A. posted it to YouTube. The clip didn’t exactly go viral; maybe a half-dozen people had watched it before someone other than A. sent it to Consumerist. It’s not about how many people watch your video, though: the important thing is who watches your video. At least two of those viewers sent the link on to Sonic.
Here’s a copy of her original video:
Based on previous experience with this Sonic, A. knew that the normal customer service channels wouldn’t be much use. “If you call the [corporate] hot line, they just brush you off. I’ve called about so many things and nothing changes,” A. told us. We usually recommend asking to speak to a manager on the spot in situations like this, and asked her whether she had tried that. “Not this time, but I have in the past. The manager usually just looks at you blankly,” A. explained.
Here in the Consumerist media hut, we thought the video was pretty obnoxious, and sent it over to Sonic’s public relations department. Another YouTube viewer had sent it over shortly before we did, and they were already looking into the situation, VP for Public Relations Patrick Lenow told us. A short time after that, we got an update from Sonic HQ: the worker will have to take his racist impersonations elsewhere, since he no longer works at that restaurant. Sonic sent us this statement:
The franchise owner of the location has reviewed the video and confirmed that the incident did occur at his location. The owner found this behavior unacceptable and reports that the employee involved in the incident is no longer employed at the location.
Should it take public shaming and a PR nudge from a blog from Consumerist to end this kind of behavior in any customer-facing employee? No, it really shouldn’t. There’s goofing off at work, and there’s acting out an obnoxious stereotype when you don’t know who is going to pull up to the drive-thru next. A., as it turns out, is married to a man from India, and found the drive-thru worker’s impression especially offensive, but you can watch the video for yourself and judge.