Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bakesales for TSA -- Part II

During my travel home today I got to experience the customer service provided by our Transportation Security Administration (TSA or "Thousands Standing Around" as my buddy Chuck Muth calls them, What an amazing difference -- I left the excellent customer service of my Marriott hotel to the Soviet culture of the TSA.

So what do I have to complain about this time?

Again the security check point I was being processed (have your ever visited a cattle yard?) had three magnetometers in place but only ONE of them was operational so the three lines of passengers had to alternate going through the machine. This of course upset me since we have poured billions of US tax dollars into the Department of Homeland Security only to be treated like cattle. After I finally got through the check point I noticed FOUR TSA "supervisors" huddled around the manager's desk chatting away on non-business issues. As I walked past these civil "servants" I noticed the door to the TSA break room/staff center had at least EIGHT staff sitting around chatting it up - giddy they were indeed!! At this point I could not take it -- TWELVE staff yucking it up while we taxpayers/airline passengers had to wait for an excessive amount of time to be processed.

This situation prompted me to ask (at the risk of being detained by the authorities perhaps since we must all be "loyal" now) the next TSA staff person that I saw -- whose job was to sit on a chair making sure people did not go back to the security check point I guess based on her location but then again who the hell knows with TSA -- "why is only one magnetometer working while there are eight TSA staff sitting in that room?" To which she replied -- in a very friendly tone actually so let me give her due credit -- "well it is probably a shift change so staffing levels are low right now...................."

Shift change? Airport security is not the same as an automobile factory!!! What is TSA management thinking anyway, have they never taken a course on "engineering operations" where they would learn the concept known as THROUGHPUT ? Instead of having "platoons" of TSA staff doing "shift changes" TSA should simply stagger when people come on and off work -- 2 people now, then 2 people in the next hour, etc. anything that doesn't not leave them short handed at security checkpoints like they were today.

Alas TSA is a government monopoly so there is no possibility of consumer/market forces that would force customer service improvements like Marriott faces every day -- perhaps some TSA funds could be spent by contracting with Marriott to design TSA's staffing schedules.

Finally -- if my postings on this blog end one day you can probably assume that I have been made a resident of Camp Gitmo (just a joke NSA so don't put me on your watch list) ;-)


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