Thursday, September 23, 2004

SFOG Finds New Ways To Infuriate Guests, Cleverly Foiling "Stop Infuriating Park Guests" Corporate Memo

With the park season winding down, it's time at Six Flags corporate headquarters to reward those parks that have gone "above and beyond" in the pursuit of alienating customers. In this tight and competitive race, Six Flags Over Georgia makes their pitch in this verbatim transcript of a high-level meeting:

"Well, in a nutshell, it was tough to alienate people this year," reports SFOG's General Manager Tim Davis. "A corporate memo came out at the start of the season explicitly telling us not to infuriate or annoy our guests. Not only that, but it listed in the memo numerous practices long held dear at Six Flags parks that were now banned. Practices like employees spitting on guests, paying children to throw rocks at passing coasters, encouraging rampant line cutting, permitting metric tons of feces to collect in the bathrooms without cleaning them, and, of course, our favorite, running single train operation on coasters when the park is at 80% capacity or below. These were all now banned behaviors."

"With that memo specifically telling us not to run single train operation, a lot of us in the SFOG head office were quite concerned as to how to properly annoy our guests with our hands tied like this. Thank God, Jim Brewer in maintenance had a solution."

"What Jim pointed out, and I’m still awestruck by his brilliance, was that the memo demanded we run multi-train operation, but said nothing about the train having to be occupied."

"So, we immediately implemented a rule -– whenever a coaster was in danger of not having a line, operators should immediately begin dispatching one train empty. Ride operators should continue doing this until the park closes, reassuring our guests that at SFOG, you can always be guaranteed of a line that leaves the station."

"But wait! Here’s the kicker! We then gave our employees a list of reasons that were completely absurd as to why we do this. We ask the employee to choose his own favorite, or just switch 'em around as the day progresses. The reasons are completely different, but share one element in common -– they make absolutely no sense."

Reasons employees were instructed to give out included:

• "If we don’t do this, the ride won’t have a line."
• "I dunno."
• "I just do what my boss tells me."
• "They don’t want trains to stack."
• "It’s better for the coaster this way."

Davis concluded, "So, thanks to a last minute save, we were able to continue infuriating guests."

Asked what SFOG would do if their ingenious practice was included in the next "Stop Infuriating Park Guests" corporate memo, Davis replied, "I’ll be honest with you. I’m not sure. But rest assured we’ll figure out something. We have a creative team, and we’re dedicated to doing whatever it takes to annoy a substantial amount of our customers every year."