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The Secret to The Office's Success

I love The Office. It seems like I have worked with every character on the show. And apparently, I'm not alone. Entire blogs have been written about working under a person like Michael Scott and business schools have started incorporating his flaws into the curriculum in order to teach their students how not to be Michael Scott.

That, unfortunately, is the reason everyone seems to love the show. It's something just about every office worker can relate to. Aine Donovan, a professor of business ethics at Dartmouth, even estimates that "ninety percent of the population deals with a Michael Scott in their lives."

But why are there so many Michael Scotts (and David Brents) in this world? Venkatesh Rao of the Ribbon Farm explains it well in his management theory known as The Gervais Principle. The basic concept is this:

Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves.

His theory says that Michael is not actually entirely incompetent; he's just not competent at his current position. But he was still given that job because his passion helps keep the company afloat even as the other employees only do the minimum. (Rao explains how The Gervais Principle differs from The Peters Principle and The Dilbert Principle here.)

What Office-like characters have you worked with?

[Image courtesy of Flickr user Kumar Appaiah.]

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Burger King
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Food
Burger King Taunts McDonald's By Offering Free Whoppers to Scary Clowns on Halloween
Burger King
Burger King

The rise of the scary clown trope, fueled by movies like It and real-life pranksters, has left McDonald’s with a bit of an image problem. The fast food chain took its mascot Ronald out of the spotlight following the clown crisis of 2016, but a new promotion from Burger King proves that suppressing the colorful mascot won’t be so easy. As Food & Wine reports, Burger King is offering free Whoppers to customers who come in dressed as scary clowns on Halloween night, an apparent jab at its competitor.

On October 31, from 7 p.m. to closing time, select Burger King locations in Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles will hand out free burgers to the first 500 guests who fit the spooky description.

A video advertising the stunt shows a diverse group of creepy clowns, but their ringleader—a familiar-looking red-headed clown dressed in red and yellow—makes it clear that the trolling is intentional.

This isn’t the first time Burger King has used Halloween as an opportunity to poke fun at the golden arches. Last year, a Burger King restaurant in Queens, New York “dressed up” as the ghost of McDonald’s. Customers interested in helping the chain with its latest prank better start planning their costumes now.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG
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crime
German Police Tried to Fine Someone $1000 for Farting at Them
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG

In Berlin, passing gas can cost you. Quite a lot, actually, in the case of a man accused of disrespecting police officers by releasing a pair of noxious farts while being detained by the police. As CityLab reports, Berlin’s police force has recently been rocked by a scandal hinging on the two farts of one man who was asked to show his ID to police officers while partying on an evening in February 2016.

The man in question was accused of disrespecting the officers involved by aiming his flatulence at a policewoman, and was eventually slapped with a fine of 900 euros ($1066) in what local media called the "Irrer-Pups Prozess," or "Crazy Toot Trial." The errant farter was compelled to show up for court in September after refusing to pay the fine. A judge dismissed the case in less than 10 minutes.

But the smelly situation sparked a political scandal over the police resources wasted over the non-crime. It involved 18 months, 23 public officials, and 17 hours of official time—on the taxpayers’ dime. Officials estimate that those two minor toots cost taxpayers more than $100, which is chump change in terms of city budgets, but could have been used to deal with more pressing criminal issues.

[h/t CityLab]

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