Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inefficiency, Part II--Security Guards

In this post I told the story of the inefficiency built into the card-for-pool-towels program at the resort at which we stayed in Mexico last week.  I promised you another installment in The Inefficiency Tales, and here it is:  The Security Guards.

This resort was about a 40 minute drive--seriously!--from town.  It was over 10 minutes from the resort to the highway, over a private road that now has mostly been paved, and then almost another half hour to town, and certainly much more than that if you obey the posted speed limits (which no one did).  Yet, out on the highway, there was a guard house that was manned night and day.  The guard's mission in life was to check if you were a resort guest, and if so, to open the gate for you.

Remember, at this point you're still about a half hour from town, and the resort is still more than a 10-minute drive down a twisty 2-lane road from the tiny guard house.  Who, exactly, is going to travel all this way just to (inappropriately) try to visit this resort?  And what are they supposed to do once they get there?  They'd stand out instantly because they wouldn't have a resort wristband on.  Who is the guard protecting us from?

And that would be fine if it went no further. As the old cliche goes, though:  But wait, there's more!

The resort sits on about 100 square miles of land owned by the resort group.  The vast majority of that land is undeveloped, obviously, but on this corner of it next to the Sea of Cortez, the resort group is building a few different resorts.  They're all off this 2-lane road I mentioned above, and each one of them also has a seguridad shack and a gate to limit entry.  Inappropriate entry to resorts must be a huge problem in Mexico!

OK, so we've got a couple of security guards.  Big deal, right?  Out in the middle of nowhere, they're keeping out the riff-raff.  Except there's still more to the story!

This resort is a timeshare place, and even though the family members I went with are already owners there, they wanted to attend the timeshare tours and "information meeting" to better understand their contract.  So we, along with another family, were squeezed into a minivan and driven over to one of the other "mini-resorts".  Now keep in mind, these "mini-resorts" are also on that 2-lane road that's gated off from the public highway.  Anyway, as we drove up to the security gate, all of us in the van were in an animated discussion about something.  We were chatting away, but the van wasn't moving.  Finally our tourguide (for lack of a better term) got my attention and asked my name.  Why did he need my name?  I'm not one of the owners, it's not my name registered at the front desk when we checked in--to them, I don't even exist.  So why did he need my name?  Because the security guard had to write someone's name down on his clipboard (there's that darned clipboard again!) before he could let us in to go see the (very impressive) model units.

Why did he need someone's name?  I could have given him any name on the planet and it apparently wouldn't have mattered.  Why couldn't our "tourguide" provide his name, along with the number of potential sales he was bringing onto this particular property?  Assuming someone actually reads and/or uses the information on the clipboard, wouldn't that have been more useful information than the possibly fictitious name of one occupant of the minivan?

Inefficient.  Useless.  Unnecessary.

It's been suggested to me elsewhere that perhaps this is "busy work" to provide some employment for the locals, but by definition, busy work is unnecessary and hence a waste of resources.  Is there truly no other work that needs to be done?   If the answer is "no", I would (humbly) suggest that maybe someone could get started on paving the last section of that 2-lane road going from the resorts to the highway.  Maybe they could improve the road a bit--culverts, anyone?--so that the road doesn't get washed out during heavy rains anymore.  I have lots of other suggestions that don't involve roads, if you're looking for "smaller" projects.

But right now they seem to be just wasting money, which runs up the costs for the timeshare owners.  It's inefficient.

Here's the Google Earth shot of the area.  Our resort, and its sister resorts, are on and near that spit of land on the right side of the picture.  The road that sweeps up and to the left from that promontory is the two-lane, now mostly paved, private road that leads from the resorts to the highway.

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