Line to lost time
I ENTER THE OFFICE of the Barbados Licensing Authority to pay my road tax. There are six people in the queue.
There are three out of eight cashiers at their windows, and they are attending to clients. At 11:30 a.m., the same three tellers.
One is still attending to the same client since 10:55 a.m. The queue is now 20 people long.
At 11:45 a.m., a male wearing a shirt with the Barbados Licensing Authority emblem on his pocket, and who appears to be a supervisor or manager, enters, looking into the cashier area as though surveying the situation.
An elderly lady in the queue asks him if he works there and he replies “no” and exits to the yard.
At noon, the cashier who has been attending the same customer for 50 minutes is now free, but gets up and leaves.
There are now two cashiers and the queue now snakes out the door with 35 to 40 people.
At 12:20 p.m. I have completed my transaction. There are still only two cashiers working. I wish to ask: is there a management system in place at Government offices, such as the Barbados Licensing Authority, which would practically roster cashiers’ lunch breaks?
Does anyone in authority check when they go and when they return? When there are long queues, does management ask the cashiers to defer their lunch break until the numbers are reduced? The tale above tells much about productivity. If 30 people, who have jobs, stand in line for over an hour, that amounts to more than three days’ work lost (on the eight-hour workday). Think of the number of businesses that suffer that loss.