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Good and Bad PR: TGI Fridays job interview from hell

22nd February 2017


Good PR

There's a lovely story floating around in the press involving a member of staff from Marks and Spencer who went above and beyond to make a shopper's experience in-store a more enjoyable one.

Lauren Walker was shopping in the Uddingston Foodhall branch of M&S in Glasgow with her mum and young son and the little one was getting rather restless. She has since been on the retailer's Facebook page to praise a member of staff for "excellent service".

The employee in question apparently took the time to chat away to the little boy so that Ms Walker could get some shopping done with her son a bit calmer. When they got to the checkout, the little boy – named Alistair – recognised the member of staff again and, waving, shouted "hiya hiya" to him; the employee then proceeded to hold the little boy behind the till as he scanned through his mum's items through, allowing him to help.

The mother captured video footage of this, which she shared to the Facebook page, and it received more than 7,000 likes and 500 shares in just four days.

Although this all came to light on Facebook, media outlets like the Huffington Post, The Sun and Mirror.co.uk have run the heart warming story, which is great feel-good PR for the M&S brand and the quality of its customer service.

Bad PR

If you're familiar with the game 'Would you rather?', you'll know that the whole point of it is to gross people out and give them scenarios they never thought they'd even have to think about, let alone choose between. It's the sort of game you might overhear in a pub or (in my case) an office environment where banter is not in short supply. It's not the sort of game you'd expect to crop up in a job interview.

So, when 18-year-old Daniel Dougherty from Derby sat down for a job interview at his local TGI Friday's restaurant, it's the last thing he expected too. It didn't sound like a run-of-the-mill interview from the beginning, as it was part of an event that several other job seekers attended, where they had to participate in challenges like balloon-making. If you've even eaten in TGI Friday's before, you'll know the ratio of balloon animals to punters in the restaurants tends to be pretty high.

He then sat down with what he believes was a bartender. He'd been asked all the usual questions about his previous experience and what not, but then questions cropped up like whether he'd rather watch his parents have sex for a year or join in once at the start. The shocked teenager also said:  "They then asked if I’d rather s*** a brick or cry a glass and I just stared at him open mouthed. It was quickly followed by would I eat chocolate flavoured s*** or s*** flavoured chocolate. I humoured him by saying chocolate flavoured s*** but then stood up to go.”

The story has been picked up by titles like the Metro, The Sun, Mail Online and Yahoo!, which has left TGI Friday's a bit red in the face. The restaurant chain has apparently suspended the offending member of staff after the incident and issued a statement to apologise. It has also offered to re-interview Daniel (properly) but I doubt he'll be taking up the offer.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter

Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email



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