AS REPORTED IN the June 17 Seattle Times, the local office of NYC-based Internet delivery service Kozmo.com faces possible lawsuits from workers who refused to>"/>
AS REPORTED IN the June 17 Seattle Times, the local office of NYC-based Internet delivery service Kozmo.com faces possible lawsuits from workers who refused to submit to personal background checks. Threatened with possible termination, the balking employees declared the checks an unfair invasion of their privacy. According to management at the much-touted startup (which reported $26.4 million in losses last year), the checks are a necessary security measure before the company can expand from late-night video, CD, and junk food deliveries to more lucrative consumer items— and file for an anticipated $150 million IPO later this year.
However, closer reading of the controversial employee questionnaire reveals Kozmo is interested in more than Big Brother-like snooping into its drivers' and messengers' possible misdemeanors and malefactions, as documented below:
1) You're delivering a rush parcel of Rogaine to the home of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, which owns almost 32 percent of our company. The same shipment contains several X-rated videotapes featuring midgets from the former Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Do you:
A. Smile, avoid eye contact, make the delivery, then continue your route?
B. Cough discreetly and pretend you didn't read the labels?
C. Praise his recent appearance on The Charlie Rose Show?
D. Threaten to make his embarrassing purchases public unless he agrees to invest another $60 million?
2) You're delivering Britney Spears' Oops! . . . I Did it Again CD to the home of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who answers the door and insists the purchase is for his daughter. You can't help noticing that he's wearing leotards and the official bared-midriff concert T-shirt from her last tour, and that her first album is blaring from the living room where the still-huffing CEO has been dancing maniacally by himself. You are also aware that Kozmo is paying Starbucks $150 million to place video return boxes in its stores. Do you:
A. Tap your foot enthusiastically to the music?
B. Hum along quietly to Britney's enchanting melodies?
C. Compare what seats you had at her last show?
D. Quickly snap his photo and suggest that the deal be renegotiated down to the six-figure range?
3) You're delivering a large pizza with extra anchovies to the home of a prominent SEC regulator who will be reviewing Kozmo's planned IPO. He answers the door with bloodshot eyes and drug paraphernalia in the pockets of his open leopard-print bathrobe. Behind him, several underage cheerleaders are cavorting out of uniform. Do you:
A. Comment on the lovely weather outside?
B. Ask him to press more firmly with the ballpoint pen?
C. Whistle and stare at the ceiling while he attempts to pay with wadded-up hundred dollar bills and fistfuls of roofies?
D. Insinuate that Hard Copy need never know about the evening, provided the IPO gains federal approval.
4) You're delivering a toner cartridge to the home of a Fast Company writer whose column could make or break our company. While he finds his wallet, you quickly scan his computer's Inbox and read several damning e-mails indicating he's been allowed to make discounted stock purchases in exchange for favorable coverage of various high-tech companies. Do you:
A. Call Paul Andrews at the Times to report this outrageous violation of journalistic conduct?
B. Call Angela Gunn at Seattle Weekly to ask what "vesting period" means?
C. Call Po Bronson at Wired to see if you can option the scandal as a screenplay?
D. Call your supervisor at Kozmo to offer the writer even more discounted rates on our stock?
5) You're delivering a mouse pad to a U-Dub dormitory where you suspect students are using Napster to illegally download and sell bootleg music. Do you:
A. Give them a stern lecture about copyright law?
B. Report your suspicions to the campus police?
C. Ask if they've got the new matchbox twenty disc?
D. Immediately offer these fine young enterprising students a job—with benefits!—at Kozmo?
6) You're delivering a copy of The Sound of Music to the home of our company's independent auditor from Deloitte & Touche, whose evaluation on our bookkeeping practices will be read by our investment bankers and federal securities regulators. He answers the door dressed as Maria. Do you:
A. Comment on your own love for the music of Rogers and Hammerstein?
B. Compliment his use of eyeliner?
C. Sing a few bars of "My Favorite Things" while he's signing for the order?
D. Grab him by his habit and threaten to blitzkrieg his ass if our secret second set of books is audited?
SCORING (A = 1 point, B = 2 points, C = 3 points, D = 10 points)
0-10: Sorry, try Domino's instead.
11-19: You're honest enough to work in our warehouse.
20-30: You're honest enough to continue delivering frozen pizzas and copies of Next Friday.
50+: What are you doing delivering frozen pizzas and copies of Next Friday? You're honest enough to become the new CEO of Kozmo.com and take it public! Report immediately to company HQ!