Lesson Of The Week: This Is Being Recorded

Posted by

"Four months after a Burger King employee lost his job for taking a bubble bath in a restaurant sink, three scantily clad teens were fired when they turned a basin at their northern California KFC into their personal hot tub."Daily News – Kentucky Fried Chicken trio photographed turning sink into hot tub – December 11th, 2008.

We all did stupid things when we were teenagers. They were only stupid in hindsight though, and they seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. It’s hard to imagine that a place where food is being prepped and cleaned is the best place to turn into a hot tub party, but again, it probably seemed like good, clean fun at the time. Even posting the pictures on MySpace seemed like the smart thing to do.

While the Daily News calls these teens "dimwits", it’s just another fine example of people either realizing (or not) that anything and everything that you do can (and is) being recorded and filmed. Not only that, all of this content (and this goes for emails, mobile phone photos, conversation over Skype, etc…) is easily publishable to the Web… instantly. These social channels really collide and become an even more powerful force when you mix in teenagers who are seeking attention.

The comments on the MySpace page didn’t help there scenario…

"The photos included captions such as ‘haha KFC showers!’ and ‘haha we turned on the jets,’ and were filed under a gallery called ‘KFC moments,’ according to the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding,Calif."

It is moments like this when the new world meets the old world.

Enough online pundits are waging in on the dangers of young people using these publishing tools and the ramifications it is having on their lives (and on into the future). There’s another component that few have talked about: the effects on the brand. Employees are living their lives online and out in the very public. Their daily lives are being documented and published by themselves and their peers. It’s normal for them to share everything.

If they’re not thinking about their own best interest and how some of this content will look in five-ten years, we need to be really comfortable with the idea that their employers’ brand and reputation is not even a part of the equation.


  1. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while.
    How long before we have a head of state with nude pictures of them online?
    The way the generation 2.0 is behaving, it won’t take long – and the electorate wont care.

  2. First impression: hilarious.
    But on second thought: that’s unsanitary.
    Third time is a charm: free publicity.
    At the end of the day, employers will need to respect their staff more. Clearly they offenders didn’t think twice about a) doing this b) photographing it and c) publishing this. Therefore the employees had no respect for the brand. That could be a bigger problem in the future but I also think employers will make themselves very clear during hiring what is and isn’t acceptable–specifically relating to online social media.

  3. What did we all go through in elementary school or high school when we were taught about drugs, or bullying?
    Have something like a 45 year old store manager at Blockbuster come into the class, and scare the kids straight about how their wildly inappropriate use of social media made it impossible for them to ever graduate college or find a decent job.
    But now though, I definitely think that until the majority of students hit the senior high school/university age they see every company, Burger King & KFC included, as just “big business” which they aren’t concerned of at all.

  4. We’ve truly entered an age of digital “Big Brother” — however, instead of one massive overseer, we’re instead little microbes in a petri dish being scrutinized by millions of “Little Cousins.”

  5. I wonder if this could be an HR issue. The term Mcjob gets thrown around and overall employees don’t respect their company seeing the job as just a way at quick cash. Maybe fast food chains should consider efforts to make employees more of an integrated and responsible part of the company.
    Perhaps its only because of the employee age base, but I haven’t heard issues like this from companies such as Starbucks (or Second Cup in Canada). I wonder if an attempt to change front line culture would make the fast food industry more effective in the long run.

  6. Ha ha, respect for the brand? I bet they don’t even like “Teh” Chicken.
    We’re talking here about brands and corporations, but those teens see KFC like a below-average part-time job while still on school/college.
    I guess the bigger an organization is growing, the harder it is for it to really engage its employees.
    After all, they were just some cogs in a machine…

Comments are closed.