The study of time and motion

Shopping trolleys

I don't know whose idea it was. But whoever it was did not carefully consider the potential pitfalls. In fact, the quality of the time and motion study conducted prior to departure was, to be frank, crap.

All of the junior recipe testers needed new thongs. The fridge and pantry were looking a little light on, and the fruit bowl was completely barren. For some reason, it seemed like a good idea to go on a family outing. For all these things.

We ventured to a local hub of despair, but where all manner of requisite items can be found. On entering the shopping centre I remembered some vital item left in the car. The chief recipe tester bravely forged on to the shoe shop while I returned to the car.

When I located the crowd in the shoe shop there were myriad thongs removed from the racks. In addition, several party members were being threatened with severe consequences if they continued with their refusal to wait their turn. Remarkably, the juniors obliged. There was a small glitch when it came to paying: I realised I had left my wallet at home. Fortunate that this was a family outing; the senior recipe tester obliged, and produced his wallet.

We left the shoe shop in around 7 minutes, triumphant in both purchase and in the speed and efficiency with which the task was completed. The senior recipe tester and I congratulated ourselves and carried on.

Supermarket to follow. All items were retrieved and we arrived at the checkout positively beaming at our prowess. We decided that one junior recipe tester and I could head to the fruit shop, via one other necessary stop, while the senior recipe tester and his assistants paid for the groceries. The senior would then bring the car round to the fruit shop for loading, all tasks would be completed and we could call the mission complete.

I was about half way to the next stop when I remembered the small issue of finances to pay for any items I cared to purchase. We headed back to the supermarket queue to request some funds. Cash in hand,we quickly retrieved a few essentials in another shop and went to the checkout.

The cashier announced the total. "Oh", I said. "I don't have that much money." The cashier didn't look all that amused. "I'll have to put some things back." He dutifully started reverse swiping items (who knew that could happen?). With every swipe he looked at me expectantly. Eventually an appropriate total was reached. I paid and we left.

Now without a bean to bless ourselves with, the junior recipe tester and I headed to the fruit shop. I reasoned that the senior recipe tester would be in the car outside following this shop and I would be able to retrieve his wallet before I had to pay.

Without warning, a second junior recipe tester appeared next to us. "Here's Dad's wallet." he said.

"But Dad says, 'We need the car keys.'"

"Oh."

I looked up to see a somewhat exasperated senior recipe tester, a full trolley and another junior recipe tester, now fraying at the edges, standing in the doorway of the fruit shop...

The study of time and motion is used to increase efficiency with which tasks may be completed. In this regard, we are deficient. If you would like to increase your efficiency next week, may I suggest next week's menu?

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