McStrip Search Award

I remember seeing this on television. I watched the hour long segment the entire time with my jaw on the floor. Here it is, in a nutshell:

Anonymous person calls restaurant, posing as a police officer, and informs manager on duty that one of her employees may have stolen from a customer.

Caller instructs manager to bring suspected employee into office and interrogate her, then instructs her to strip search the suspected employee, and finally, instructs her and her boyfriend to have the suspected employee perform sexual acts.

They do all of this.

Its not until another older employee rejects the instructions of the caller that the ordeal stops.

Manager is fired, her boyfriend goes to prison for five years. Poor employee sues and is awarded big bucks.

But then, so is the manager. She gets a jury awarded 1 million or so.

And nowhere in this whole scenario is anyone talking about the fact that there are people preparing food in this country that would submit to acts of humiliation like this, or that would perform illegal and humiliating acts like this, on behalf of a policeman on the phone?!!! Have we become such sheep that any authoritative figure, disembodied or not, is to be obeyed without question?

I haven’t figured out how to tie this to Dubya yet, but give me time…

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “McStrip Search Award

  1. Char

    And the manager gets a million bucks because they fired her, the stupid just burns. Hello, this is Sgt. Can’t put my fuckin’ socks and shoes on and I order you, to make that child give someone a blow job right now, In the name of the law! And put the phone really close to action so I can hear all the slurping. Scary stuff. I’m so glad that girl was awarded mega $, I hope they actually pay her.

  2. Yeah, I hear ya, and McDonalds was aware of previous incidents of this kind, and failed to warn their stores. BUT, beyond that omission, I wonder a little if they are to be blamed entirely. I mean, I can’t fault the young girl, though i have to wonder what environment produces such a submissive, easily duped child, but the manager was grown, and should have protected that child even if she really thought it was a real cop on the line.

  3. There’s plenty of stupid to go around in this story. But the ‘child’ was 18 years old at the time.

  4. I dunno – that just strikes me as an extension of what we learned with the Milgram Experiment. The desire to submit to authority is very very strong, particularly when that authority is seen as a (type of) person who is supposed to be responsible for the health and safety of the people they’re directing. Police officers are supposed to protect us.* As agents of the law, they have the power to punish us for disobedience and the responsibility (one thinks) to enfroce and answer to the law. They wouldn’t tell us to do anything wrong, would they? They must know something about this situation we don’t. We’ll get in trouble with the law if we don’t comply. They wouldn’t make us do anything wrong on purpose….

    And so it goes.

    … yeah. That is, thankfully, one of the things where forewarned is forearmed. I wish I could remember the name of that experiment… anyway, it basically showed that students who had a class that talked about helping (specifically referring to that case where the woman was raped and killed in full view of her apartment complex and none of them came out to help her) were more likely to stop and help ‘injured’ students afterward (even significantly afterward) and more likely to do and say the right things to get people to help them too. The effect seems to hold for authority experiments as well; students who know about the Milgram experiments and Stanford Prison Experiment etc. are less likely to submit to arbitrary and possibly hurtful rules. (In clinical situations, anyway. Anecdotally, it seems to hold true in the real world, but I don’t know of any real world studies on the issue.)

    * Let’s not get started on whether or not they actually do. Obviously, this is one of those theory/practice divides that screws us royally whenever it becomes relevant.

  5. Char

    Oh, she was 18, so ya saying it’s ok?

  6. Mag, I could understand (slightly) consenting to perform a strip search. At the point where the caller instructed them to make her perform humiliating sexual acts, it moved from unconscious submission to authority to “lets hope these people don’t procreate”.

    Char, I don’t think EX is saying that, knowing him the little that I do, but that by age 18, I think she could have a wee bit more sense to refuse to comply. But I will always believe that just because you’ve reached a certain numerical age, you aren’t necessarily “there” in maturity.

  7. Heh, yes. I do think that part goes past the normal bounds of common sense. But most people also thought giving the ‘lethal’ voltage under the Milgram scenario was pretty far gone, and a surprising number of people went there, too.

    I agree with the thought that 18 year olds are generally more mature than younger people, but I don’t really think maturity was the question for most of it. Getting hauled into a room by your supervisor, while by no means a fun or pleasant occurrence, probably won’t trigger anyone’s “good god, I should run” sense. Having a strip search happen is incredibly iffy, but if they’re telling you the police told them to do it, and calling you a thief, and you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job, you might comply. (Especially if they’re older than you, in positions of authority over you, and you’re in a closed enviromnent and there are more of them than there are of you.) From there, well, she was pretty much kidnapped. No matter that she was in an office in the place she worked, she was held against her will in a place she could not leave by people who were forcing her to do things she didn’t consent to. That’s not a common sense thing, that’s a ‘how do I get out of this situation alive’ thing.

  8. No. Freakin’. Way. If someone tells me the police are ordering them to have me stripped search, my response is going to be, “Tell the police to get their asses down here, then.” But I had parents who encouraged that sort of backtalk. ;)

  9. From the link:

    “McDonald’s is evaluating whether to appeal the decision, a spokesman said.”

    It will be interesting to see if they do. I know a few lawyers who have sued McDonald’s before and they are notorious for their “never say die” approach to lawsuits. They’ll take a “cockroach in the burger” case all the way to the Supreme Court if they think they can get away with it.

    This particular case is such bad PR for them, however, that they might just decide to call it a day.

  10. snikta

    This is so fucked up! I’ve been in restaurant management, and would never have searched an employee. I would never have even witnessed a search of an employee if asked to. How sad is it that such a moron was in a management position? Is no decision making ability required? Oh, and WTF was the manager’s bf doing in the room?

  11. I agree with Exador, insofar as “stupid is as stupid does.”

    Then again, is a thoughtlessly compliant sheep any more reprehensible than a self-deceiving sheep? For example, (until 9/11/2001) I had more respect for an unapologetic Bush-backer than I did for a Democratic Nader-hater. It’s one thing to accept a stolen election because your man won. It’s another thing entirely to ignore the election theft in favor of scapegoating a third-party candidate. What does this have to do with people consenting to over-the-phone commands to perform sexual acts? Probably nothing.
    Anyway,
    baaaa baaaa baaaa baaaaa
    That is all.

  12. snikta, how’d you get here?! :)

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