The CEO of Philly Pretzel Factory, Dan DiZio, will be featured on “Undercover Boss” later this week, which makes today an opportune time for us to cover the many reasons why this show is complete BS.
For those of you who haven’t seen it before, the premise is simple: first, producers slap noticeably fake facial hair on a millionaire CEO, then, said CEO toils alongside his underlings until his feigned empathy passes the point of diminishing returns. Lastly, the show concludes the same way Legends of the Hidden Temple does, with the CEO handing out parting gifts which range from trips to Disney World to $.25 increases in hourly pay (to my knowledge, no gift certificates to Fashion Bug have been given).
But here’s why it’s BS: The usually paltry gifts the CEOs bequeath to their employees could never- and will never -outshine the massive PR wet dream that is “Undercover Boss.” You see, the show is essentially a 40-minute infomercial for the featured company, and all those weepy employees the humble CEO “rescues” each week are worth over 10,000 auto-tuned “Sham Wow” guy memes.
Sure, some of the prizes help out employees – money for education funds, hospital bills etc. – but most are just cosmetic solutions to placate employee’s complaints. One CEO, after experiencing the sweltering summer heat at his shipping department, offered free “sports drinks” for employees two months per year. While that may be great for Joe in shipping, Mary over in accounting is still waiting on her increased benefits, and no amount of Gatorade will cure her chronic case of gout.
But the show’s also brutally unfair to employees. Sometimes, there’s rare but nightmare-inducing episodes in which a less-than-enthusiastic employee acts out and unknowingly denounces the company’s practices in front of the CEO, only to be fired at the end of the episode (below). Is that listed anywhere in the handbook? “Employees are subject to random undercover surveillance under the guise of a major network reality show.”
I’d also argue that the show undermines the ethos of working class America, since, according to “Undercover Boss,” the only way to get ahead at the office is to really impress your CEO with a gripping sob story and Ayn Rand-like work ethic on an undercover reality show for CBS.
Anyway, that’s why the show is crap, but be sure to tune in to CBS this Friday at 8 pm to see Philly Pretzel Factory’s newest hour-long infomercial. It’s going to be great!
Photos via CBS