There is a form taped up on a wall behind the counter, titled “Winter Conditions Log.” We’ve been using it to record what the weather was like when we shoveled and/or salted the front walkway, because everything must be trackable in a middle-management database, apparently.
But that’s not enough. An assistant manager has now told me that the Winter Conditions Log must be filled out twice a day, every day, whether we have to do anything about the weather or not.
The reason she gave me is that, in the event of a slip-and-fall lawsuit, the company wants to know what the weather was like at the time. (The store manager later expanded on this, saying the company wants to be able to look up what the weather was like “ten years ago.”)
Let’s walk that through, shall we?
- A cashier checks his or her phone (which is otherwise frowned on) for a current weather report, and writes it down.
- Someone enters this into a corporate database.
- When needed, management looks up the database entries for that day, probably checking it for accuracy against other locations, archived weather reports, and the National Weather Service –
Wait, what? The National Weather service keeps “observed weather” data already and makes it available? And half the weather forecasters in America archive their forecasts and observed weather? Why are we duplicating this, again?
The only rational reason I can think of to make us do this makework is to desensitize us to pointless paperwork… but I don’t think middle management is that clever.