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Junk-Mail Firm Straps GPS Devices To People Handing Out Pamphlets

from the how-low-can-you-go? dept

Down in Australia, a firm that hires teens to deliver junk-mail pamphlets to houses has decided to make their processes a bit more efficient by forcing the kids to wear a GPS device that records all their moves -- making sure they visit the houses they were assigned and do so in the order prescribed by the company. Some of the kids aren't particularly happy about being spied on this way, and apparently the company expected that. With the information pack about the GPS devices, they included a simple resignation form for those who weren't happy about the idea. Again, it seems like this is a modern attempt to bring back Taylorism, the idea that all workplace activities can be scientifically monitored and made more efficient -- as if people were machines. There's nothing wrong with working on ways to make employees more productive, but it needs to occur with the recognition that they're human beings and constantly spying on them and making them feel inadequate tends to hurt productivity more than it helps. It certainly doesn't make for particularly loyal employees. Perhaps that's fine for a business such as a junk-mail pamphleteer, but there is still a cost involved in hiring and training new people, while being able to fill in for those who quit. It's one of those things that sounds good to management (oooh, efficiency! productivity!) but whose consequences aren't carefully thought out. Of course, the firm responds to such charges by including the standard line that no one who is actually a good worker should be upset about being tracked, since it's only designed to spot the bad workers.

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  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 31 Oct 2006 @ 11:30am

    Just in case you missed my point

    I stand by my ad hominem attack on Supersparky. He who speaks from a privillaged position of working in "well compensated" job for a company who "don't care when I arrive nor when I leave." demonstrates nothing but callous disregard for those who have a harder life but who also deserve respect and dignity.

    He denies the very existence of economic slavery and clearly has no first hand knowledge of the complex situation of poverty and power.
    No doubt Supersparky also believes that child prostitutes kept hooked on drugs are also "free to leave" any time they like.

    Comments like: "Having a GPS strapped to you is no different than a manager making sure you are doing your job, in person. It's part of the experience." are so naive as to be offensive. Allow me to rephrase it in a way that might drive the point home...

    "Having a ball and chain strapped to you is no different than a manager making sure you are doing your job, in person."

    Supersparky sees the right to the basic human dignity of trust as an "entitlement". It is a human right. Other people who are not in his own privillaged position deserve less than he does.

    It is an elitist, arrogant position without empathy or sympathy. Frankly, it's borderline psychopathy dressed up in the language of good old fashioned sensible talk about taking responsibilty for your own welfare.

    Despite the lofty position from which he speaks so insensitively, remember we are all only one traffic accident or serious illness away from that job in Burger King. Of course I don't wish that upon anybody, but I suspect Supersparky could do with a good dose of exposure to the reality of life at the bottom.

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