What Compliance shows is how very important it is that "Officer Daniels" targets a fast food chain. Here is where the real degradation can flourish. Calling an office wouldn't work. The hoaxer needs a backstage area, a scuzzy secret place away from the (supposedly) ultra-clean zone where the public are fed. But calling a private restaurant wouldn't work either. The point is that a chain is always conscious of a menacing corporate authority somewhere above them: branch managers, regional managers, people who might only reveal themselves on the phone. Obedience and badly suppressed fear are the order of the day, especially on the unthinkable subject of hurting a customer. The staff take orders; the customers have limited food options. Relinquishing your free will and simply going with the flow is part of the process for all concerned. A fast food joint is a place to lower your guard as well as your standards. So when some brazen authority figure on the phone knocks everyone for a loop with some new situation, just submitting is all too easy. And yet at any time, in any period, when people supposedly in authority tell us what to do – we do it.


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