HANZHONG, SHAANXI - A home furnishing store in China has introduced a bizarre punishment for its underperforming employees - making them eat live yellow mealworms.
That's not all - they have to eat the worms in public too, reported People's Daily Online.
At around 6.30pm last Tuesday (Nov 8), around 50 people wearing store uniforms gathered in a square in downtown Hanzhong, Shaanxi province. A man then arrived with two bags.
One bag contained chopsticks, cups and two bottles of liquor. The other contained live yellow mealworms.
After reading out the names of underperforming employees, the man poured some liquor into each cup, added a worm, then asked the employees to drink up. Five or six people followed the man's instructions and drank the contents in the cup.
According to a store employee, workers are required every morning to report their work target to the supervisor, and those who fail to achieve their targets are punished the next day.
"Today's punishment is eating worms they bought from a pet market. Four worms for losing one customer," explained another employee.
On Nov 10, a local newspaper reporter spoke to the man in charge whose surname is Cao.
"We set sales targets for the next day and everyone signs a guarantee. If anyone fails to achieve the target, he or she will accept the punishment voluntarily," Mr Cao said. "The targets are set by employees, with the purpose of self-motivation."
However, some observers thought differently. They said the company ought to respect its employees instead of demeaning them.
Mr Zhao Xiaodong, a local lawyer, pointed out that forcing employees to eat live worms infringes upon the employees' rights and gives them just cause to report the violation to labour inspection departments.