News & Politics

Walking on Hot Coals for Burger King

In an age of rah-rah corporate spirit, Burger King is the first company that literally tried to fire-up its workers -- by having them walk barefoot on hot coals.
We Americans are kind of a rah-rah people. We tend to enjoy getting fired up -- at sporting events, at political rallies, in church, wherever. Shout hallelujah! Won one for the Gipper! Four more years! These have been some our exuberant cries. And, now, we can add this classic: Burn your feet for Burger King!

Yes, in addition to god, country, party, and team, corporations increasingly are holding employee pep rallies and otherwise trying to fire-up their worker bees with the holy corporate spirit. But it appears that Burger King is the first that literally has tried to fire-up its workers.

Associated Press reports that more than 100 marketing employees of this British-owned fast food giant recently gathered at a resort in the Florida Keys for a corporate retreat that was meant to promote bonding. To show their enthusiasm for the corporate team, the employees were asked to engage in the ritual of fire-walking -- literally to walk barefooted across a bed of white-hot coals. How hot? As hot as 1,200 degrees! Hot enough that a doctor had to be brought in to treat about a dozen of the fired-up workers for first and second degree burns. One woman was hospitalized, and some of the others had to have wheelchairs to leave the resort.

Not that the corporation was surprised that its people got burned. Prior to the fire-walk, Burger King required the participants to sign a waiver acknowledging that they might get hurt and absolving the company of liability. Not to sign, and not walk across the coals, would of course be a sign that maybe they lacked the proper team spirit.

One who suffered injury was Burger King's vice president of product marketing. But, hey, she had no regrets, for she was filled with the corporate rapture. Walking across searing coals, she exclaimed, "Made you feel a sense of empowerment and that you can accomplish anything."

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Yeah, if you consider first-degree burns an accomplishment.
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