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
    Lutomes, 31 Oct 2006 @ 2:56pm

    From a client point of view

    I would pay for this service. We have had problems before where pamphlet deliveries went wrong and cost our business money. If these devices at least gave the assurance that someone walked the route it would mean there is a significantly lower chance of dumping.

    During one of our big promotional campaigns about 2 years ago, one of our firm employees happened to find a large pile of around 5000 brochures dumped. It was a complete coincidence that it was found as the employee happened to throw something in a dumpster near shops they visited and see them all just lying there.

    Now that was just one confirmed dump, how many more customers have we lost because of this on other dumps?

    Of course I could say "Why should the people doing the right thing complain, they have nothing to hide." But at the same time I understand that they do want their freedom. And shouldnt be treated like criminals just becasue other people had ruined it for them.

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