The Problem with Full Employment

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This is going to be very much a “First World Problem” kind of post, but here it goes.

Lately, I’ve noticed a problem here in town that I also noticed in 1999/2000 and 2007. Specifically, the lack of qualified,  motivated, or otherwise capable people in all manner of service occupations.

The cashiers at Whole Foods are getting increasingly sullen. The clerks at shops don’t seem to like what they’re doing. The high-tech workers are cranky and reek of entitlement. Downtown is littered with Help Wanted signs, but all the warm bodies are already at work.

This plays out even at high-end restaurants. The world-famous Nobu sushi restaurant opened in Palo Alto just a few weeks ago, but to the excitement of the citizens here. It joins other spiffy cities around the world as having a Nobu.


I’ve eaten at the Nobu in New York City, so I was eager to see how early reviews would be for our local version. Let’s just say they’re not glowing………..


That isn’t all………….


There’s nothing anyone can do about any of this, of course. I’m just venting a bit, but more importantly, trying to make an observation: this is the third time I’ve witnessed this kind of mass degradation in the quality of service personnel. We all know how the first two times ended up. Hopefully, this third one will be the same – – because, believe me, once the froth goes out of the economy, suddenly Service With A Smile makes a valiant return!

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