Of Turkey Legs and Time

I seem to be blogging a lot about Worlds of Fun this spring. It gives me something continuous to talk about.

Today’s post is about today. And a bit about last night.

When I went for my second visit to the park last night, I overheard one employee and his supervisor talking, and mentioned expecting 18,000 people to attend the park on Saturday. “Only an estimate” the supervisor said.

I’m not sure how that number compares to other days, but to me, it seemed quite an impressive number.

So, writing this today, I don’t know if they made it or not. What I do know, and what I will write about, is our experience getting Turkey Legs.

In preface, however, I will mention that my first experience with Turkey Legs this year was the discovery that they had been moved to the BattleCreek Barbecue from the Nordic Nook. On that same visit I learned that, while on the menu, they were out of them.

So today, when I went to the barbecue for a Turkey Leg, I asked if they had any before I stood in line to order them. I was told it would be a few minutes, but they should have them by the time I ordered. Which proved to be true.

The son arrived enough behind me to be about 10 people back in the line, but when he ordered his turkey leg, his was available immediately too. The daughter, about another 10 people back, found that the turkey legs were going to be a few minutes. She heard them say 5 minutes, so she ordered. What they had really said was 45 minutes. When she discovered this about 20 minutes later, she was not happy.

Having had a large brunch at the men’s breakfast earlier in the morning, I had only eaten about a quarter of my turkey leg, so I  calmed the daughter down by offering to let her eat my turkey leg while I waited for hers to come out. I also asked the staff if she could get her fries to eat while she waited.

During the waiting time I saw the self-service kiosk run out of forks twice, napkins, mild barbecue sauce. And with the amount of staff it took them awhile to fill each of these lacks.

But the staff I talked to, as saw working, I saw as very conscientiously working, checking with people, making sure orders were correct. They were trying to find things that they either didn’t know where they were filed, or weren’t always where they belonged.

When the supervisor, a lady I know and recognize (though I couldn’t see her nametag, it got flipped over while she worked), popped out, she apologized for the wait on the turkey legs, gave me a 3 minute time estimate, saying they want to make sure they are properly done, and said she’d give us an extra because of the wait.

Being busy, she moved on before I had the moment to think what I wanted to say, which was “thank you for the offer of a second, but instead could I just have the first wrapped to go when we get it.”

It ended up taking another 10 minutes before it came out, and we got the extra leg. By this point the kids had finished eating, and we took the two new legs between two plates and carried them home to eat later.

During my waiting time I talked to a lot of customers coming through, some of them more or less stressed by the wait. I made light conversation, and did what I could to help each get the service or items they needed from the staff. I mentioned that the staff was good-hearted, but still learning the ropes, some of the young and possibly first time or first job types, and that I was sure it would get smoother later in the season.

Everything can’t always be perfect, but today’s service was more flawed than normal. But the efforts of the staff to smooth and re-mediate and give service through the flow and lack of some items available to them at various times, gives me a good feeling about their ultimate skills and service levels.

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