Friday, February 18, 2011

Let the fools have their tartar sauce!

In an early episode of the Simpsons, Mr. Burns asks Homer how he would improve the worker problems, and Homer explains that on fish stick Tuesday, they never get enough tartar sauce. Burns figures if giving the people an extra three cents of tartar sauce would improve morale, it would increase productivity and reduce accidents. "Let the fools have their tartar sauce!" he says.

At work there is a "morale table." I'm not really sure what's on it; I've never really gone near enough to investigate. It is inconveniently located right next to the manager's desk. It's probably for giving kudos and/or suggestions, but when everyone can see you approach the table and the boss is right next to it, it isn't particularly helpful.

We don't get President's Day off, which is pretty bad for morale. Someone asked, "Since Monday is a holiday, can we wear jeans?" No, came the reply. HR policy is jeans on Fridays only.

But why? We don't interact with clients. Ever, really. No one sees us but our coworkers. What does it benefit the company that we have to wear fancy pants? Here they have an easy way to improve morale--let the fools have their jeans! flip flops, even!--and it wouldn't even cost them anything. Do we work any less efficiently because our trousers don't need dry cleaning? Are we any less professional because our shirts don't need to be ironed? (And were we really any better students because they forced us to write in cursive for so many years?)

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in policy, conventional wisdom, tradition, whathaveyou, that we miss simple opportunities to make life better. But mostly I don't like to iron.


  1. I hear you on the iron.
    I have heard studies show that dressing nicer - as in not flip flops and shorts - actually does improve productivity. There is another end to the spectrum of course, so I figure dress pants and button up shirts is a nice compromise.

  2. I've heard that, but if the company believes it, why do they let the sales staff wear jeans?


Be nice.