So apparently in the mid-1980s Wendy's restaurants took the idea of the corporate training video to the next level and set the basic how-to rules of the workplace to music. The results are more Eighties than Tony Danza and Ronald Reagan doing jazzercise with Max Headroom to the beat of a Roland 808 drum program.

These videos are pure, concentrated Eighties. The "hot drinks" song is stuck in your head now, right? I wonder what became of that singer/actor. I can only hope that he wakes up every single day thinking about how much he accomplished here.

The funny thing is, this strikes us as exceptionally cheesy. But it's remarkably, even embarrassingly, effective. How many of the rules for pouring and serving hot drinks do you remember right now? I bet you remember all of them. Would a 3-minute video of some actor in a Wendy's uniform reading the rules have held your attention? Would you have retained anything? Of course not. These are the moments in which I realize that Children's Television Workshop (the producers behind Sesame Street) are some of the most brilliant minds in the history of the medium. They've mastered all of the necessary techniques to mesmerize viewers: bright colors, singing, and rhyming. We're not so different from four year olds in some ways.

18 thoughts on “NPF: STICKY”

  • I still refuse to click your links, I always come away feeling like I've spent time as an alter boy for Cardinal Ratzinger ;)

    As for CTW. Need I say more?

    When told by someone that education had to move beyond "kill and drill" phonetics and that phonetics were a waste of time. Theodor Seuss Geisel took that as a challenge and began his writing career to prove that teaching kids the basics of rhyming pairs can be done in an engaging way. Would you? Could you? On a rock in a jock eat green eggs and smeat?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    I'm surprised Wendy's didn't leave Mickey D's in the dust. And take over the world!

    After all, that took less than 10 minutes to teach all the staff needs to know, excepting how to give the correct change back.
    And at Mickey D's, the owners have to go to McDonalds University, and then they have to go and teach the staff what they need to know! And then, how to give the correct change back.

    Too bad Dave Thomas died in 2002, or we could have handed the education of our children over to him.

    And instead of having union teachers with Masters Degrees from colleges and universities, we could have used all of the out-of-work actors in any given area, teaching our children, by lip-syncing to subject specific songs, to whatever music is in fashion at the time.

    Just think – going from knowing the numbers, to counting, to addition, to advanced calc, all in a short series of 2-3 minute songs!!!

    Why, I bet teaching them everything from the beginning of time, with The Big Bang (or, "God's Busy Week," for our Fundamentalist Christianista's) to the Obama scandals, wouldn't take more than a month!

    And the kids would be in great shape, so no PE, or PE teachers, because who wouldn't want to dance along to the great hip songs, while learning?

    Where do find this sh*t, Ed?

  • In my 20s, I took a weekend-and-evening job at a fast food restaurant to earn extra money for a downpayment on a house. One thing fast food does very, very well is to train the workers. I wished my IT job during the week had the expectations and procedures laid out so clearly as the fast food job.

    I loved that job–I won a television set in a competition for Employee of the Month. What was my secret? I showed up on time, in uniform (provided by the company), didn't steal from the cash register, and always got the orders right. Value-added skills: I could make change in my head, so I could be stuck on the flaky cash register, I could speak enough Spanish and French to deal with our non-English-speaking customers, and I was the only one who noticed if the ice bucket was empty or the trays were stacking up over the trash cans.

  • The second you mentioned Children's Television Workshop, the song "Danger's No Stranger" jumped into my head.

    There's definitely something to be said for ridiculous catchy ear worms, regardless of cheesiness.

  • "It's not like Americans believe in rights. More on that tomorrow?"

    Not to get greedy here, but after the bitch slapping Ed was taking for condoning Obama's endorsement of unfettered police state surveillance, I was looking forward to a reverso-bitch-a-slappin'. Not that reliving the 80's isn't all cool and nostalgic, and painful, for those of us who actually lived thru it, but…….

    Now I'll have to endure the long weekend in anticipation.


  • c u n d gulag says:

    Death Panel Truck,
    Thanks, but I know that!

    Maybe a better question would have been, "Ed, what made you thing to look for this?"

  • Gordon Guano says:

    Singing the (richly deserved) praises of CTW directly after an article titled "Grown-Up Time" gave me a chuckle. Men never grow up, their toys just get more expensive. It is known.

  • I worked at McDonald's in the late 80's and we had to watch a training video set to 'Beat It' but it was McDonald's employees singing 'Just Clean It'

    It was something.

  • Thank you for this. I was two hours deep into a recorded lecture on maternal depression (highlights: it's communicable to infants and there are no fully safe drugs that can be taken during pregnancy), but now I feel like hooking up my laserdisc player and singing along to Nu Shooz. Who needs psychotropics?

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  • Ok, no one has mentioned this so I'm going to…

    We need a training video to teach people to pour drinks? SERIOUSLY?? Have people really gotten that dumb?

    I worked in a couple of fast-food places in my youth and the "training" consisted of "Put a lid on everything".

    "The coffee's hot, please be careful when you pour it….."

    Give me a fricken break….(shaking head)

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