MY VIEW: Little things we do that waste time and money - Daily Nation

MY VIEW: Little things we do that waste time and money

Saturday June 16 2018

An attendant arranges goods on a shelf at Nakumatt Supermarket Mega branch along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, on May 21, 2018. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO.

An attendant arranges goods on a shelf at Nakumatt Supermarket Mega branch along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, on May 21, 2018. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO. 

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Mr Speaker, I know you have never heard of me, the Time Minister, but that is not important for now.

Here I have my budget on how Kenyans can do away with their many pet peeves that can enable them save time in the 2018/2019 financial year to make our economy vibrant. You know, time is money, Mr Speaker.

For every long supermarket queue, there is a slow mobile money payment happening. The systems for tap-and-PIN payment seem to be catching up at a snail’s pace and the result is agonising delays as people belch out their phone numbers or display text messages to the cashiers.

Just like there are express counters for those who have bought less than five items, I hereby propose that we have counters for cash payments only.

Butchers and food sellers at café delis should also stop wasting time trying to give weights that are accurate to the shilling. You want food worth Sh100 but you spend several minutes waiting for it to be weighed because one more spoonful takes the cost to Sh102 and after some scooping it goes to Sh97, and the attendant has to add granules to the nearest atom to ensure it clocks Sh100. Isn’t that savagery, Mr Speaker? I propose the introduction of a quicker, time-saving way of matching weights and prices.

I don’t know everything about shoe-shining, Mr Speaker, but I think there are a couple of procedures conducted by the shoeshine chaps that are a sheer waste of time; but they seem to do it so religiously as if their life depends on it.

Mr Speaker, I propose that they do less of that — same as barbers who appear to paint all manner of substances on heads to justify why shaving should cost a three-figure sum, while in the countryside it is a humble two-figure fee.

There are these orators who are found at public places, preaching the gospel of carrots or beetroot or whatever else they vouch for. Mr Speaker, I know the people who stop to listen to them usually have all the time in the world to consume the often unscientific knowledge, but have you noticed that they tend to block the main routes?

A busy person will have to cross half the circumference of the attentive audience or more. I propose that they only meet at public parks where everyone has time.

Mr Speaker, I propose that we set up a commission of enquiry to find out how many man hours Kenya loses every time a person stops for the security guards to shove that pesky little machine of theirs at some areas of the body.

This is because 12 out of every 10 guards will just be pointing the machine haphazardly without even paying attention to where the signal is coming from.

Nairobi matatu drivers will also need a few lessons about vectors, Mr Speaker. Or else, one day a driver will take passengers all the way to Thika in an effort to evade some blemish on Jogoo Road, which is almost always caused by another myopia-minded matatu driver.

The duration of the detours made by the matatus should be computed and weighed against the time they could have taken if they followed the path of everybody else. I believe they waste more time than they save.

Speaking of traffic jams, Mr Speaker, we will also need to find out how many man hours have been shed on our roads as a result of approaching rain.

As soon as it becomes evident that it will rain, everyone who has a car in the CBD jumps straight into their car and turns it on, creating a jam that starts right from a person’s thought of heading home. I propose that motorists stop making traffic jams rain in the city.

Finally, Mr Speaker, I propose that so-called fundis be investigated on how much time they waste trying to repair things.

A tailor will tell you to go for your clothes in 15 minutes but you will end up waiting for three hours. A carpenter will tell you to come pick your item at 4pm the next day but you will be lucky to get it done at 4pm four days later.

Mr Speaker, knowing that time has no fundi who can repair it, I propose the introduction of fundi delaying tax.


Elvis Ondieki is a reporter with the Nation. [email protected] Carole Njunge returns in August.