upper-management. And if they aren't setting a good example, and/ or not setting the bar high enough, then that is where the problem probably lies. *** Edited 2/26/2004 8:36:02 AM UTC by Robocoaster***


They Live. We Sleep.

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