Efficient Delivery

“Where are you?” said Sami. “You were supposed to be here by five p.m.”

“I can’t find the place,” said the driver. “I’ve been going around for half an hour.” His voice faded, there was a grinding noise, and Sami heard him say, “Why not? It’s just there. Can’t you just let me through?” His voice returned. “There are cops everywhere, blocking all the exits. What’s going on here today?”

“It’s the global launch of the film HUMANITY. It’s a big event so there’s extra security, plus detours. It took me an hour to get in this afternoon, and I am running the show!”

This local project manager contract had come up suddenly. Sami’s usual job was as personal assistant to Guru Baba, a retired holy man, but he was away on pilgrimage for a month so Sami had time available.

“Look, where are you exactly? Near the community centre? The old one or the new one? Okay, just keep going straight for a hundred metres, turn left, left again, and there is a delivery entrance on the left. I will wait for you there.”

Sami called him ten minutes later. “Where are you?”

“Sorry I missed the exit and have to go around again.”

Sami called him after another ten minutes.

“I couldn’t get back on the road near the community centre. Listen, I’ll figure it out. I’ll call you when I get there.”

Half an hour later, Sami saw the truck approaching the delivery entrance. He pushed a button to open the swing doors, and the truck pulled in.

The driver was sweating. He said, “I’m sorry about that. I thought it would be a regular delivery. I’ve been to this village before, I remember the white mountain towering above it, and the black one at the far end of the valley. It was so annoying going round and around, like an ant lost in the jungle. Anyway, enough of that, where do you want the chairs?”

Sami indicated a corner. “There should be two kinds, ordinary chairs and VIP chairs, a hundred of each.”

The driver raised his eyebrows and nodded. He rolled stacks of chairs out using a dolly. The VIP chairs were in pristine condition, their golden frames covered in red velvet. The ordinary chairs were of battered grey metal.

Sami checked them over and said, “This one looks busted. Okay not busted, but in poor condition. Can you change it please? This one too.”

The driver swapped them for better ones.

“Where are the VIP ropes and poles, and the red carpet?”

“They are on the other trucks.”

“Other trucks?”

“Yes, the ropes are on one truck, the poles on another, and the carpet on a third. We use the CORE delivery system – Customer Order Response Expedition. Every order is managed individually.”

Sami was astounded. “What does that achieve?”

“Efficient delivery.”

Is he kidding? thought Sami. That is the most inefficient delivery system I have ever heard of. Putting things together is efficient, not pulling them apart.

“When are the other trucks coming?”

“They are on their way.”

Sami asked the crew to carry stacks of chairs to the seating areas, set them up, and test them individually. He didn’t want crashes during the film. Curiously, the VIP chairs were more cushioned but less comfortable. Maybe they would suit the people who sat on them, who were often the least comfortable with themselves. Comfort was not related to wealth, it was related to life experience.

Sami picked out a grey metal chair for himself.

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