ah.... fairy tales
Have just figured out – Undercover Boss = Cinderella! No wonder I’m such a sucker for this show.
Disguised as a lowly worker whose real worth is hidden by strange facial hair or harsh makeup and fake nails, UB toils at various jobs within the company for several days. The hotter and grungier (cleaning port-a-potties, landscaping, snaking drains), the better. During these trials, UB sufferers humiliation, makes friends, and occasionally is horrified by the people who work for the company. Always, he or she comes to appreciate the effort required to do these frontline jobs every day, and the sacrifices workers are making for their families. (To drive home this point, the show's producers are sure to have lined up people with whom the boss can empathize.)
At the end, UB gets a reverse makeover and is “revealed” to coworkers in some palatial office or ranch or winery or estate, where cash prizes and favors are bestowed on the employees who helped during the previous week. Like Cinderella’s stepsisters, disloyal, rude, or incompetent workers are offered a path to improvement. Implicit is the threat that if they don’t shape up, they will be shown the door of the palace.
And everyone lives happily ever after under UB’s newly empathetic management.