Workplace failures usually end with a boss firing a worker, and not the other way around. But this past Friday, Mike Bloom, the COO and president of the discount retail chain Family Dollar Stores, found himself on the ejector seat care of one of his employees. The worker, Rosali, a forklift operator at a Family Dollar distribution center in Fort Royal, Va., was the one who canned Bloom, as can be seen in the video above.
Rosali thought Bloom was in fact "Mark," an aspiring business owner appearing on a second chances reality show in the hope of opening a rock-and-roll themed bar. Of course, he was in fact the c-suite executive of a company that brings in $10 billion a year in revenue. And the two met during Bloom's swing through "Undercover Boss," the hit CBS series now well into its fifth season.
During his time on the show, Bloom proved to be an ineffectual on-the-ground worker. And it was his lackluster performance that drew the ire of Rosali; Bloom simply couldn't keep up with the vital stop signals and warning beeps that control forklift traffic in a bustling warehouse. And so the poor performance left Rosali wary enough he felt it was unwise for "Mark" to be invited to work in the warehouse. He was just "too shaky," Rosali said. And so he let him go to his face, as can be seen in the video above.
Rosali's fears were also grounded in "Mark's" general discomfort with the environment of the distribution center. Given the volume of merchandise needed to keep the Family Dollar Store operation and its 7,800 stores humming, the forklift reached as high as 35 feet into the air. But Bloom broadcast an obvious fear of heights, which of course is no personal fault, but is probably a disqualifying attribute in such an environment. "I am nervous about him using this equipment," Rosali put it bluntly.
Bloom, for his part, took the dismissal like a good sport. As can be seen in the video above, the executive saw the big picture and felt his worker made the right choice. "I am glad to see he takes safety so seriously," he said. And in the reveal, Bloom even rewarded Rosali. He told him he'd pay off two thirds of an 18,000 debt he's currently dealing with. And then he notified his worker he'd be promoted to a salaried managerial position, which would lead to a 40 percent pay increase.
Most of the times on the show when someone is fired it's a worker, not the boss, who suffers. Such a dynamic has played out a handful of times during the series. Earlier this season, Aaron, a delivery worker for Donatos pizza, got caught smoking marijuana while completing his delivery route. But after Aaron demonstrated himself to be a hustler, Jane Grote Abell, the owner and chairman of the board of the Ohio-based pizza chain, decided to allow him to try and return after a 30 day-period, provided he passes a drug test.
And last season, Jacqueline, a Retro Fitness gym worker in New Jersey was fired after she explained her choice to play on her smart-phone during working hours by saying, "I am not a f------ slave!" Ronnie, who also appeared last season as a worker from Boston Market, was canned after he openly bragged how he "hates the customers." He also introduced himself as the "the Kim Kardashian of Boston Market."
The undoing of a Family Dollar stores executive is in keeping with the current view many commentators hold of the discount chain. During his appearance, Bloom announced his plans to double the number of Family Dollar stores over the next few years. But sales at Family Dollar have "failed to inspire" over the last quarter, as was reported by Motley Fool, the financial news site; the report said Family Dollar is losing to competitors like Dollar General and Dollar Tree. Indeed, same-store sales are flat year-on-year, even though management said they hoped to see a 2 percent increase.
Bloom, I Presume
Investors, however, would be unwise to count out Bloom. The jovial executive, and lackluster factory worker, is just 20 months into his time at Family Dollar. He previously spent his career at CVS Caremark. But before any of his corporate success he had to stay close to home growing up after his father lost his job. And so he was only able to attend community college.
You don't hear that everyday from market leaders. And on his swing through his company, Bloom came across Chanel, a training store manager in Clifton, N.J., who after growing up as a foster kid had also attended community college. She had a spirited disposition, saying her job was her "passion." And so Bloom rewarded her an $80,000 package, which included a pay-raise and a year's worth of rent, as she's had to live with the family of the father of her child in order to get by.
"The struggle is over," she said.