CBS kicked off a new season of Undercover Boss this week with Stephen J. Cloobeck, CEO of Diamond Resorts, International, a timeshare company. He goes undercover as a worker looking for a job in hospitality. The premise of the show is the head of a major corporation goes incognito to see the inner workings of his company.
Stephen J. Cloobeck bought a resort company for $5 million and rebranded it Diamond Resorts, International. He instituted the motto of yes in his company, meaning whatever the customer wants, the answer is yes. He wants to go undercover because the company has purchased other resorts, and he wants to see how they are acclimating to the company. He is undercover as Jack Fisher.
Apparently Mr. Cloobeck thinks he needs a personal security guard who sweeps the hotel room before he checks in. If it’s not up to the correct standards, they go to a different one. The CEOs who appear on Undercover Boss usually stay at accommodations suited for the role they’re playing, but not Cloobeck. Since the first room is not up to standard, he moves on to a spacious penthouse suite at another hotel. He also takes his private jet to various stops instead of flying commercial.
The first stop for Jack Fisher is Sedona, AZ, a recently acquired resort. His first task is to help Ed the maintenance man repair the air conditioning unit on the roof. Jack is already in over his head as he knows nothing about HVAC, so he is in charge of the fire extinguisher. Ed tells Jack to hold a Freon line with pliers while he welds it. As Ed is welding, a fire flares up, and Jack squeezes the Freon line, crushing it. The air conditioning will have to wait until tomorrow.
Ed is from Flagstaff, AZ, and owned an RV repair business. He sold the business and the couple he sold it to went bankrupt so he lost over $200,000. He unloads trucks as a second job. His wife is a teacher and works at Home Depot.
Jack’s next stop is a call center in Miami, FL, and his trainee is Sarah. The first call does not meet the yes standard, and the calls just get worse. Sarah is not helping her customers properly, and the CEO is frustrated. He comes to the conclusion that she is not trained properly.
He is so upset that he breaks his cover and reveals his true identity. He tells Sarah she didn’t fulfill any request, and he goes to speak to the supervisor. He tells the supervisor that Sarah is awful and needs retraining and to go fix her mistakes. He leaves the call center in disgust and hops into his chauffeured SUV.
The third stop is a resort in Willamsburg, VA. Jack is working with Greg to paint a ceiling, but first he must sand it. Jack realizes the paper facemask does nothing to protect their lungs, but Greg says they can only get the cheap ones. Sanding by hand doesn’t work well either, but Greg can’t get electric sanders. The resort has four painters responsible for almost 300 units each.
At lunch, Greg offers Jack some of his food. Greg tells him no one’s had a pay increase in the five years since Diamond Resort, International took over, and they’ve lost a lot of good workers. Greg’s car is bad, but he can’t afford another one on his salary. He puts miles on it for work, and driving back and forth. Also, the other painters were off duty, so he had the whole resort to work.
A fourth stop is made in Scottsdale, AZ, so Jack can work the front desk. Jack works with Amanda, and he notices his picture on the wall at the front desk so he tries to hide his face. Jack notices a lot work at the front desk is done by hand instead of using the computer system. Amanda is pretty efficient at her job, and she embodies the company motto of yes.
At lunch Amanda reveals her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and sometimes can’t afford her medicine. Amanda gives her parents $100 a month for food or whatever they need. Amanda and her love for her mother move Jack. After lunch, Amanda reveals a flaw in the yes motto. The resort had an overbooking, and instead of telling guest no, they were told a maintenance issue prevented them from having a room but sent them elsewhere.
Cloobeck does the reveal at his beach home. With Greg, he upgrades the facemasks and sanders so they can do the job faster. He also gets Greg a meat-of-the-month club, a freezer to store it in, and a new hybrid truck since he puts so many miles on his car for work. He also gives him a $20,000 bonus for his work.
He apologizes to Sarah for being intimidating and stressing her out. He is going to train every employee personally at the call center. He gives her a trip to Hawaii so she knows his resort. He also offers to pay off her tuition debt.
He praises Amanda for her hard work and how she treats the guest. He offers her the opportunity to be the assistant front desk manager in Ireland. He also gives her $50,000 to help with her family. He thanks Randy for having a great attitude and his hard work. He offers to pay off his mortgage plus $50,000 to lighten his burden so he and his wife don’t have to work two jobs anymore.
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(Photo Source: University of Washington)