Best Buy Employee Insults Apple and Customers


The Story

Brian Maupin, a Best Buy employee, was reprimanded after posting videos about the company on YouTube.  His first cartoon video, which has amassed over 4.7 million views, mocked a customer of "Phone Mart," desperate for the latest version of the iPhone.  Apparently, Best Buy planned to fire Maupin, but management changed its mind after the media attention. 

Best Buy ee situation image - YouTube video 
Read more about the situation here on TechCrunch.
Watch the first video here (warning: very rude and lots of cursing, so you may want to skip this one) and the interaction with the corporate executive here.

Discussion Starters

  • Was Maupin's behavior ethical? Was Best Buy right to suspend him? Should the company have fired him?
  • If Maupin was frustrated by Best Buy's sales policies (which he addressed in another video that was removed), how could he have handled the situation differently? What internal channels may have been more appropriate for him?
  • If you were the CEO of Best Buy or another company, how could you deter employees from going public with negative information?  Think about communication and management practices as well as internal, online media that may prevent a situation like this.

Assignment Ideas

  • Imagine you're Brian Maupin's manager at Best Buy.  If you had a chance to speak with him about the situation, what would you say?  What questions would you ask him to learn more about his mindset?  Role play the scenario with a classmate.
  • Search online for a company's social media policy.  You'll find several here.  Write a memo to the chief ethics officer with your analysis of the policy.  What works well in communicating guidelines to employees, and what could be improved? 
  • Write a statement on behalf of Best Buy in response to the situation.  What would you say in a news release to give your perspective of the videos and repair the company's reputation?