Did you see the recent story on Marriott in Business Week? It talks of the job Marriott does managing its $7 an hour workers. I got to this part and couldn’t help circling it:

“Every day I put on this uniform, just like an NBA player,” proudly proclaims Thong Lee, a bartender who has worked 16 years at the Seattle Marriott. Lee has never forgotten that his boss, Sandy Olson, shut down the hotel laundry where he used to work for a day so the entire staff could attend his mother’s funeral. The gesture earned Lee’s loyalty for life — though the stock options the company offers all employees haven’t hurt, either. Lee, who learned all the English he knows from Marriott, now owns several rental properties funded by his Marriott stock and pay.

Think about THAT the next time you can’t get your tux pressed at the Marriott.

Seriously, it’s a great plug for Marriott, for enlightened capitalism, for the U.S. of A. and, not incidentally, for the power of “uniforms,” which I’d like to see more schools adopt.

I know that when I stick on a jacket and tie, my sense of seriousness and self worth change instantly. I’m not describing it very well, but I think you know the feeling.

And I was fascinated to learn, years ago, in working with a chimpanzee on an industrial film, that chimps just know that when they’re in clothes (my particular chimp was dressed like an investment banker, but it can be any clothes, no matter how dopey) they’re working and better not screw around (or they’ll get knocked, hard, on the noggin). When the workday’s over, the clothes come off and they can play all they want.

Tomorrow: Charity on the Cutting Room Floor


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