Strange MF policy Sunday morning

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:02 PM
I made the trek to CP this weekend. Saturday was way more crowded than I thought, but me and my girlfriend had a great time.

What was very odd, was Sunday morning at MF. We got there about 905 am for the resort entry, and noticed the line was out of the enterence. What they were doing was making everyone try the test seat. I mean EVERYONE. People were fuming, and trains went by the last overbank turn with 6 to 8 people tops on it. The greeters were saying it was a management decision last Saturday night. Anyway, after guys on cell phones trying to call managment, and some VERY unhappy people, they changed this new procedure.

Very odd, just thought I'd throw it out there.

Oh, and in other news Mantis and Mean Streak still blow.

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Monday, September 26, 2005 6:10 PM
"Oh, and in other news Mantis and Mean Streak still blow."

And Genralissimo Francisco Franco is still dead... ;)

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Monday, September 26, 2005 6:35 PM
The two girls that were at the entrance to MF doing the checks were volunteers from some sorority doing a fundraiser. They were told to make everyone sit in the seat so as to not exclude anyone or "single" them out in line so they couldn't ride. (it was a nice way to say that this was to avoid tossing someone and creating delays in the loading station) They were making even little bitty kids get in the seats so nobody was exempt. I was at the front of the line of this mess and you wouldn't believe how ignorant people were getting with them. I felt pretty bad for those two girls. They were just doing what they were told and guests were coming up to them and cursing and just being all around asses without a doubt. I guess like the original poster of this topic said, some folks got on their cell phones and called park ops and let me tell ya, by the time I got back around for my next lap, NOBODY was in the test seat. It was a quick change of decision to say the least.
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Monday, September 26, 2005 6:56 PM
Odd.

P.S. I liked Mantis when I rode it a few weeks ago, except the water around it is really gross.

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Monday, September 26, 2005 7:10 PM
"They were just doing what they were told"

I understand the point you are making here, and it is often made in several circumstances, but I don't agree with the concept of letting decision makers hide behind pawns. If the decision is stupid and someone needs an earfull, then whoever is out representing the company is the one who gets it. If not, then management or whoever can do whatever and everyone just has to take it because the decision makers hide behind their employees. This situation arises far too often.

As for this case, whoever was behind the decision is just dumb.

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Monday, September 26, 2005 7:59 PM
I had the same situation happen on the weekend of labor day. Needless to say, people were very upset and tempers flared as people were trying to jump in the line before the park closed.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 2:22 AM
If the ride is running 1,200 riders per hour, 1 rider per 3 seconds must pass entrance to maintain the line. The capacity is 1296 and 1200 hours happened quite a bit back when I worked the ride.

I've worked entrance at that ride a lot. There were times I work it for 4+ hours straight. It was a very stressful position at times, especially with freeway. When I first worked the ride, I did what I was told to do. After learning the hard way that it resulted in pissing off more people than necessary, I started doing things my way. I got zero guest complaints and actually got guest compliments.

The whole reason behind forcing everyone to try the test seat is to not single anyone out. Preventing people from getting upset because a ride host is essentially calling them fat. I'll tell you what will piss them off. Finding out they can't ride in front of a huge group of people. The group of people who are also upset, will more likely comment on those who can't fit. It's like making a burn hurt less by pouring acid on it.

My policy for the test seat was to read the guests. This is something ride prides cannot do since they don't have time to gain experience. I usually discretely watched guests who won't be able to ride before entering the line. I look for signs of aggression, upset looks, happiness, joking around, complaining, ect. Then I articulate a plot to work with them. Hours of practice is something I had a lot of. I don't want anyone being pissed off if they can't ride, no matter how trashy they are.

I've seen every reaction from crying to lashing out at me. In most cases I already know what they are probably going to do before they do it. I took the extra effort to listen, directed them to rides they could ride, apologise, and in some cases, took a few moments to chat with them. I managed to be able to do that and everything else entrance required me to do at the time. I actually found it fun to have 2 special access passes to fill out, a parent swap, 10 freeways, a couple test seats, purses, backpacks, stuffed animals, beer, 5 questions. The best part was 4 hours went by very quickly.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:28 AM
Sounds like another problem associated with a lack of staff in the shoulder seasons.

This is another problem that is going to get worse over time if Cedar Fair executives don't place a priority on finding ways to improve employee recruitment and retention.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:32 AM
We were there for this stupid occurance on Sunday morning also. While I can see that you don't want to single out a couple people who potentially won't fit on the ride to have them sit in the seat, I can't see pissing off 100+ people who obviously don't need to sit in the seat. Had this gone on long enough, they would've made my 42 lb. 6 year old daughter sit in the seat. I think it's pretty obvious she was going to fit on ride.

Like the original poster said, this was happening at 9 am. 9 am, when resort guests and Joe Cool pass holders are supposed to get to ride with little waiting, before the GP is let in the park. It's a perk for spending more money on a season pass or spending more money staying in one of CP's resorts.

"Hey let's spend more money staying at the Breakers instead of the Comfort Inn so we can get in the park earlier and get some rides in without waiting for an hour." I can honestly tell you that is the only reason we stay at CP resorts because we don't have Joe Cool. So you got all these people coming in early thinking they are going to get a couple/few rides in with little waiting and they encounter this. You're darn straight they are going to be mad, I know I was. I mean it's not like they were just making you sit down and pull the lap bar down. They were making everyone put the seat belt on and pull the lap bar down. It was a very slow process.

I don't care if the girls were volunteers or not, the decision to make everyone sit in that seat was assinine. Especially when they didn't have any problem telling them to stop doing it once everyone in line with a cell phone started calling park operations. It's stupid crap like this why even the biggest of CP fans have been crying foul the past couple of years (read PointBuzz).

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:07 AM
They need to fix this problem. Its killing capacity on the ride so that a line that only extends down the ramp is still a half hour. Not only that, but the gate they wrap around the entrance to the line looks ridiculous.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:14 AM
Funny, Esch!

This really does seem to be a problem at CP. I'm glad I got to ride before they got all Medival. I'm also glad I've lost about 15lb. I was able to fit before, but now I know I'm guaranteed.

Can't they figure out a better way to up capacity on that ride? I mean, it is a flippin' hugely popular ride!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:05 PM
Hey, it's not a problem to have everybody try the test seat, provided you have about 30 test seats available.

Obviously that's a little bit ridiculous.

I did notice that they finally put a barrier across the front of the test seat frame so that the test seat is a more accurate test.....

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:07 PM
wahoo skipper said:
"This is another problem that is going to get worse over time if Cedar Fair executives don't place a priority on finding ways to improve employee recruitment and retention. "

Retention isn't the problem. The problem is the demographic of their workforce to begin with.. the vast majority of their staff is college students. (Don't say 'and international workers' because they're also college students, so to me they fit in the same category)

Would you prefer they say "no, sorry, you can't work here unless you can devote the entire season, so screw your school needs"? Then staffing would suck in the middle of the summer. Other than the college students, they don't have a huge job pool to pull from - most people can't afford to live off of a seasonal occupation.

As for the policy? It's not so much political correctness as "lawsuit avoidance". My guess is that CP probably just got sued by someone claiming that they were ridiculed/singled out/etc. because a ride op made them try the test seat, and the person barely fit in. Regardless of the outcome of the suit, they want to prevent that from happening in the future.. the only safe way to do that, is to be consistent - either require everyone or require no one. The latter results in huge embarassments and pissed of guests because they waited in line and can't ride. The former results in a huge bottleneck. Either way, the park loses.

My suggestion: Put up a sign that says something to the effect of 'Cedar Point and its employees reserve the right to require, for any reason, any rider, at random, to try the test seat before entering line'

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:24 PM
The staff does a fine job of helping people fit and telling them they won't be able to ride.

They need signage throughout the queue that states that not all guests fit into the restraint system and to contact a ride host if they are concerned. Maybe add another test seat where the platform op sits so they can ask to try it out, or allow guests to hold their place in line to try out the seat.

Or they need to work with Intamin to find a solution to retrofit the trains with a new restraint.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:49 PM
But Dannerman, if they put "at random" and only select larger people, that isn't random. In fact, they will need to put something in place to prove that they are, in fact, selecting people randomly.

Personally, I think CP should, as 8.3 said, retrofit the current MF trains with the same type of restraints that TTD has.

If B&M can design a seat that doesn't require a seatbelt, due to its' lapbar and wraparound seat, I can't see why Intamin can't.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 2:48 PM
dannerman...it is about recruitment and retention and I could get very detailed but I'll spare most of the folks here who could care less.

Years ago, before your time, Cedar Point would go to a college campus and literally hundreds of students per campus would show up interested in a job. That was back when Cedar Point paid pretty well (compared to other types of jobs) and the word on the street was it was a great place to work. They literally took polaroids pictures of groups of kids and when they got back to Sandusky they said, "oh...he looks like a rides employee, she looks like a sweeperette" etc.

Recruitment fell off in the 90's some might say because the pay was low so they instituted a "bonus". The bonus was an extra .25 cents or so an hour that was accumulated over the course of a season which you got in the end in one lump sum if you finished your contract. That figure could add up pretty quick and some kids might leave with $1,000.

That bonus may not be cutting it today as some kids quit before their contract is up anyway. Perhaps they need to look at something new.

As for the college kids, of course CP has to work around college schedules. But part of the staffing issue is that American college kids largely don't want to work there...which is why they are travelling overseas to find help. Instead of addressing the issue of improving things so CP is THE place to work again they just have found a stop gap measure which, I'm quite certain, will dry up in the coming years as overseas economies improve.

The answer? Well, there are lots of things to do.

Improve housing (TEAR DOWN CEDARS) and related facilities (a pool perhaps since some kids don't want the park to be their entertainment when they work there all day long) , raise the wages, improve the scheduling (6 days a week and more in the "hell weeks" is asking an awful lot), a larger, more creative scholarship program, etc.

Human Resources has good people working there but they are limited by the resources give to them from above. Dick and the gang needs to loosen the belt and let those people do some creative thinking.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 4:36 PM
They should have test seats for everything. In fact...
...they should have test seats for the test seats just in case the test seats are defective.
Ya can't be too safe, ya know...

I hope they don't do this when i go there... *** Edited 9/27/2005 8:40:49 PM UTC by FLYINGSCOOTER***

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 4:45 PM
The issue with MF has nothing to do with the staff, I found the staff at the park this Sunday to be more than adequate. Maybe I was lucky, but every ride I rode was hitting interval perfectly fine, except for of course MF.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 5:34 PM
Management just wasn't thnking at all when they suggested that they have everyone try the test seat. As previousl pointed out, you need to get someone in the line every 3 seconds to keep the ride at capacity. If it takes just 30 seconds to have someone try the test seat, then you need 10 test seats. You also need a queuing system to get people in and out of the seats, enough attendents to manage the whole thing, and proper training for the attendents. None of these things were present.

Obviously, someone in management just spoke without doing any of the basic thinking that they are paid for.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:52 PM
They aren't "travelling overseas to find help."

Overseas exchange programs are approaching the parks with people willing to work over their summer break. The park says "ok, we'll take 200." They do it because they can pay them less, not because there aren't workers who want to work there.

Dorney is the same way.. I actually had friends of mine who applied at Dorney, and were told that they didn't have any openings. He just wanted to be a normal ride op. Why weren't there any openings? Because they had already received too many international students.

And it's not about "working around" college schedules. People aren't going to commute across 3 or more states to go to work, no matter how much they like the job. The costs of travel alone are too prohibitive. Further, there are just as many (if not more) "American college students" who work at the parks as foreign college students. The difference is that you can't tell and/or don't notice the Americans because they don't stick out with heavy accents and broken English.

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