It’s a job

How would you come off if someone secretly recorded video of you doing your job? Would you pass that test? Would you come through with flying colors?

At first I thought this video might have been a fake. You can’t trust anything on the net these days, right? Well, I guess it was real. FedEx apologized and issued a video response:

A day or two later, this video also went viral. I’m going to guess that the guy carrying the package just might have heard about the FedEx video above.

These sorts of incidents really get my creative juices flowing!

The first thought? Wow! How many people capture video on their property? And who in the name of hell has the time to review that video? Sure, clearly it’s nice to have when the shit hits the fan, but who has that kind of free time? 🙂

My next thought was: Who among us would enjoy being secretly caught on video tape doing our jobs? As a person who hates having his picture taken, I’d hate it.

So your job is delivery driver. I guess you have to accept the fact that you will be recorded without your consent as a condition of your employment? I’m sorry, but that seems rather shitty.

Don’t get me wrong. These employees are clearly in the wrong. In the first video a computer monitor is treated roughly. Not surprisingly, the customer says the item arrived broken. It might have been the factory’s fault. But I think most who see the video are willing to assume the damage happened by FedEx.

The next thought that pops into my head: These are probably not employees who love their jobs. Ya think?

Then my mind starts to wander. Maybe they have asshole bosses! Maybe they are treated like shit!

Until you’ve been on the receiving end of an asshole idiot, it can be rather hard to imagine the shit they’ll pull. It defies all logic and reason.

Is there any indication that these particular employees had bad bosses? No. Other than the fact they don’t appear to be happy employees, there is none at all. But my mind still can’t help wondering. If they did have asshole bosses, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

In my experience, most bosses operate under the logic: “I can fire you. So take it or leave it.” Granted, this sort of logic doesn’t usually produce the happiest employees but the practitioners of this logic never seem to understand that. And, bottom line, the approach does work in its own limited fashion. But I have always believed it increases the odds of outcomes like those shown above.

True leadership and treating people right takes more effort and skill. But I believe the long term effects are more than worth it.

Shouts Fun Stat
94% of people on planet Earth are subject to the whims and caprices of assholes drunk on wealth and/or power.

Source: Abyssia Bureau of Bullshit Stats (that my boss forced me to compile)

The FedEx drivers I know are contractors. They work their own routes or have their own employees. That means the guy driving the van covered with the FedEx logo and wearing the FedEx uniform may not actually be a FedEx employee. (I know. What a crock of shit!) But I give FedEx props here for not taking the cowardly way out and saying, “That wasn’t a FedEx employee.” (Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. The spokesperson does say he was “our courier” and an “employee.”)

The spokesperson also says the behavior goes against their “values.” Of course it does. That’s easy to say after the fact. What is more telling is what, if anything, was done before this sort of thing ever happened. What is the company culture? How do employees feel about their jobs? Is the approach “do it or your fired?” or something more evolved? As far as FedEx is concerned, I have absolutely no idea. But when I see employees acting like this it does make me wonder. They certainly don’t seem to be acting like people who value their jobs.

I’ve dropped off packages at the post office before. And even before leaving the room, while I’m still in sight of the packages, I’ve seen employees throwing them through the air like basketballs, aiming for a bin on wheels 20 feet away. And that’s while I’m clearly still there and can see what’s going on! Imagine what it might be like once they know I’m going? One can only wonder. I envision a world where employees play soccer trying to score goals past each other while using our packages as the ball. Who the hell knows?

At McDonald’s when I was in my teens we used to play “Burger Hockey.” You’d throw a frozen patty on the grill and use your “sear tools” to try to knock the burger into your opponent’s grease trap. It was a game with a built-in time limit because once the burger actually started to cook the game was over.

My wife worked for a doctor in a small office. Because sound travels through walls everyone knew that the doctor didn’t wash his hands after taking a piss. And this was a fucking doctor!

Studies have also shown shocking hand washing rates in Intensive Care Units where employees have received training and motivation to wash their hands. And they studies showed rate of compliance dropped the higher up the food chain you went. (For example, nurses had a better rate than doctors.) In this case it might not be so much hating your job as a power/God complex kind of a thing.

Stories of restaurant employees spitting on customer’s food are legendary. I mostly imagine them to be apocryphal, but that isn’t the same as saying that sort of thing never goes on. I worked for three years at McDonald’s when I was a kid and I never saw a single incident of anything like this. But I’m not stupid enough to think it doesn’t happen.

When it comes to employees, there’s a whole “behind the curtain” world that we really don’t know. Is the auto mechanic treating you fairly? Did someone spit in your food? Is the person giving you a loan telling you the full truth? Is the restaurant washing mold off meat? Pouring uneaten soup back in the pot? The possibilities are almost as endless as my imagination.

And that’s when it occurred to me. Living in a lowest common denominator world where idiot bosses treat employees shitting is probably hurting all of us in one way or another. In my experience employees will have their revenge, one way or the other. I’m not saying that this is right or ethical. I’m saying that it can and does happen. It’s as predictable as gravity or any of the other laws of nature. One ignores such laws at their own peril.

Welcome to the planet where I live. I think you’ll find it a very “interesting” place.

4 responses

  1. Thank you SO much for posting the apology. I had not seen it. I think the whole thing, in a childish sense, is freaking hillarious. How perfect that the jerk was caught ruining someone’s product right before Christmas. I doubt people review all their videotapes, but surely once he found the flatscreen destroyed, he had good reason to. I wonder how contrite Fed Ex would have been without that evidence. On the one hand I admire the candid response. Yet I wonder if the same would have happened if not for the viral video.


    1. You’re right, of course. When seeking satisfaction a viral video is really a boon. 🙂

      In my experience, companies love to say things like, “We’re #1 in customer service.” Then when you walk in the store all the employees ignore you. Or, “We love to smile” and they all look miserable.

      I don’t trust what companies say very much.

      The treatment of packages by employees, methinks, is merely the tip of the iceberg of a much larger phenomenon that affects everyone who works for assholes. But that’s just my opinion.

      This whole episode reminds me of the song “What Goes On When The Sun Goes Down.” I guess now we know.


  2. I get to go to a lot of peoples homes. A lot. It’s amazing how many have cameras.

    Good point though. “I will fire you” does not motivate people to want to do right by the organization, but it is so much easier than caring for those you ask to care in return.


    1. That really surprised me. But I guess in today’s world it shouldn’t.

      The people who built my house put a fake security camera up front to protect the lot during construction. We left it up there as a deterrent. It doesn’t work or do a damn thing. It’s ornamental.

      But now I find out it means that delivery people are probably taking extra care to smash the shit out of my stuff! 🙂


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