Get acquainted with efficiency



Scene one

Entering a shop around 11 am, a customer gets a few things and goes to the counter where they find a rather disoriented till attendant who is apparently sorting out cash. After a few minutes, the customer is told to go to the next counter. The next till attendant takes her time entering price codes into the system; a few minutes later, she calls out to another till attendant to find out what the price of one item is. The attendant she wants to consult is not paying attention, so she beckons the supervisor who comes over and enters a code into the system and checks the price. Finally, 30 minutes later, the customer is out of the shop. Ideally, it would have taken the customer 10 minutes but instead an extra 20 minutes is wasted.


Scene two

A customer dashes into a shop during lunch hour to get a few groceries before rushing to pick up children from school and to drop them home in time to make it back to the office by the end of the lunch break. After a quick round across aisles in the interest of time, the customer dashes to the till. A till attendant does her job and the final bill is out. The customer takes out his visa card and passes it to the till attendant. She calls out to someone to bring the visa card machine from another counter. A few minutes later, someone appears with the visa card machine. Protocols are observed but the command on the machine fails to go through. After a few attempts, the till attendant announces a “network” problem. The customer has no time to rush to cash money at a bank or ATM and return. So he leaves the groceries at the counter. A good 40 minutes wasted.

Scene three


A customer interacts with a manager at a renowned leisure and accommodation place. The customer is interested in holding a business event at the hotel. After a few interactions over phone and email, a payment plan is agreed upon. The customer is at the time in a different district. He is under the assumption he can wire the funds to the hotel. To his dismay, he is told that he can only pay in cash. The customer is forced to find someone else to pay on his behalf in cash. It takes a day for the transaction to be processed. Hours wasted needlessly.

Scene four

A customer contracts a handyman on a project. The terms of the contract are for the job to be completed within a stipulated timeline and the handyman is expected to cater for all raw materials and be paid upon completion. The project begins a few days later because the handyman had incomprehensive personal business to attend. Half way through the project, the handyman announces that he does not have enough capital for the raw materials and cannot complete the project as greed. The project stalls indefinitely. Time and material needlessly wasted.

Scene five

This one is straight to the point: there is traffic jam in the middle of town because a particular person does not want to get his car out of the way. So traffic stalls because one person does not care about the rest of the road network but thinks only of themselves. At the end of the day, a lot of people waste 20 minutes of productive time on the road.

Scene six

This is another straightforward one: Someone desperately rushes out of a crucial meeting to spend


40 minutes on a queue at the bank because his mother is sick in another district. He tried his mobile banking facility, it failed. He tried his mobile money facility, it also failed. Apparently, there was a general ‘network’ failure in the country.


We needlessly waste a lot of time in this country and wonder why we do not develop. Needless to say our moral threshold has also been painfully eroded to a point that integrity and accountability no longer play a part in our daily routines. We simply do not care about how we inconvenience other people and, inadvertently, ourselves when we fail to work hard and do the needful in our respective professions and personal responsibilities. Time is money. Let us get acquainted with something called efficiency.

I rest my case.

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