The other night, I had watched a show and was about to flip the tv off when the next show came on. Except that there were horses, and that always catches my attention, so I turned my attention away from the computer and towards the tv screen.
The show was called Undercover Boss. The premise is that a bigwig from a company goes 'undercover' and does the smaller jobs within the company. This particular episode took the COO from Churchill Downs in the horse-racing industry, and put him into a handful of jobs on the backstretch of racetracks. He assisted a small-name trainer who's bills get paid only when her horses win and who's stalls can get reallocated to bigger name trainers, and then he shadowed one of the cleaning ladies for the suites at a track. He also assisted a jockey's valet-- they dress and prepare the jockey for each race, and also shadowed a new girl in the field who worked at both the backstretch and the front offices.
The man, Bill Carstanjen, seemed to take the experience well and seemed surprised to learn about some of the hardships faced by people within his company. At the end of the show, they do a big reveal, of course, and he also gifts those people he had worked for with things (more stalls for the trainer, a race named after the valet's deceased daughter) or better jobs (a closer one for the cleaning lady, with a raise, and a better one for the entry-level girl.)
The premise is nice and all, but left me wondering how much actually changed within the company as a result of one man at the top seeing how the "little people" operate. At a meeting with his fellow businessmen, all that really gets said is, "We need to get more personal within the company." That's pretty noncommittal.
What I would love would be to see a follow-up show getting opinions of the people working on the backstretch and such, in those "lesser" jobs. I'd love to know if they senses any changes in the time following Carstanjen's undercover 'work'. Because, unless life changed for the better in some ways for those people, what's the point?
Has anyone else seen this show? What do you think of it?