An Iowa convenience store owner tried to reward his most clairvoyant employees by awarding $10 to any cashier who correctly guessed which of their coworkers were soon to become an ex-coworker. Ten whole dollars! Enough to buy Doritos and gum for your entire family. Enough to buy ten Mega Lucky Power Lotto Ball tickets.
In a memo sent to employees in March—and reprinted by the Des Moines Register—QC Mart owner William Ernst helpfully explained how the game would work:
New Contest – Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired!!!
To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today's date, today's time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope.
"Here's how the game will work: We are doubling our secret-shopper efforts, and your store will be visited during the day and at night several times a week. Secret shoppers will be looking for cashiers wearing a hat, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a QC Mart shirt, having someone hanging around/behind the counter, and/or a personal car parked by the pumps after 7 p.m., among other things.
"If the name in your envelope has the right answer, you will win $10 CASH. Only one winner per firing unless there are multiple right answers with the exact same name, date, and time. Once we fire the person, we will open all the envelopes, award the prize, and start the contest again.
"And no fair picking Mike Miller from (the Rockingham Road store). He was fired at around 11:30 a.m. today for wearing a hat and talking on his cell phone. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!"
Sucks to be Mike Miller!!!!!!!!!! But it also sucks to work at a low-wage place where your boss encourages workplace cannibalism, so several QC Mart employees quit over the contest. Recently an administrative law judge awarded unemployment benefits to one of the disgusted ex-employees, though not before Ernst challenged the claim. Maybe Ernst's new contest should called "Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Take Me to Court Next!!!" Instead of a $10 prize, the winner gets an interrogation ("career consultation") by Ernst and several hours of free phone wiretapping.