Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire is Bad for Society

My friend, Terry Starbucker, a leadership expert, wrote a compelling post entitled, The Trouble With Undercover Boss (If Your’e a Boss), where he makes the case that the CBS show is bad for bosses because a great CEO would be “known to EVERY employee; that is, there would be no way that the CEO could go on [the show]. He or she would be recognized immediately.” Indeed.

I also think Undercover Boss is bad for America’s, so called, “working class” and that ABC’s The Secret Millionaire is bad for society.

Shut the front door! Did he just say that The Secret Millionaire is bad for society? Isn’t that a bit over the top?

I did say it. And, yes, maybe it is a bit hyperbolic. But, to my mind, both shows exploit America’s working class for entertainment purposes. I think of it as Poorsploitation. Just like Blacksploitation films of the 70’s created an entire genre of film, Poorsploitation in the 2000’s has created an entire genre of TV programming.

Sure, some posit that the Blaxploitation trend was a token of black empowerment, but many civil rights leaders and activists, alike, felt the genre perpetuated common white stereotypes about black people and, as a result, many called for the end of the Blaxploitation genre. I’d like to call an end to these Poorsploitation programs because they too suggest some sort of empowerment and recognition for the working class but instead, insidiously perpetuate the stereotype of the working class as lost and helpless without the benevolent boss or the millionaire to make their life better and worthwhile.

Not only are Undercover Boss and Secret Millionaire “Poorsploitation” programs but I’d even include Extreme Home Makeover in the category. Much of the programming that is produced in the “reality TV” genre exploits individuals or groups for the entertainment of others. Think of The Biggest Loser (even the name is exploitative) and Intervention, which exploits people with the disease of addiction so we, the audience, can invade the most personal aspect of a someone’s life to marvel at the destruction these addicts have caused and the pathetic life they live.

Of course, you’ll argue that Intervention helps these addicts get into recovery and that is important and meaningful; that Undercover Boss helps the CEO have an awakening and that’s good for his employees; that The Secret Millionaire recognizes how fortunate they are and gives money to people doing important, charitable work; that the families in Extreme Home Makeover get treated to the most amazing new home and so much love from so many people. You might even argue, and you’d have a good point, that The Biggest Loser saves lives by helping morbidly obese people shed hundred of pounds. And, yes, participants choose to be on these shows, even vie for the opportunity to be on these shows.

We must consider, however, that exploitation is often insidious. It starts small and then creeps up on you day by day until its virus takes hold and sickens your entire system. In my book, the idea of a boss tricking their underlings, or a millionaire bamboozling poor people, into thinking they are someone other than who they say they are, is unethical.

Moreover, if a “millionaire” selling aspirational products to folks that can barely scrape two nickels together doesn’t know how “real” people live, she’s completely out of touch with reality and consumed by a blindly ego-centric point of view. How can she not know that the average working person in America earns about $50,000 over the course of one year and that the working poor might earn $17,000, not $500,000 in 5-minutes at the back of the room after a sales pitch from the stage.

Just as insidious is the idea that some big shot CEO comes down to the level of his peasants and realizes that he (usually seems to be a man) can’t do the job he asks his employees to do. Well, Praise Be! He has an epiphany and realizes that his decisions effect the people who work for him, that they’re human beings with aspirations and dreams, and that he should change a few things about the way he does business? Are you serious?

You run a multi-million dollar, often multi-hundred million dollar company and you need to go on a TV show where you trick your employees into thinking you’re someone else to have this realization? If I was on the board of one of these companies and was witness to this travesty, I’d fire the CEO before the first commercial break. Oh, and, to add insult to injury, the CEO gives the employee a tiny promotion with a tiny increase in salary or maybe $5000 to go to school to learn how to become a chef, as was the case on one episode. Again, are you kidding? What’s $5000 to a company with tens of millions or 100’s of millions of dollars in sales? And, let’s not forget the tens of millions of dollars in publicity and advertising these companies and individuals get for going on these shows.

These programs feed on the disease of small thinking and I, for one, stand against them. Call me a bleeding heart. Call me a tree hugger. Call me too sensitive. Call me self-righteous. Call me whatever you want, I just think we should expect more from our “millionaires,” our “bosses,” and ourselves, by working for more transparency, more equality, more empathy, and more respect.

Let’s (always) think bigger about who we are and what we offer the world.

UPDATE: Andy just pointed me to a segment that Bill Maher did on his show about this very topic about these specific programs. (If you watch the segment, please do your best to not make this post about Bill Maher. The discussion in the comments is sophisticated and diverse in opinions and all commenters have done a great job focussing on the questions raised in the post.)

Oh, and the share buttons finally started working again so you can use them, if you like.

63 thoughts on “Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire is Bad for Society

michaelport

Why I think Undercover Boss is bad for business and The Secret Millionaire Is bad for society http://t.co/nve7hQU

cjtheisen

RT @michaelport: Why I think Undercover Boss is bad for business and The Secret Millionaire Is bad for society http://t.co/nve7hQU

followcb

Thank You! @michaelport Why I think Undercover Boss is bad for business and The Secret Millionaire Is bad for society http://t.co/nve7hQU

GroovyTGoddess

RT @cjtheisen RT @michaelport: Why I think Undercover Boss is bad for business &The Secret Millionaire Is bad 4 society http://t.co/nve7hQU

SarahArrow

Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire Is Bad for Society http://t.co/HnzwMKY

Tammy Redmon

Wow Michael, those are some fightin words in certain circles. Way to go! 🙂

And, I agree with you. Though never did I put it in perspective as ‘Bad for Society or Working Class’ that was a shift in perspective. I have thought that it was a twist on reality TV and that can’t be good.

What astonishes me about Undercover Boss is that the show gives clear and compelling evidence that the leaders are sheltered and insulated by “their” team. And no one picks up on that. Now the leaders I work with, that is always one of the first places I start. It is that teams primary function, in my experience and opinion, to open the eyes to the CEO what is happening on the front line of the company. Yes, Joe and Susie CEO should reach to the front line with their messaging but the show represents something very unrealistic in it’s take on how said CEO gather’s evidence for change.

And, of course it sets up their talent in the company to potentially be untrustworthy or void of truth telling when someone new comes in asking questions. You never know when your CEO could be Undercover Snoopy.

As for Secret Millionaire? I am still not sure who the show was really for? The millionaire looking for a shot at TV or the few people that got a check. Oh wait, it was for the viewers to see that there is pain and poverty in the world. Wow, I see that everyday in my community and I don’t need to turn on the TV to notice or contribute to support change.

Thank you for the provocative post.

TammyRedmon

Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire Is Bad for Society http://t.co/tyXQETg

Kimberly Richey

If CEO’s ran their businesses like you would, then Undercover Boss wouldn’t be needed–CEO’s would know their employees & their jobs….but I don’t think that’s the case. These guys hired to the top didnt walk up the path, & they have no idea what it’s like for the people they employee. Michael Eisner used to work in the the theme parks undercover so he’s stay in touch with the customer…maybe the cameras aren’t needed, but the experience is!!

Lisa

I agree with you to a point – at least with Intervention and Biggest Loser I learn something. How to eat better, exercise tips, how to deal with a person in crisis, etc. But with the “millionaire” and “undercover boss” programs – you are right, it exploits the working class.

Since when did we switch from following the “everyman” as he works his way up the ladder of success to watching these lucky few come down from the ivory tower to bestow their money, cooking classes, charity, whatever… What, no more “rags to riches” stories?

And don’t get me started on Home Makeover – do those people really need a super-fancy-tricked-out house? Why not give 10 deserving people a nice house rather than 1 family a mansion? I admit that when I watched the programs the one thing I kept wondering was if they were going to get a tax break. And why not make the donations to the charities anonymously like the rest of us? Cynical? Maybe.

Financial Samurai

I for one LOVE the shows. It’s better than nothing, and it does wonders for the popularity of the company in the short term, which ultimately helps all employees in the medium term.

Is the CEO giving away his own money, or the firms? It looks like his/her own money to me, and that should be clarified.

Sam
The Yakezie Network

Michael Port

I understand that.

Rob Thomas

Michael, I have felt the same way about those two shows for some time. I am glad you decided to say this. Keep em coming big thinker!

Michael Port

Thanks Rob. Miss you man.

Molly Gordon

Ooooh, you are singing my song, Michael. There is something cynical and not-so-subtly patronizing about these programs. They exploit the underdog and glorify the seemingly beneficent CEO or millionaire who deigns to reach down to the masses.

Besides, I go for the “teach a man to fish” approach any day.

Tynisha Thompson

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this post Michael. I feel and have felt exactly the same way about Secret Millionaire from the moment I saw the first episode. I find this shows cynical, misleading and totally un-authentic.

Lisa Robbin Young

Yes. Poorsploitation is a great word. And I too shudder to think that a “company man” can’t spot their CEO in a crowd, yet it happens all the time.

This has to be one of your best posts ever, Michael. Thank you for sharing your transparency about this issue. And thank you for saying what so many people are thinking, but too scared to admit. It’s “Emperor’s New Clothes” all over again.

Pamela Hazelton

Agreed. I think any CEO who’s never really interacted with the, ahem “little people” isn’t worthy of being CEO. I find it shocking how some of these undercover bosses discover some simple things they never before realized. What? Such information never flowed up the chain? Fire the chain…

Ivette Muller

I totally agree with you Michael. Plus, as a former employee in “corporate” America, it really bothers me that these CEO’s get all sappy and offer all the help to the people they work with. They get all sucked in with their stories and offer to help, but what about the hundreds and maybe even of thousands of other employees they aren’t going to help. Aren’t they just as deserving?

Nicholas Mercier

I want to meet you!

katdish

I’m not a big fan of reality television. Especially shows like the ones you mention here. I also think they’re exploitive. I’m glad you mentioned Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Everything is so completely over the top and for me, it’s more about making the people affiliated with the makeover look good than it is about spotlighting the families who are getting the makeovers.

Jerret

I think its important to not vilify an entire style of programming based on the above observations. While they seem accurate on the surface, they probably only tell half the story…
If we want to be cynical and project what we think the corporate motives are for participating, or the producers motives are for the theme, so be it… but lets realize that there are millions of people out there who watch Undercover Boss and vow never to be “that guy”, Thousands of millionaires who are brought back to “where they came from” and make strides to never forget,
and scores of businesses who just needed some direction on how to tackle the problems they see in society that find inspiration in seeing the homes erected.
IMHO it is too knee jerk to say that these things are “bad for society”. It totally disregards all the good that is done and minimizes the contribution of those involved. if i give a homeless guy a loaf of bread because I feel guilty for being full, is his appetite any the wiser? If i do it several times for the wrong reasons, isnt there a better chance I will start to feel that HUMAN connection that should be at the center of our charity?
I agree wholeheartedly that there are flaws with commercializing charity! but lets not write the whole thing off, rather lets build on the momentum those shows create to drive real and lasting change.

Michael Port

I appreciate your perspective Jerret. Thanks for sharing it! Keep coming back.

Marlene Chism

I appreciate the provocative article because it has created open dialogue and a chance to look at this from many perspectives.

Jerret, I love your perspectives. We can’t discount the good that comes from these programs, and we never really know the inner motives of those who participate, so observing is a better stance than critical judgment.

Kimberly…you are right…if CEOS were in any way connected with the front line employees there wouldn’t be a need for this type of show.

Thanks for starting the conversation and to all for sharing your unique point of view.

I think the show is beneficial on many levels and it is facilitating interesting dialogue and creative change.

Andrew

You just hit that one right on the head. Many of those programs dont seem to reflect the greater problem. Bandaiding situations rather than looking deeper at the core issues affecting these people. Touche sir, well put.

janet

I would rather see shows like this, that at least attempt to show people trying to better themselves, their businesses, their relationships and humanity in general than any “expert” news shows that dwell on the negative and self-serving. Yes, I admit that these shows are milking the “entertainment” portion, but I’d prefer these shows over “The Bachelor” and “Jersey Shore” any day. At least they try to encourage people and organizations to think outside themselves.

Are the shows perfect? No. Should CEOs know better? Yep. I don’t think the people who watch these shows are blind to the fact that the companies and the millionaires get publicity. However, I also think the people who get new homes or the nonprofits who get a cash infusion realize that they, too, will get noticed, that the tools being used to build the house will be mentioned by brand name. Thing is, I see the Bosses and the Millionaires actually learning something rather than being patronizing. Do they get to walk away and put their fancy clothes back on? Sure they do, but walking a mile, whether it’s on or off camera, is still an opportunity for learning and betterment for us all. Shows that in their small way attempt to make the planet better rather than more douchey deserve far more credit than you’re giving them. People like you always find a way to kick in the shins anything that isn’t absolutely pure in its intentions. Is your blog? Are your books that are for sale? Give me a break.

Michael Port

Sure Janet. I hear you and understand your point of view. I didn’t write about shows like The Bachelor or Jersey Shore because they are widely considered, as you say, “negative and self-serving.” The reason I wrote about Undercover Boss and The Secret Millionaire is because they are touted as important and meaningful programs that are good for our culture. To me they’re even more dangerous because, as I mentioned in the blog post, they are insidious. They seem positive and uplifting but, personally, I feel they take advantage of the working class and the poor.

I opt for none of these shows, rather than one or the other (of course, easy solution – not to watch). I’m not willing to expect the least worse one. I want a nation of big thinkers who care about the world we’re leaving to our children and how everyone is treated. I have been given great opportunities and advantages throughout my life. I believe I have the highest responsibility to stand for others, especially those who struggle the most.

NotSoCynical

I understand your point about Poorsploitation but I think that in the world we live in today in North America many people ARE sheltered and don’t understand the plights of others.

Secret Millionare brings light to the reality of those struggling every day and provides a moment of spotlight for those who are trying help. I prefer to see it as a good way to get this point across in our overly-connected, celebrity-obsessed, materialistic world. Sure the millionare gets their 15 minutes but I believe it’s worth the education to the masses.

Let’s be honest about CEOs – at their level do they really know what goes on in the front lines and can they be expected to? In a large, multimillion dollar company not everyone knows who the CEO is and many don’t really care, it’s a job and a way to make money. I think by belittling the “gifts” provided by the CEO you are diminishing the fact that $5,000 is a lot of money to some people. It’s not how much the company or CEO earns but the fact that they are willing to share. Of course they get the benefit of perception of goodwill but again, it’s small in comparison to the potentially life-changing deed. And there is the feeling the receipient gets of being recognized, that goes a long way.

– NotSoCynical

Michael Port

Good points! Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

Jason Rundell

Why did you choose to use these show’s names and give them publicity instead of being more generalized?

Michael Port

To raise these questions, I felt that I needed to offer specifics to make a credible case.

Carol Hess

My gut reaction is to agree with you, Michael, about Secret Millionaire — that it’s exploitive and demeaning and appeals to the voyeur in the viewer and to the egotist in the millionaire. And then I argue with myself that the show may heighten awareness about poverty in this country and motivate people to take action (charitable and otherwise).

So I’m back and forth on my opinion of Secret Millionaire — as I lso aam with the other reality shows. I’veco me to the conclusion that the shows are, like most human activities and endeavors, neither all good nor all bad.

Thank heavens we have the power of choice. We can watch the show or turn it off. We can do business with the show’s advertisers or we can boycott them.

And the best thing of all? We can follow courageous bloggers like you, Michael, who open up the important conversations that need to be had. Thank you for that.

Karen Swim

I definitely appreciate your candor and willingness to courageously share your opinion. I agree with your opinions about Undercover Boss – the entire premise of needing to “spy” on your company to know what is happening goes against all that I believe good leadership should be. However, I disagree with you about Secret Millionaire. Granted, I have only seen a couple of episodes but have found that they showcase those in this country who demonstrate that service to others does not require a fat portfolio but a willing heart. While I would love to believe that the wealthy and even the upper middle class are aware of the needs in this country, I must say I have seen firsthand the smug disregard from the hallowed halls of corporate America to the the freedom highways of successful entrepreneurs. If this show gets people to see that there’s more to life than Louboutins and million dollar mansions then I hope it lasts for seasons to come.

Sheri McConnell

Hi Michael,

I love that you are speaking your truth and offering a different level of awareness.

I am still thinking through everything ya said. In my circles, I saw a lot more people want to give back in their own communities b/c of their experience of watching the Secret Millionaire series. So that is really good.

I would also OF COURSE agree that poor people are being exploited everywhere. AND they also have the power to change it. I’ve been one of those poor just like the ones portrayed on these shows so I get it from that level and without the organizations, I wouldn’t have found a way out to the amazing life I have now. But I just needed the push my family didn’t provide and then it was all me!

So if the organizations get some cash from the big insane machine that is Hollywood and TV, I am ok with that because if one person goes out there and creates positive change in the world (which I am seeing with the Secret Millionaire) then I think we have to look at the glass half full… and see how we can do better next time and fill the glass even more.

Another thing that comes to mind is that if we don’t like what we see, it is up to the entrepreneurs to create something better. So its really up to us to create better television.

Thanks for the great post.

Cory Fossum

Hey Michael – It’s one thing for me to think it to myself when I first saw the ads all over Facebook, but it’s another thing for you to come right out and say it. Especially since I believe you know a few of the Secret Millionaires personally. I’ve always appreciated that about you.

I just feel like there should be an acknowledgement that these are so clearly paid-for ads in the guise of network television. Members of the Secret Millionaire Internet Marketing world paying $100,000 of their own money to the “working class” while being positioned as saints in front of a national audience, when in reality, they’re paying $100,000 for a 60-minute ad on ABC and all the promotional benefits that comes with it. Not to disregard the “good” that comes from the shows – and I have no doubt their hearts are mostly in the right place – it just seems like they should follow the lead of infomercials and acknowledge that the following is a paid-for advertisement, or at least mention that a promotional consideration has been paid by the Secret Millionaires themselves. In the age of transparency and authenticity, it seems like the right thing to do. – Cory

Carrie Wilkerson

Michael & Cory – bold, indeed! Cory, since you’re a video producer…love the impression that you feel these are paid ads. Seems a twist on the infomercial, maybe?

While the infomercials in a traditional sense are heralding a product and clearly saying ‘we’re great, buy this’ — in this new style, producers are saying ‘look at their heart, buy them’ – interesting perspective for sure. Although Michael, you’re right – that is NOT as overt a message and therefore can be manipulated, which feels ickky.

Would love to know if the undercover boss show has changed PR, stock prices or awareness for those businesses. Would also be interesting to know the numbers of launches that came on the heels of the Secret Millionaire.

I’ve never watched either…not a TV fan 😉

However…in the SM – you have to admire that they used several personalities with targeted email and social media lists to drive ratings. That was super clever of the network. Feels like an experiment. A marriage of TV, cause-related marketing, feature/human interest with direct response at the beginning and end.

A study in marketing for sure, no matter how you feel about the overall model…I love to reverse-engineer these things. Similar to the Obama campaign a few years ago – you have to marvel at the social media efforts…

I believe we, as business owners, can look at this phenomenon and say…hmmmm 1) what worked? 2) what seemed ick 3) what matches my value set 4) what was their core motive and then apply what feels right.

Thanks for an engaging post

David Hiersekorn

Wow! I have watched both shows and didn’t see them this way. But, after reading your post, I realize that this is something that needed to be said.

The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Secret Millionaire is the fact that several of “Millionaires” are in the business of being rich – i.e. success coaches. I just can’t get past the idea that it was a marketing decision – even if the experience was genuine once they got on the show.

I love your courage and your fanatical commitment to being genuine. It’s very much needed in our world. Thanks for a great post!

Michael Port

It’s so great to see you here my friend. Thanks for the support. I’ll keep doing the best I can. Hope to see you soon.

Anthem Salgado

Did you just say “shut the front door”? Ok, that bit was hilarious to me for some reason.

After that tickle though, I read the rest of the article and have to say, great post! I couldn’t agree more. There’s something to be said for being inspirational and aspirational, and still being grounded enough to give honest tools and advice for real change.

Sometimes I think the problem is: By the time someone can be deemed an expert (worthy of TV time), they’re already too far removed from their regular-folk experience to be able to help the everyday person beyond offering token gifts.

I can’t say I blame them or anyone. Only that we who are ourselves teachers, trainers, coaches, and educators can and should remember to do better in our own work.

Lisa Crunick

This is a five star post. Thank you.

DJ_Sylvester

@unmarketing @MichaelPort Proud to have provided and installed these bubblers for Lucas family http://yfrog.com/h76fbrpj http://is.gd/TbPqRo

Brad

I have to take the totally opposite side. I think theres SO much demonization of wealth and success in todays society that its refreshing to demonstrate what wealth can do…which is make a difference in peoples lives in a major way…a way that the poor can’t do. Maybe these shows make just one person realize they should strive to produce enough wealth that they too can pay it back like that

Marlene Chism

I agree Brad! It is changing the awareness and motivating lots of people to look at what their values are.

Michael McLaughlin

Michael,

Bravo! I couldn’t agree more. Last month, I was experimenting with web-based animation and I made a short clip on the topic of Undercover Boss. I called it “The Clueless Consultant Tries Undercover Boss.”

http://www.mwmclaughlin.com/managing-your-business/consultant-undercover-boss/

Thanks for your perspective, as always.

Michael

Michael Port

That’s really funny, man. Nicely done!

Beat Schindler

You write how I feel. “Secret [!] Millionaires” is no more meant to be good for society than Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower is meant to be good for Paris, France. That said, it’s really about TV. People are even watching Faux, don’t they?

LB

I completely agree with you. But given the popularity this show has, I wish there could be some way to make this show more helpful for the charities that work so hard to better our society, while at the same time keeping the entertainment so people will watch it. One thought I had was to also highlight other volunteers that are helping out in this show, instead of focusing on the millionaire talking to the impoverished. Along with that, there is plenty of time at the end of the show where they can tell us how to get involved in our area, but instead they decide to focus on how showering charities with tons of money has helped them. Seems to me like they are just trying to manufacture a happy ending instead of telling us that this still goes on and we should take action. The show is entertaining, but horribly exploitative (or poorsploitative) of not only the less fortunate, but also of the charities.

mickmel

Interesting take: If you’re a CEO that could be on "Undercover Boss" (and not be recognized), you’re doing a poor job: http://bit.ly/dZzcVa

spud

RT @mickmel: Interesting take: If you’re a CEO that could be on "Undercover Boss" (and not be recognized), you’re doing a poor job: http://bit.ly/dZzcVa

TreySongzNews

RT @mickmel: Interesting take: If you’re a CEO that could be on "Undercover Boss" (and not be recognized), you’re doing a poor job: http://bit.ly/dZzcVa

pammcallister

Provocative: Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire is Bad for Society http://t.co/3fyA8mq

MarketingChef

Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire Is Bad for Society http://ow.ly/4RdhX via @michaelport

BareFootHixson

RT @MarketingChef: Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire Is Bad for Society http://ow.ly/4RdhX via @michaelport

GoodLifeHabits

Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire is Bad for Society http://t.co/pCaKjjS

Tina Lo Sasso

I’ve never watched either show and don’t understand why so many business people find “lessons” in them. Thanks for expressing some of what I find so unappealing about these types of programs.

We know why the networks make them – they’re cheap to produce compared to episodic programs. But, Michael, you’re a Big Thinker. Tell me, why are Americans watching this junk (and I include the vast majority of reality tv in this mix of junk)? And, what can we do to elevate the consciousness? Simply not watching it ourselves doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.

Ungenita Prevost

Michael,

All I have to say is Wow!

Thanks for being bold and putting this out there.

The world is truly an abundant place but promoting scarcity is not serving us in the long run.

It’s amazing how “using the poor man’s story” has somehow become a marketing strategy.

I know you would agree that it’s important to give to local charities, churches & causes. I also think to give publicly for the world to see, doesn’t strike me as “heart-centered”, more like “heart-greed”.

It’s great to give when the world is watching but how much are you writing the check for when the camera’s aren’t rolling and it’s not going to appear in the paper.

Furthermore, if that’s the first time you’ve written a check to a church, charity or cause for 6 figures after reaching a 7 or 8 figure salary that’s pretty sad and nothing to brag about.

Look at me, see what I did…

I love the quote dance like no one’s watching. We should all strive to give everyday, a little bit of our time, share an idea or donate (I believe in tithing 10%) like we’re not going to get a darn thing in return. That’s the beauty of giving & it’s no secret!

“Giving is most blessed and most acceptable when the donor remains completely anonymous” -Author Unknown

Beauty, Wealth & Success,
Ungenita Prevost

scooper5150

RT @GoodLifeHabits: Undercover Boss is Bad for Business and The Secret Millionaire is Bad for Society http://t.co/pCaKjjS

dlautzenheiser

Does Television Exploit the Poor for a Good Show?
See: http://lnkd.in/wp9eP9

Terry Dunn

Michael,

I both agree and disagree with you.

Here in the UK we can watch ‘undercover boss’ and ‘the secret millionaire’. I think you’re right about the undercover boss. Shame on him for not knowing what’s happening in his own corporation. But I don’t agree with your opinion on ‘the secret millionaire’.

On our television sets today we are bombarded by soaps, with never-ending personal tragedies and disasters, reality TV shows where celebrity has-beens are made to eat all manner of disgusting things, and banal quiz shows. So, I think it’s wonderful to see a person with money give much needed cash to community charity projects run by people who are so selfless, to me they are virtually saints.

The secret millionaire is full of warmth, positive emotions and radiates feel-good energy. We need more programs like this. I don’t see any poorsploitation, and I don’t think it’s about the millionaire, it’s about the charity worker or person receiving desperately needed money to continue their fantastic work in the community.

Regards
Terry

Michael Port

Thanks Terry. I hear you completely and see your perspective as well. I appreciate your thoughts.

Doug B

It’s a horrible show. People working for a non-livable wage – no benefits, no vacation, no health care, and the boss is sooo happy to find dedicated slaves (I mean serfs, no I mean indenutred servants, employees, yes that’s it). All these serfs make the corp tons of money, while they live off of us tax payers for Medicaid, SNAP, and everyother form of assistance. It’s not the serf’s fault – the corp knows Uncle Sam (you and I will pick-up the tab).

Then the CEO being such a great guy gives them sort of trip worth a couple of $K. It’s makes we want to puke.

db

‘Poorsploitation’ indeed! Considering the tax code and census reports reveal that top to bottom ‘affluence’ begins at earnings of around $300K, ‘average’ household income for a family of 4 begins at around $50K and the ‘working poor’/public and private assistance eligibility begins from zero up to around $20K CEO’s of multi-million dollar companies/the ‘Wal-Marts’ of the world can do better.

Thanks a great article in the face of the ‘race to the bottom’ that these shows reveal to a public that should be more openly outraged about. I can ramble on about ‘poorsploitation’ but you might, if you have the time consider the ‘poorsploitation’ that is far worse that appears to be partial import of employment practices overseas. I’m talking about Call Centers: key into any search engine phrases such as ‘Electronics sweatshop’-‘Call Center Hell’-‘Call Center Health Problems’ I worked part time at a call center over 10 years ago and more recently on a temp job and was appalled at the practices of a third party provider whose ‘big client’ is none other than ‘big T’ replete with over 20 points that employees could be ‘fired’, 1/2 hour lunch breaks on 8 hour shifts, penalties for long or multiple trips to the bathroom, incessant popups from managers while in call and much more including what appeared to be bulk firing along with those who quit before benefits could kick in (oh, and the benefits package was ridiculously Spartan and would pay only $300 per day for hospital stays) I quit in disgust that such evil in employment practices is here on US soil and this employer and many others I’m sure can do it because the ‘working poor’ and young college grads are legion. They do it because they can and due to desperation/normal obligations of living, employees permit it. The examples I saw made me sick with the knowledge that Unions which used to be strong in the US were created because of bad employment practices.

Ashley

I think the show should have stayed the way the first episode was. The boss going undercover to find out how employees act when he’s not around and to fix problems that he was unable to see (people act differently with their managers are around) and he might get a little insight too but I think the main line should have stayed running the company to be more efficient. Also I think the cameras should have been hiden, and all of this is just to say if they were going to do the show at all.

pat

I find it sad the television companies have found a way to not pay salaries and give out no profits. they have the best of both worlds no stars to pay and all the credit helping poor people with out paying one dollar of revenue. Boy we are stupid.

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