Should employees be able to 'cheat' with a rival company's product?
There was a case a while back, five years now, when a Miller employee was fired for drinking Bud Light.
No, seriously. In February of 2005, a Miller beer distributor was snapped by a newspaper photographer at a Wisconsin bar with friends. The next day when he came into work, the place was “abuzz.”
“They said, ‘You’re in trouble for drinking Bud Light,” said the employee, a father of two, who was canned after he appeared in print enjoying the competition’s product.
“It’s my choice of beer,” a peeved Isac Aguero said later. “Who can tell you what to drink or not to drink?”
Now, any rational employer – even Miller, I’d think – would admit letting Aguero go was ridiculous. But the dated firing brings to mind an interesting debate.
At a time when brand loyalty couldn’t be lower, should employees be forced to exclusively use products of the company they work for?
For instance, if you or I hate McDonald’s, we go to Burger King. Or Wendy’s, Harvey’s, A&W or wherever. But for Mickey Ds staffers that feel the same, “cheating” on your employer – as industry sources have put it – is often deemed a touchy, traitorous act that should be a punishable offence.
“If you have somebody who’s working for a company and they’re not even using the product, then that is absolutely diametrically different from what we’re looking for in terms of a referral,” Ted Matthews, a Toronto-based brand coach and founding partner of Instinct Brand Equity, told the Globe and Mail.
“It’s a complete negative endorsement and no company can afford to have that in this day and age.”
What Matthews suggests, that no company can afford such treason, doesn’t appear totally accurate.
Brand loyalty seems like a bigger deal within small companies where bottom lines rely on the support and promotion of its employees. An independent coffee joint loses out when its barista keeps showing up to work with a Starbucks in hand. Toyota shouldn’t care if its line technician rolls into the staff parking lot in an Impala.
So there are different scenarios and different permutations of the issue, but the same concern remains: Should employees be forced into using the products of the company they work for?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Mattie | Apr 29, 2021 11:57:18 AM
What a ridiculous notion. To think you should be fired from McDonald's for eating at Burger King is absolutely ludicrous. What next, will they try to reprimand you for buying groceries to bring home from the supermarket?
I believe that if you work for a small company, you should support it, and you should want to support it. If you don't like what you are selling, maybe it's time to move on. But I don't think an employer should be able to fire you, reprimand you or pressure you to use/ support their product when you are not on the clock. That is your decision to do so, and not theirs.
Corporations have too much power as it is, there is no need to give them more.
Posted by: Kilyra | Apr 29, 2021 12:42:58 PM
I can see that it is unacceptable to bring a competition's product into the work place, or be representing your company at the competition's place. I mean, it would be reasonable to expect McDonald employee's not to waltz into the restaurant with an A&W bag, or not to be visibly wearing McDonald uniform while waiting in line at A&W. But I think that's where the line should be. In that particular case of Miller, I would hope the employee took legal action. Unless he were wearing a bunch of Miller swag I don't think it should be his employer's business if he was in a bar drinking a Bud Light. Once you take off the company uniform, you are no longer representing them - you are just you and for a corporation to believe otherwise is an invasion of privacy I would think.
Posted by: don | Apr 29, 2021 1:40:29 PM
If companies will guarantee they will be loyal employer and provide long term jobs, a pension plan and benefits (medical and dental) then maybe.(but not outside the place of employment) Most dont so why should they ask for loyalty when they have none for their workforce. We talk about the sense of entitlement the young seem to have......the way I see it corporations have a much greater sense of entitlement that any individual does. It is all about the upper management and bottom line
I doubt very much if the higher up's in these companies stick only to the brand they promote when they leave the office but they still think they can demand it from staff......go figure...they seem to thik they are entitled to control worker 24 hours a day when they pay for 8. If you dont think that is a sense of entitlement then I dont know what is.
Posted by: Gordon | Apr 29, 2021 3:07:44 PM
OK, employee should beself- motovated to support thier employer therefore job security; but, forced to is way over the top. How does this compare to Unionized workers striking and preventing customers from even entering thier workplace. Is that a fire-able offense?
Posted by: Andrew | Apr 29, 2021 6:20:58 PM
When Eatons was still in Canada they payed their employee's verry well, my wife was one of them.
We bought many big ticket items from them on a regular basis.
Their high wages eventually went back to the company itself by my math and even all our relatives got her 20 percent discount so their was a lot of money funneled back to the company. Now Eaton's is gone and Walmart is here, items made in China not here, cheap, low prices high profit tor the shareholders and company.
It payes to pay a little more to keep our jobs here
Posted by: Chuck | Apr 30, 2021 12:42:08 AM
I feel that only using the product of the company you work for can sometimes be unrealistic but I think that loyalty to the products is a key to enjoyment of your job, a key to building the brand and key to growing a brand and the company you work for.
However, I would only stick to my employers "brand" if they paid some sort of premium or gave deeply discounted or free products. Otherwise if they can't offer the help and support to use their products, too bad for them. Simply employing me is not good enough reason for me to be brand loyal.
Posted by: ma larkey | May 2, 2021 1:13:07 AM
....and where exactly do i sign in blood?....
Posted by: jimmydash | May 3, 2021 1:57:43 PM
I feel that it is no different for a line worker in a McDonald's to be allowed to eat at Burger King or A&W with no chance of reprimand or discipline than if a senior executive were to eat at Booby Flay's Mesa Grill or Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. It is a competitor for the entertainment dollar people use to eat out. Unfortunatley, Exec's make a disproportioate amout of income to a line worker and this limits the worker's options where they can afford to eat.
If it were fair to everyone, they would all only be allowed to eat at McDonald's if that is where their income came from. I can see that one going over well.
Same thing for Miller beer. Exec's if they are imbibing in an alcoholic beverage should drink Miller beer, not scotch, or Dom or whatever else.
And senior execs at Ford and GM are not driving those cars becasue they like them the best, it is becasue they are given them as perks of the job. I am sure there are a few that would rather be driving a Mercedes, Astin Martin or Bentley if they had teh choice.
Posted by: dfw | May 4, 2021 1:20:01 AM
If you work for Miller beer and you are off duty not only should you be able to drink another beer, you should be able to wear I shirt that says I hate Miller Beer!
Posted by: make mine a ..... | May 4, 2021 5:23:16 AM
....and if your friend buys you a beer, you say, Oh NO, I mustn't.
Posted by: A | May 6, 2021 12:11:17 PM
It gets even more ridiculous. I worked for an advertising agency that had a major brewer as a client. They declared that no competing product could be consumed within a five kilometre radius of the offices. I lived less than five kilometres away (3.5K, to be exact). I asked if that policy applied to my home, my manager told me it did.
Great part of it is that I didn't even work on the ideas side, just pure production. It didn't matter if I was advertising beer, pop, or unicorn's tears, the work was all the same to me. Who cares if I like the product?