Montesano, Washington, is a beautiful, small, unassuming city in the County of Grays Harbor. Nestled in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, It is surrounded by lush pastureland and drives along highway 8 come with views of small groups of milk cattle amongst the trees. In Montesano, there is a little fast food restaurant. A very normal, family owned, honest, fast food restaurant.
The family that owned the restaurant had two long time trusted employees who served as managers. The family knew the restaurant was in good hands. When the long term employees left, the family was worried. Fast food restaurants hire young, minimum wage workers who often slack off or even steal from the register.
The owners felt they needed to keep an eye on the restaurant. So they installed cameras.
Then they’d watch.
If the employees were just standing around talking to each other, they’d call up and say, “Why are you just standing around? Do something on the chore list!” For the owners, each time that required a call justified the surveillance.
The chore list, while comprehensive, was very short. Keep the place clean and the services filled. Montesano doesn’t have many people. But rushes require a certain staffing. Standing around was inevitable.
So the employees found themselves filling full salts, cleaning clean floors and hiding directly underneath the cameras in the “blind spots” just to have a simple conversation. They never wanted to appear “not busy.”
As a team, the employees only could rally around one thing – their hatred of the cameras. They couldn’t talk to each other, learn about each other, or learn from each other. They could all merely mindlessly perform the already-satisfied chore list.
One by one, the other employees all left. None of them would ever become the new long-time and trusted employees because trust was never allowed to develop.