Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Good, Fast Closing

Expect my forthcoming best-seller, "Everything I Learned in Business Life I Learned at Captain D's" to be released as soon as get around to writing it.

I have the chapter topics and I really did learn a great deal there.

Coming from divorced parents and only $500 that my father gave toward my college tuition, I worked several jobs to pay for my school.  Some jobs paid very little (such as Managing Editor at the University News or sports stringer jobs at United Press International).

I worked at Captain D's for seven years, first in high school and then until my final year in college, when I got a summer internship at Sprint.  I worked as assistant manager at a different restaurant each summer and then weekends during the school year.

I still have one of my
Captain ties.
There, I was hired by someone who was manic about customer service and, in my first job, I was very impressionable.  Captain D's had an operations manual, and I memorized it.  I recited it.  I lived my life by the manual.

We have a training manual for election workers--and it's a great manual--so I think about the Captain D's manual all the time.  Each election night, I think about the simplistic advice the manual gave about cleaning after closing.

"A good, fast closing is desired."

Well, yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh!  (sarcastic stretch)

Once the restaurant closed, we had to clean utensils and pans, filter the fryers, clean the grill and everything perfectly in all aspects of the store, mop the floors, make the closing deposit, record sales, and have the place ready to go for those coming in at 7 the next morning.

It was the type of thing that could keep us there a few hours after closing.  That would be, in the manual's view, a good, slow closing--undesirable because of the cost.

Some tried shortcuts (a bad, fast closing), leaving the restaurant dirty or less ready for those in the morning.

When we report election results, I'm always aiming for the good, fast closing: accurate results, in final form, before the 10 o'clock news is over.

Election integrity advocates will talk about how people are willing to wait for results, and that's simply not the case.  There's a belief that a switch can be flipped at 7:15 and all results (even though they are miles and miles away from our office and physically being driven back before they can be uploaded) should be ready immediately.

Our final results were up at 10:15 Tuesday, the earliest of any large county in the state or in the Kansas City area.  Tomorrow at our canvass, I'm sure I will hear from someone asking if they could have been up sooner.

I am sensitive to that with respect to candidates, who plan parties but the attendees tucker out before the results come.  But no one wants the results out faster than those of us at the office--we were at the office about 18 hours Tuesday.

Most importantly, though, we want a good, fast closing, with emphasis on "good."  An inaccurate, fast closing would serve no one.

Speaking of the canvass, we will present about 8,000 provisional ballots to the Board of Canvassers tomorrow.  Photos of the bags they come back in, and after they've been adjudicated, are to the right and below.