Silly statistical shenanigans in the drive-thru

As a close friend and former roommate of a QSR (quick service restaurant or “fast food”) crew member and manager, this one strikes a special chord with me. reports on a really stupid pet trick being pulled by some QSR drive-thru workers. They are asking customers to back up and pull forward to restart the speed of service timer. A very low-tech and suspicious method of gaming the system.

The article does mention the prospect of in turn gaming the drive-thru jockeys out of free fries or similar such things. I find it difficult to take a real stance on the ethics of such a manuever. Hopefully, it will not matter soon; I am aware that at least Taco Bell, and possibly all other Yum! Brands QSRs (KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, A&W) have an amount display set up below the drive-thru window, which assumably cycles through to the next customer when “cheated” in such a fashion. I’m wondering why Burger King et al don’t adopt similar technology to squash this type of statistical shenanigans.

If the numbers are to matter, if the management of a QSR actually gives a damn about real speed of service and not just making the numbers look good to the next higher manager, this type of cheating needs to be dealt with by termination, first time, no exceptions.

And to the workers resorting to this in a vain attempt to save their jobs: If you can’t stay up to speed, stay out of the kitchen.

Backwards in Afghanistan

A very unpleasant reminder of just how backwards some societies are in 2009.

The Guardian reports on a law made in Afghanistan permitting men to starve their wives if sexual demands are not met. Yes, check your calendar, it really is 2009 and this kind of law really did get passed.

Another truly outrageous and sexist portion of this law is that women must get permission from their husbands to work.

Quoting the article:

“These kinds of barbaric laws were supposed to have been relegated to the past with the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, yet [President] Karzai has revived them and given them his official stamp of approval.”

As a US resident, I supported our military aid towards the overthrow of the Taliban, the same group that blew up the Buddha statues standing for the majority of two millenia. I would like to think overthrowing the Taliban was not work our soldiers did in vain. The passing of laws like this, that would even be backwards for the 18th century much less the 21st, does nothing to add to my confidence.