Seriously, you have to watch this. The sound isn't essential--it's just goopy music--but it does add to the ambiance, so yes, I recommend you have it on.
In short, though, the story is that a "CSP" (which I think stands for Customer Service Professional*, but the video assumes we're so far indoctrinated that we don't need to be told) gives a talk to a supermarket's workers about "building customer loyalty," as if that means anything to them other than busier, harder work days, by yoking their individuality to the needs of their employer. Or, as she puts it, "Put your personal signature on the job. Think about something you can do for your customer that will make them feel special--a memory that will make them feel special."
Guaranteed, the majority of the people listening to her fantasized about doing her great harm, but tolerated her because they were getting paid for something other than working the floor of a supermarket. The video skips over this, though, to focus on one person whose story we're supposed to find heartwarming. You'll be astounded to discover I don't find it heartwarming.
The one person is "Johnny the bagger," a poor exploited Down syndrome teenager whose entire identity the video kindly subsumes into his job description. I don't know how much experience any of you have had with Down people, but in my experience, a quality a large majority of them share is a sort of earnest eagerness, a boundless capacity to take everyone at face value and try their best to please. So this guy hears this soulless CSP giving her bullshit talk, and he takes it entirely, tragically to heart.
He's sad at first, because he doesn't know how he can live up to the CSP's expectations. "After all," he says, "I'm only a bagger" (and I know, how fucking heartbreaking is that?). But then he comes up with an idea, which is probably something the CSP has never done in her entire blighted life. Every day, after work, he's going to look up interesting quotes, print out bunches of copies of them, and then the next day put them in every customer's bag.
My main reaction to this was "Oh god, he's been tricked into performing unpaid labor," though of course we're supposed to admire his dedication. It gets worse, though: Johnny's "thoughts of the day" become wildly popular, and the lines at his register start piling up to several times the length of the other lines, all because everybody wants these quotes.
At this point my mind spins, trying to deal with seventeen kinds of horror all at once. First, this guy, in addition to working for the company when he's off the clock, has doubled or tripled his workload while he's on the clock. Second, he's unintentionally done the same for whatever innocent bystander is working the register on his line. Third, how starved for genuine human interaction must we be in our society if something as chintzy as a printed out quote on a scrap of paper can make us come back, over and over, obsessively, for more?
I haven't even begun to touch on a lot of the horrifying aspects of this story--like the store manager getting a "lump in (his) throat" (and not for the reason you or I might) on finding out that some lonely woman has taken to coming back to the store every goddamn day for Johnny's quotes. And even though I've summarized most of the action of the video, I highly recommend you click through to see the full glory of the insipid, clip art presentation.
At my job, we have quarterly rah-rah meetings (I've described them glancingly before) at which we're presented with awkwardly recorded messages from our higher-ups about how much money we've made for the company--not ourselves--over the past three months, intercut with whatever shitty song currently in the top 40 best serves the "team building" spirit, and other "inspirational" nonsense. The other day, they played us this video.
One woman I work with cried. I had to fight back tears, too, but my reasons were entirely different.
The video comes from this company called Simple Truths. A quick glance at their book list reveals such other horrors as Laughter Is an Instant Vacation, No Glass Ceiling, Just Blue Sky, Even Eagles Need a Push, and The Richest Man in Town (if you guessed his riches aren't money, you're right!). I'm intimately familiar with the QBQ (which, yes, I still do plan to get back to eventually), but there is so goddamn much of this evil crap.
It's no fucking wonder we're all insane.
PS One of the white men who makes more money than me who "presented," if you know what I mean, at this meeting closed his presentation with a Ronald Reagan quote: "Every new day begins with possibilities. It's up to us to fill it with the things that move us toward progress and peace." Which is funny for a lot of reasons, none of which I feel the need to go into, though I will mention that I wasn't even aware that he had ever opened his mouth without saying something about welfare queens.
*Which has the usual hilarious advantage of rendering the word "professional" even more meaningless, which would be good if it weren't pushing its application in the wrong direction.