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Monday, August 22, 2016

"I want a job"

So I walk into a store at Century City on a Friday afternoon and I walk up to the shoe (takkie) display.

I like to browse for 10 seconds and then I like a helper to help me.

A helper (employee) arrives and asks if he can help me.

I say "yes, please, I'm looking for Adidas Barricade shoes".

He says "we don't have them."

I start leaving.

And then he asks me for a job.


Thank you!

I appreciate engagement. I want engagement. I don't mind that it starts with "do you have a job for me?"

I ask him what he does. He says he's just completed an engineering degree and he is expecting his marks that day. I say well done and I ask him the same question I ask everyone: "what is a half plus a quarter?"

He looks at me blankly. I say "what is 1/2 plus 1/4?"

He asks for a calculator!

There happens to be a big round hat on a chair. A miracle as this is the shoe department. I show him a half. And then I show him a quarter. He says that there are two halves in a whole and four quarters in a whole. I then ask him to explain to me what is a half in quarters. He says "two quarters". I then ask him what is two quarters plus one quarter. He says three quarters. I then ask him what is a half plus a quarter and he says three quarters.


I then ask him what is three quarters plus one eighth and he is stumped! 3/4 is 6/8. 6/8 + 1/8 is 7/8.

The process of adding 3/4 + 1/8 is exactly the same as the process of adding 1/2 + 1/4.

I cannot understand how anyone cannot answer this question. And I come across this problem all the time, even with other young qualified engineers who have done at least two years of university mathematics and applied mathematics (science).

Does anyone know why do we have grades in schools? 

Because there are no standards anymore!

What is the point of school and university if people are just "passed?" What is the point of buying something when one gets home and finds it is DOA? Dead on arrival.

So I start asking this shoe salesman some simpler questions:

How many shoes are on display?

How many Adidas shoes are on display?

How many shoes does he have in the storeroom at the back?

How many shoes are on order?

What shoes are similar to the Adidas Barricade?

He has no idea. No answers.

At that moment, his boss walks past and I ask his boss, "what is a half plus a quarter?" His boss says "it's late in the afternoon!" I just stand there looking at him and he says "three quarters".

I then ask him what his job is? He says it is to manage his staff, etc. I say "your job is to nurture your staff so that they get your position in six months time and you move up the corporate ladder." He is dumbstruck. "Help my staff", I hear him thinking.

I then say to my helper. When I walked in and asked for the Adidas Barricades, why didn't you: a) say that we have similar Salomon shoes? b) say "can I find out if we can get you a pair of Adidas Barricades" c) ask me why I want Adidas Barricades?

I say to my helper that if he can answer the questions I asked him by the following Friday I would help him to become South Africa's top shoe salesman within six months. He says ok. I popped into the store on Thursday and Friday afternoons the following week and he wasn't there.

In my opinion, he didn't really want a job. He just wanted a bigger salary.

And why do I want the Adidas Barricades in particular? For playing tennis?

I want them because one of my heros, who is always making himself and his team better and better, Novak Djokovic, wears Adidas Barricades and because "barricades" let in positive energy whilst keeping out negative energy; and I'll wear them on stage and when I walk around.

I found the Adidas Barricade shoes (not the Novak variety, but you can post me a pair if you like) at The Sweat Shop in Claremont. They were a lot cheaper than I was expecting. The sales people knew exactly what they were doing. And the pair I bought didn't fit me properly and the next day I took them back and got a proper fitting pair, no questions asked. I even got a free pair of socks thrown into the deal. And I got a very special price as I bought last year's model at 38% of the new shoe's recommended retail price.

South Africa has people who know what they are doing. I am meeting more and more of them every day. And unfortunately there are also people who just want a salary, and don't want to be helpers.

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