Monday Feb 11, 2008

Too Early

The delivery guy came to pick up some stuff early this morning. Too early. This is typical. But this time he was so early we weren't ready, and we had to send him away and have him return later. So, he said he'd do some other things and return at 12 noon. To me 12 noon means12 noon give or take five minutes before or after. Or just 12:00 pm is fine, too. But this is Japan, and time is different here. So, what time did he return? 11:30 am. Early again. Typical. I expected this, of course, so we were ready this time. But I have to wonder. This desire to be hyper efficient to provide extreme service by being too early actually leads to inefficiency. And it's potentially dangerous, too. My delivery dude, after all, had to make two trips, right? That's not efficient. I certainly appreciate the intent, though. Anyway, after we set the delivery guy free, we started walking out to the store -- where we were promptly almost run over by a pizza delivery guy flying by on his jet-fast, three-wheel motor scooter. Rushing to be early, I'm sure. These guys nearly clip me at least once a week. I wonder what a death here and there does to their on-time- delivery rating?

Saturday Jan 12, 2008

Why Early?

I've lived in Japan for about 18 months. Why is it that the service guys -- you know, the people who come to your house to fix something or install something or deliver something or whatever -- are always early? It drives me nuts. I can see being on time or even a few minutes late, even, but why early? And why early every time? How is this possible? Is it genetic, or something? If you say you'll be there at 9 am, and we all agree, why must I then have to do a mental calculation that goes something like this: ok, this dude is Japanese, so 9 am doesn't actually mean 9 am, it actually means any time between 8:45 and 9 am but most certainly before 9 am. That's when the phone rings. He's "just around the corner" or even "already waiting outside" my front door. Every. Single. Time. Absolutely insane. This was never a problem in California, by the way. Or Boston. Or New York. Why here?
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