Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Johnny the Bagger

Yes, I work in HR. But I work for a company that I am proud to say has not fallen into the corporate nightmare of the living Dilbert cartoon.

Until last week.

When I received the link below in an email with this subject line:

"FW: This short video is a great way to think about your job"

Click here to view short video

I am completely freaked out.


At 2:31 PM, Blogger Janie said...

Hm, i'm not sure how i feel about this, but i must admit i snickered a couple of times throughout. Is that bad?
Are you a johnny? (I have two already- my dad and bf-, so i'm not too worried if you're not.)

At 5:50 PM, Blogger rennratt said...

I thought it was kind of sweet.

I have stopped shopping in some stores due to poor treatment.

On the flip side - after the incredible treatment rec'd last fall when my mum died, American Airlines will be my always be my first choice when I fly. All because of a CSR named Wendy Sue. (See?! It works! Not that I'm inspired to be all sweet and sappy at work now...)

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Kingfisher said...

"Will you be a Johnny today?"

Uh - no.

I find this story, as an anecdote or fable, sweet, instructional, and inspirational.

As a marketing tool, I find it irrelevant, abhorrant, and manipulative.

I HATE syrupy do-gooder hippie bright-siders. They suck the joy out of everything by trying to infuse everything with joy. Business and inspirational plaques aren't mutually exclusive, but they aren't twins either.

I expected the ending to be something like: "The next week the manager called me again. Johnny was dead. The memorial service filled the entire produce section, and made a line all the way to the the new deli in New Delhi. All the old people got free wilted carrots and deflated mylar balloons."


At 9:27 PM, Blogger Shari said... read my mind.

I was convinced he was dead, too.

Great minds and all that.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I thought he was dead, too! Are we pessimists or just reacting to that hellishly absurd story?

I enjoy imagining the manager's unspoken thoughts: "Business is better than ever! We're raking in the dough -- and we're still paying that disabled sucker minimum wage!!! Wahahahaha!"

IF that syrup were true (although we KNOW it's not), do you think any of the employees were financially rewarded for going the extra mile?

Don't do it, Shar! Don't go the extra mile! (even if you are wearing the newest REI gore-tex hiking boots) Fight the good fight...

Your sister

At 5:44 AM, Blogger This Girl I Used to Know said...

My first thought when the sappy music started to play was... yeah, someone's winding up dead at the end of this schmaltz-fest.

I'm all for good customer service, but I know retailers. If that "thought" idea had actually worked, they'd have made it mandatory for everyone, and would have pre-printed, corporate approved thoughts for each bagger to tuck in the little bags. Eventually, coupons would have replaced the thought of the day as marketing figured, hell, if we're tucking stuff in bags, might as well try to make a profit on it.

And, lastly, don't think for a minute that those little thought papers would have outlasted the first old lady who found something offensive about one of them. People get offended over everything. Johnny would likely have been fired for proselytyzing (yeah, I spelled that wrong) in real life.


At 8:40 AM, Blogger Ant said...

Yes - good service comes from the heart. So that those at the top (notable for their lack of that particular organ) can fleece you of your cash all the more efficiently...

And if they want, they can try selling the bucket of vomit that I now have beside my desk to all those Johnny Baggers out there...

I have to admit I did have a jolly good giggle at the end there but I must ask - do Americans use the term "Johnny" as a double for "condom", like we do in the UK? (Hence "Will you be a Johnny today" being really quite amusing...)

At 5:25 PM, Blogger rennratt said...

Here's where we all seem to belong:

I buy ALL of my inspirational stuff there. The Regional VP of my company has the "Success" lithograph hanging on his wall.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Ant said...

Rennratt, that website is delightful - I think I'm going to get me one of those... :o)

At 6:46 PM, Blogger tiff said...

I couldn't amke it past the first 5 seconds of intro music. My toes started to curl and I flashed back to all those "group meetings" we used to have at megabigpharmaco that were nothing but hoorayforus fests.

Gives me the shivers thinking of it, even now.


At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Get Real said...

Yes, it is very inspiring and I wish it were really true but it is not. I think that Barbara Glanz has fabricated the story to sell her training videos (which go for $1000!)

Barbara claims that the family does not want their identities revealed. So Johnny's family doesn't want to get the attention yet he's caused a whirlwind of reaction in the store he works at. His checkout line wraps around the frozen food isle while all other lines are empty, and his family doesn't want any attention. Yet Johnny calls Barbara up to tell her all about it. Yes, this all fits with a family that doesn't want to draw any attention.

If this were a true story and he really did cause such a change in the store, someone, somewhere in that town would have mentioned it independently or connected Barbara's story with their grocery store. Someone in the town would have said, "Hey, that's about us". It probably would have been on the local news.

Aside from Barbara's word, this story is non existence. Johnny's family has done such a great job of keeping their identity a secret that nobody else has ever independently mentioned the miraculous story of how a grocery store bagger
with Down syndrome transformed an entire store.

It sure is lucky that Barbara has the exclusive on this story. You wouldn't want the family telling their story on their own. That would really put a dent in her over priced video training series gravy train.


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