Travel columnist on MSNBC discusses his SFA outing.

It is a shame, but since this country steadily allowed such a decline in employee quality, there is no choice but to pay people more for doing their jobs!

In theory I agree with what you said about paying people less and then giving them more with bonuses, but can you imagine the quality of the employees you'll find by paying them the bare minimum? Chances are your employee turnover rate would cancel any payroll savings.

At SFA, I have had the bad experience, but it had nothing to do with slow employees. I don't really get the "slow employees" comment. Maybe, it does have to do with food only. It all had to do with operations as it relates to rides actually open, and that (as someone said) had to do with the HR person.

Now, for the park having two trains, and someone looking at there cell phone isn't right. With one, I'm not against people having cell phones. There has to be a lot of off-time with running 1 train instead of 2 unless you have a ride like V2 where you see the ride going all the time, and you watch it.

With Mr. Freeze, is there anything really to do when it's sent off if you are running one train? How do you know what's going on outside the station except by your buttons that will say that ride is stopped, or something.

At some parks, employees have a standard goal for an hour of sending trains out. Maybe, they could have a goal of a "regular" working crew, and see how many people get sent out per that hour. Let's say those "regular" working crew get 900 people per hour. These "regular" working crew are not super fast, but they aren't slow either. They are more average. If the "real" crews working doesn't get within 100 people of that amount of people during that hour, they get warnings. If they do it again, they get fired.

So, the workers on Batman the Ride would be told that they have to get 900 people per hour every hour (except for excuses such as the ride broke down, or chunking people, and etc.). They could get 800 people, but they couldn't get less. Otherwise, they get a warning. The standard is an average crew just like them.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
In theory I agree with what you said about paying people less and then giving them more with bonuses, but can you imagine the quality of the employees you'll find by paying them the bare minimum? Chances are your employee turnover rate would cancel any payroll savings.

Not necessarily the bare minimum though.

Say you're paying $10 an hour. ($400 dollars a week)

Cut that back to $9.25 ($370 a week) and offer a quarterly $400 performance bonus. That's sounds pretty sweet on paper. Every three months I can get an extra week's pay for just doing my job well.

The end cost is $20,800 for paying $10 an hour and $20,440 for paying $9.25 with quarterly bonus. Plus, I don't believe the 75 cent difference in base rate will have much of an effect on the quality of applicants.

It's the hiring equivalent of 'free' drinks. ;)


Gator:
If your employee does an "excellent" job, and gets ALOT more responsibility, with little or no additional pay....then you are more part of the problem than you are part of the solution.

Totally disagree. And befor everyone gasps and accuses let my just say three little words - "Paying Your Dues"

Look at it from the other side. Someone is a good worker and you really think they have 'it' - so you offer more responsibility.

Which do you think is the best way up the ladder - getting pissed at additional responsibility and letting your performance drop or taking it head on and kicking ass?

When it comes time for someone to get promoted to that higher paying job who do you think gets it?

The worst part is people with the "well, what do I get for the additional responsibility" attitude are the first to complain about lack of promotions and pay raises and bitch about how the suits do nothing and don't get it.

Guess what? Those suits are there because they picked up the ball and ran with it when given the opportunity.


OK here is the scoop. I emailed the writter and asked him if he paid the full rate to get in to SFA. Didn't expect to hear back, but lo and behold he emailed me back and admitted he had bought his tickets on the internet discount. He also mentioned that Disney does discounts too. I would like to see one for a one day ticket. It is clear to me that he was less than genuine about the price issue, so I will with good reason question the rest of the article too.

I rest my case.

One hole in that theory, since this is talking about SFA i'll use it's pay. A regular ride op gets paid $6.75 over the summer they work an average 60 hour week most of them so They end up pulling $405 before taxes, for working a 60 hour week thats crap for a position that has so many demands put on it.
I've always said that I believe a key ingredient to better performing employees isn't to "catch them off guard and punish them". That really does lead to a hostile work situation and a fun little game of "cat and mouse". Everywhere I've worked that has been successful with their employees has done it through positive reinforcement. First, leading by example. To have good employees, you need a good leader, someone who themselves is a walking advertisement for the powers of "motivation".

Secondly, sorry to have to say this again, but incentive programs have been proven to work. Offer something in addition to a cold, hard $200 a week paycheck, something that rewards the efficient worker and rewards them BIG.

It is sad that we need these types of programs to get people to work up to standard, but we've become a spoiled country that knows we'll somehow land on our feet even if we're fired from our job. Combine that with the mediocrity that some have learned to live with, and what real reason is there to work hard anymore?


Lord Gonchar said:


Say you're paying $10 an hour. ($400 dollars a week)

Cut that back to $9.25 ($370 a week) and offer a quarterly $400 performance bonus. That's sounds pretty sweet on paper. Every three months I can get an extra week's pay for just doing my job well.


Makes perfect sense but...

That'll work for new employees, but what about former employees? Surely they're not going to respond very well to making the same amount of money the following year so can you imagine if you hire them for less than they were earning and tell them that they have to work better to make the same amount of money or a little more? As a manager I think that's fair because the employees weren't doing their job very well and should have to work harder to get their pay but the employees will surely see it differently.

One way to do that is to undercut raises---instead of the 4% you were planning on, raise 2% across the board, and put the other 2% into an incentive program. After a couple of years of this, you've gotten to where you want to go. What's more, the better employees end up getting raises well above 4%, while the poor performers get 2%.

janfrederick's avatar
I say put out tip jars for everyone. ;)

Speaking of American workers...how many of us here are chatting while at work? ;)


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Good idea Brian. That solves two problems- the need for "cost of living" increases and the need to reward the good employees. I'm also a fan of the concept of firing employees that didn't manage to earn a single reward in a year. Of course, then rewards would have to retitled since they are obviously some kind of requirement.

Yeah, I happen to be chatting at work. No performance bonus for me, I guess.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

A regular ride op gets paid $6.75 over the summer they work an average 60 hour week most of them so They end up pulling $405 before taxes, for working a 60 hour week thats crap for a position that has so many demands put on it.

Sorry to keep picking TSC 2007, but this is just another example of the problem.

You know what? Ride op is a crap job with crap hours and crap pay.

You know what else? Most jobs are crap jobs with crap hours and crap pay.

Perhaps the problem isn't with the employer but with expectations of employees?

What ever happened to the idea that, "Yes, this is suck-ass work for little pay and even less recognition, but if I work hard and do well, I can move up and get more pay and if I continue to work hard that trend will continue as well"

Whining, "You're making me work hard" won't get you very far in life.


matt.'s avatar

Spinout said:
I don't really get the "slow employees" comment.

The last time I visited the park Roar was running two trains. It literally, I kid you not, took 20 minutes to dispatch 3 trains from the station. This was typical of the entire visit.

And I still don't buy this whole argument that the entire article is to be discounted because this guy got a discount on his tickets. I'll agree that his opinions would be a bit stronger if he gave a bit more well-rounded picture of ALL the admission options for the parks he is mentioning BUT, and this is a big BUT: I don't understand why only assuming the MINIMUM ticket price across parks is superior to assuming the MAXIMUM price across parks especially when it seems so many of the GP still pay that maximum price.

I know it's very easy as enthusiasts to say "Well if you paid full price that's your fault" but if we're discussing the realities of the General Public's experience, it can't be about what they *should* be paying, it should be about what they *really are* paying. Because we're all living in La-La-Land if, for the sake of argument, we automatically assume every person walking into the gate isn't paying full price.

Still, the point is pretty moot because the experience, at least at SFA, is still pretty awful at every level of the park. You could drop admission to $20 and I still wouldn't consider it very good value. Fix your $@#!%$ park and the pricing will fix itself.

Not to ignore your post Matt, but getting back to what Gonch said...

There is no way I will discount the fact that employers are just as much to blame as employees. There are many employers that treat their employees like crap and that is a huge problem. I'm a firm believer in the "happy employees are good employees" mantra.

Years ago, working a crappy job for crappy money used to be the way you'd move to a better position with better pay. Nowadays, there aren't that many better positions, just crappy positions with higher expectations. How often do you hear of a company eliminating positions and expecting everyone else to pick up the slack? How often do you hear of those companies giving those employees raises because they're going to be working that much harder? The answers, of course are: All the time; and never. Since employers seem to have eliminated many of the positions that bottom-rung employees used to aspire to hold, there is another problem to work on.


Lord Gonchar said:


What ever happened to the idea that, "Yes, this is suck-ass work for little pay and even less recognition, but if I work hard and do well, I can move up and get more pay and if I continue to work hard that trend will continue as well"

Whining, "You're making me work hard" won't get you very far in life.


Yeah, but how many people working in an amusement park as a ride op have any dream of advancing up the amusement industry ranks? 10%? 15? I'd wager that the vast majority of them couldn't care less about 'moving up' in the amusement park industry.

Contrast that with the similarly aged teens working as Congressional pages or interns at area companies/law firms. *These* kids are hustling and taking more work for less pay because they actually *care* about 'moving up' in those industries.

I think the biggest reason you dont see motivation in customer service personnel is that most of those people dont see those jobs as a 'career path'. It's just a job!


zacharyt.shutterfly.com
PlaceHolder for Castor & Pollux

No, they probably won't move up within the park, at least not past working lead. But if they do a decent enough job, and get a decent enough recommendation from their supervisor, then someone with a slightly less-crap job, with slightly less-crap hours, offering slightly better pay, will be more willing to hire said ride-op than some other random kid who spent the summer playing video games.

Everything you do is part of your career path. Everything.


^ Agreed.

Then again, it's the rare individual now a days that has that sort of foresight. A lot people just want to get through the day, especially working in a hot, sweaty amusement park.


Brian Noble said:
No, they probably won't move up within the park, at least not past working lead. But if they do a decent enough job, and get a decent enough recommendation from their supervisor, then someone with a slightly less-crap job, with slightly less-crap hours, offering slightly better pay, will be more willing to hire said ride-op than some other random kid who spent the summer playing video games.

Everything you do is part of your career path. Everything.


Brian,

I think you can't be more right. Seasonal Employees really need to approach this job as if it is going to lead to bigger and better things. I bet few seasonals really approach this job as a learning experience for their future. They don't consider where leading a team of people or supervising a food stand could get them a job after graduating. It shows you are a responsible adult that is willing to do what it takes to get a job done and done well.


A day at the park is what you make it!


matt. said:

Spinout said:
I don't really get the "slow employees" comment.

And I still don't buy this whole argument that the entire article is to be discounted because this guy got a discount on his tickets. I'll agree that his opinions would be a bit stronger if he gave a bit more well-rounded picture of ALL the admission options for the parks he is mentioning BUT, and this is a big BUT: I don't understand why only assuming the MINIMUM ticket price across parks is superior to assuming the MAXIMUM price across parks especially when it seems so many of the GP still pay that maximum price.

I know it's very easy as enthusiasts to say "Well if you paid full price that's your fault" but if we're discussing the realities of the General Public's experience, it can't be about what they *should* be paying, it should be about what they *really are* paying. Because we're all living in La-La-Land if, for the sake of argument, we automatically assume every person walking into the gate isn't paying full price.

Still, the point is pretty moot because the experience, at least at SFA, is still pretty awful at every level of the park. You could drop admission to $20 and I still wouldn't consider it very good value. Fix your $@#!%$ park and the pricing will fix itself.


Matt:

My point is that the writer was not forthcoming about what he paid for admission. Not forthcoming on that point makes me question his slant on the story and anything he reports. How do I know there was a railing missing or a abandoned backpack? It sure makes for a better story, just like a $49.99 admission that he did not pay!

As for how many people pay full admission do you have data on how many people use discounts and how many pay full rate? If not, you shouldn't use that to bolster your argument.

I don't deny that SFA has much to work on, I was there in June and wanted to leave quick, but this guy has proven himself to me to be less than level so I do not accept his report as any evidence.

But unless every Joe Blow knows about the internet deals and is savvy about every discount, then comparing gate prices and experiences of the two parks IS relevant.

In fact, by doing so he's taking the effort to look at it from the average Joe's POV. Which is the whole point of writing a travel review to begin with.

Now if you don't mind, I'll be taking that 'point' of yours. Yoink!

-'Playa


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeremy:
I think the biggest reason you dont see motivation in customer service personnel is that most of those people dont see those jobs as a 'career path'. It's just a job!

I have to admit, I see that point of view and even agree with it to a degree. But if that's the case then:

1. There is no way to get these kids to do more (and more money won't even fix that) - it's just a job.

2. If it's just a job and you don't care then why have a job at all? It just turns into some kid bouncing from crap job to crap job wasting everybody's time.

It shouldn't be that hard to understand the concept of "They're paying me to do something they need done" - it's no different than mom & dad giving you a buck to mow the lawn. They need something done and offer an incentive for you to do it.

This is what having a job is at it's most basic form. If the incentive to do the job is not enough, then why did you agree to it? If mom & dad offered a dime to mow the lawn would you say "no way" or would you agree to it and then stand around in the yard not really doing anything? And if you did the latter, do you think mom & dad would pay up?

I just don't get the attitudes. Don't take the job if you feel the pay doesn't compensate for the work. If a job like that is your only option, take the one that has the best to offer long term and work like hell to get past that 'paying your dues' stage.


Brian:
Everything you do is part of your career path. Everything.

Agreed...except when it's 'just a job' - sometimes it is just a job. Merely a requirement. For high school teens this may not have much to any effect on the long term scheme of things, but for anyone of even remotely adult age, it's no longer 'just a job' - it's life.

At that point everything you do is part of your career path. Everything.

The worst part is it seems to me the people who treat it like 'just a job' are exactly the one who wonk the loudest about those who've gotten somewhere with their career.


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