Friday, August 31, 2012

‘Undercover Boss: Inside the TV phenomenon that is changing bosses and employees everywhere’ by Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman

"Joe's first undercover assignment was at the company's store in Shirley, New York: the epicentre for coffee for 7-Eleven because it sells more than 2,500 cups of coffee a day, an extraordinary amount, and the most of any store in the system.'
"Joe would be working his shift with Dolores, who handles the coffee counter for the shop. A short, blunt woman in her mid-60s, Dolores has been working the morning coffee rush for more than 18 years, at two different franchised locations, each managed by a different one of her sons, and both owned by her son-in-law.'
"As the sun came up and the customers began trickling in, Dolores gave Joe a quick course in preparing and refreshing the coffee bar. But the lesson was interrupted when the trickle turned into a steady stream and finally a torrent of coffee buyers. Struggling to keep up, and realising how much water they needed and how quickly things got messy, Joe suggested (he thought helpfully) that having a sink located at the coffee counter would make life easier. Dolores laughed at her trainee's 'pipe dream,' joking that 'already he's coming up with new ideas.' More stunning than the sheer number of customers was that Dolores seemed to have a personal relationship with each, greeting him or her by name and exchanging in the kind of teasing quick back-and-forth that substitutes for morning conversation in the metro New York.'
"Joe met one customer who said she'd been friendly with Dolores for 20 years. The woman revealed that Dolores had only one kidney and went for dialysis twice a week. She refused to accept a donated kidney from any of her children for fear that they might get sick themselves one day and need that spare organ. When Joe asked Dolores about it, she didn't minimise the problem, but neither did she accept credit for being anyone special."
(pp. 74-5, 'Undercover Boss: Inside the TV phenomenon that is changing bosses and employees everywhere' by Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman - Landmark)

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