Re: What Are Writing Skills?

Subject: Re: What Are Writing Skills?
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 10:11:19 -0500

When I read a long post devoted to analyzing the personal shortcomings of a list member, I grow uneasy...

To change the subject, the talk of cash-register software reminds me of a pertinent story from a place I used to work at. They had a point-of-sale system, much more powerful and all-inclusive than a cash register but also including a cash register--excuse me, a PC with a cash drawer. The engineers were focused on programming the PC, not users and tasks, and the POS system was as feature-rich as only an unleashed PC could be, but not exactly streamlined for use by sales clerks. (You can probably predict where this is going.)

For example, what is the absolute first thing you do with a cash register in the morning? As a summer-job department store clerk, I know the answer: you put in the float, which is the money seeded in the cash drawer to make change. (Think of setting up a game of Monopoly.) Someone in the back office sets up the floats for all the registers, and it's a very rote procedure of putting a certain number of bills and coins of each denomination into the drawer. You see drawers going in and out of a supermarket office all the time.

Well, the engineers designed this POS system such that every day the software would analyze the cash in the unit's drawer and calculate a new float for the next business day, particular for THAT unit, that would--I don't know--minimize the float. Think about this now; instead of the back office clerk mechanically shuffling cash into a series of drawers, with the rapidity of practice, you make that clerk stock each drawer to precise, unique, and daily changing specifications. Yeah, THAT'S efficiency!

I did my due diligence and point out that this was not a good idea. I didn't win that one. I hate when that happens...


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