JC Penney employees: 52 YouTube videos a day?

An internal probe found that workers at the retailer's headquarters spent plenty of time goofing off last year.

By Kim Peterson Feb 25, 2013 1:40PM
Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Caption: Customers enter the JCPenney store in the Manhattan Mall in New York in July 2009J.C. Penney (JCP) employees took goofing off at the office to new heights last year, when internal studies showed they watched 5 million YouTube videos in one month alone.

The 4,800 employees at the headquarters in Plano, Texas, had plenty of time for videos of cute cats, LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and other viral hits in January of 2012. That's the month executives counted up the YouTube views.

That month had about 20 work days. So for 4,800 employees, that works out to about 52 YouTube videos each day while on the clock. In fact, about 35% of the Internet usage at the main office was used for goofing off, The Wall Street Journal reported.

No wonder J.C. Penney's chief operating officer, Michael Kramer, described it to the Journal like this: "I hated the J.C. Penney culture. It was pathetic." CEO Ron Johnson had only been on the job for about two months at that point, and likely had no idea this kind of workplace relaxation was going on.

That kind of YouTube viewing is almost unbelievable. How could anyone get any work done? In fact, you'd almost think people were putting in weekend hours to achieve that level of YouTube activity.

You don't have to be a retail genius to know what happened next: layoffs. Some 1,600 workers have been laid off since then.

Speaking of YouTube, J.C. Penney is getting praised Monday for its "Yours Truly" commercials that aired during Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 25, 2013 4:21PM
If my company ever finds out how many stupid MSN articles I read and comment on, I'm screwed!
Feb 25, 2013 3:38PM
why not just block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook, etc. like most companies do? 
Feb 25, 2013 4:33PM

Congratulations! This article takes the heat off of Ron Johnson's plundering decisions and refocuses the companies woes to corporate employees lack of focus and vision; but hang-on - isn't that the executives job? Please, the real problem with Penney's is Ron Johnson's new direction. It alienates core customers and isn't really bringing in new ones. Let's keep our eye on the REAL problem(s).  

Feb 25, 2013 4:56PM
Very proud of the company for trying to deflect the fact that they are sacking and screwing up the whole company by trying to blame it on the workers themselves.  If you have 30% less business because you totally alienated your customer base and you lose $3.5B in sales in one year, then there is not much work to do, so they might as well be looking at videos!  Again, very proud of the sleezy management for trying to blame the employees for their shortcomings.  Anyone with half a brain can figure out what they are trying to do.  This statement only lends more credibility to the bad image that Ron Johnson is clearly showing!
Feb 25, 2013 4:50PM
JCP  is the worst company in the USA since they hired Rod Johnson.  I don't know why they did that in the first place.  They should have listened to associates in the stores and got rid of him a long long tiime ago,  I worked at the Terre Haute store for 18 years and when Johnson took over everything changed and not for the best but for the worst.  Now there will be a lot more layoffs and store closings because of this idot. 
Feb 25, 2013 4:52PM
So sad about what is happening to JCP.   We do not want the clothes they are trying to sell.  JCP needs to go back to their core.
Feb 25, 2013 4:26PM
No wonder I never get waited on there. 
Feb 25, 2013 4:56PM

Which explains why they're less interested in customer service than they are in stealing as much time as possible. JCPenney needs to do a massive employee dump and overhaul so they can get back to the way they used to be, with updated quality product, not garbage from China. Also I want an upscale shopping experience, and if I wanted the same kind of South American-street-market atmosphere I get in places like Walmart and Burlington Coat factory, then I'll go to those places.


Lastly, what's good for Apple isn't good for JCP. Funny how they managed to stay in business for over one hundred years, through depression, recessions, wars, idiotic clothing trends, before some decided "new blood" was needed. Well the "new blood" of course failed. Penneys never needed that, but they needed to update and keep in line with internet sales. They can still be saved, but if they're smart, not at the expense of their brick and mortar customers.



Feb 25, 2013 5:57PM
Limiting Internet access at the office is simple. Disable Internet access from ALL workstations except those which are placed strategically about the office in plain sight of managers, supervisors, and staff. These workstations would be designated for Internet use for corporate functions only. Employees are not going to take the chance of being seen conducting personal business on these designated workstations. I know, because this is how I solved this problem.
Feb 25, 2013 5:45PM

That is not the only problem at JCPenney,  Since Johnson there is nothing of value to buy in the stores and when you walk into a store it is like a tomb.  Tried to buy sheets and bedspreads this weekend and the store was almost bare.  What it is in the store is shotty merchandise.  I am so sad and disappointed about what has happened to JCPenney.  I use to buy a lot of things at Penney stores but I haven't bought anything in about 1 1/2 years. 


Feb 25, 2013 5:14PM
If people would quit going to J.C. Penney's and quit paying those high prices, they would have to close their doors earlier than planned.  It will be just too bad for people to lose their job because a CEO that is an idiot is just too greedy.
Feb 25, 2013 6:10PM
Seriously? You think the YouTube videos are why employees were laid off? No no no. Let me tell you that I was one of those employees. We were laid off because of the genius that is Ron Johnson. He decided on the new 'pricing' for the company and restructured the entire company getting rid of full time employees only to be replaced by part time workers for less money. People that had been working for this company for 30+ years were laid off. It had nothing to do with so called YouTube viewing. Especially when at least in my store you couldn't even access YouTube! Most websites were blocked.
Feb 25, 2013 5:28PM
Who do these employees report to? I assume some type of manager. They should be held equally accountable (just as to the destruction of the company), rather than using them as a scape goat.
Feb 25, 2013 6:32PM
So, they laid off 1600...but just where did the layoffs occur?  Not at the corporate office, I bet.
Feb 25, 2013 6:22PM

I would do his job for 50% of what they are paying the top Brass and get more results in less time, by CUTTING all the execs pay 30-45% and CUT out ALL bonuses period.


You get a bonus alright,..... At the end of the work week called a pay check!


Put my idea to work and watch, it would work!

Americans in high paying jobs want a bonus, but want to do NOTHING TO GET THEM.

But if the company starts to fail the are the FIRST to THROW the WORKER ON THE FLOOR UNDER THE BUS FIRST!.

Feb 25, 2013 4:59PM

There is no doubt about it.    From marketing, product quality, and public opinion this company is closing shortly.   Maybe Ellen DeGeneres signing the chapter 7 papers will be celebrated on her show.   Ha!

Feb 25, 2013 5:51PM
The idiots I hate are the ones pulling out of tight parking spaces in busy lots while holding a cell phone to their ears.
Feb 25, 2013 5:04PM
If your computer operating system is a windows based systems with out of the box computers it is almost impossible to block external websites. If your system is a "dump station" backbone system then all external content can be blocked.

If I was the CEO I would have cut all employees that was stealing from the company. That is exactly what all those employees are doing when they goof off... stealing.
Feb 25, 2013 6:45PM
Ok, so you complain about employees watching YouTube, and then invite us to view your YouTube ad from the Oscars......
Feb 25, 2013 5:56PM
That how they get such good Youtube commercials, they are experts on Youtube!
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