Two US Domino's pizza employees who filmed themselves performing a gross-out food prank have been fired, but not before the clammy hand of Web 2.0 ensured their larks would live in infamy.
The salami-slaves' handiwork, uploaded to YouTube and viewed a million times before its removal, was quickly spluttered all over the internet, resulting in rather embarrassing Google results for Domino's, the New York Times gravely reports. Five of the 12 top results on the first page of Google contained some reference to it, while Twitter fairly lit up with eager discussion of the caper (Caper! Like on a pizza! Ha! Yes!) and succeeded in drawing attention to its boring, self-important self as usual.
The pair of geniuses, 31-year-old Kristy Hammonds and 32-year-old Michael Setzer, were working at a Domino's franchise in Conover, North Carolina, when they decided to liven up their day with a little health-regulation horseplay. Hammonds, helpfully clad in a Domino's hat and explaining "That's how we roll at Domino's," wielded the camera in the kitchen as Setzer put cheese up his nose, sneezed copiously over sandwiches and performed other bodily-emission-based, ingredient-befouling acts we blanche to describe. They were quickly identified after the video went internet-batshit, as these things will.
Domino's went quickly into damage-control mode, inevitably firing the employees and producing its own video of apology and reassurance, as well as succumbing to the inevitable and delving into Twitter. However, the palliative words of chief executive Michael Doyle could only flutter against the mighty opinion-forming fist of the internet - the research firm YouGov found that consumer perception of the brand had gone from positive to negative in days. (Personally we don't give a stuff as long as they keep bringing us that awesome garlic dippy sauce that gives the crust a whole new lease of life.)
Setzer and Hammonds insisted the besmirched comestibles were never delivered to the public, but they were nevertheless charged with "delivering prohibited foods", and the branch was closed for decontamination. Hammonds sent a hand-wringing email explaining “It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!!... I AM SOO SORRY!” - but no amount of judicious use of exclamation marks and caps lock could convince a now squicked-out public.
The video was removed from YouTube after Hammonds, amusingly, filed a copyright claim. But naturellement, El Reg has located the footage for your viewing pleasure (thanks be to LiveLeak).
Domino's is now planning to file suit against their former employees, according to spokesman Tim McIntyre, who shrugged to the NYT: “We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea... What we missed was the perpetual mushroom effect of viral sensations." We presume he intended no pun. ®
Nul points for originality - West Midlands Subway sarnie-stuffer and champion pillock Richard Shannon pioneered this kind of hilarity earlier this year, although lettuce was his chosen victim.