I run the first Chick-fil-A to offer a 3-day workweek. We received 400 job applications for a single job despite the 14-hour shifts.

Chick-fil-A Kendall local operator Justin Lindsey (left) and staff members (right).
Chick-fil-A Kendall local operator Justin Lindsey (left) and staff members (right).

  • 41-year-old Justin Lindsey is the local operator of Chick-fil-A Kendall in Florida. 
  • He designed a schedule that allows employees to work consistent, full-time hours in three days.
  • He says the program has improved employee work-life balance, burnout, career growth, and retention. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Justin Lindsey, the owner-operator of Chick-fil-A Kendall in Miami-Dade County, Florida. His words have been edited for length and clarity.

One of the things I really set out to do when we opened this restaurant in June of 2021 was what I called “leading with generosity.” 

For me, that has two main parts: One is pay, making sure we paid a really competitive wage. And the second is time, to provide my teams with more of a balanced approach to the job. 

Traditionally, we had used the term “the gift of time” to refer to serving our guests in a quick and timely fashion. But we had always left employees out of that equation. My idea was to provide staff with this gift of time by creating a scheduling system where they would know exactly what days they worked for as long as they work here. 

From one week to the next, employees’ days off changed pretty dramatically, so I set out on a mission to see if I could create a more consistent schedule. What came out of it was the existing three-day workweek that we use now.

Now employees can look at the calendar six months in advance and know these are the three days that they work on any given week. Traditionally, at least at Chick-fil-A, that was never a possibility before. 

I split the team into two “pods” that rotate between three-day blocks of 13- to 14-hour shifts

Chick-fil-A restaurant
Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sundays.

Even before the restaurant actually opened, I started mapping out a couple different things: one, how can I take the guesswork out of their schedules? And then tied to that was from a business side, how do we get more consistent?

Normally at Chick-fil-A, it’s a revolving door all day long. Somebody comes in and opens and then they leave at one or two o’clock in the afternoon, and then a whole new group comes in and closes up. Employees didn’t like the schedule because they never really knew what day they were going to have off, and we didn’t like it either from a business perspective.

So I started playing with the numbers and thinking, “what would it look like to combine some of these shifts?” Instead of doing 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., what would it look like to do like 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. as an example, and have somebody who’s there for multiple days, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? 

Then I started looking at what would happen if we took our team leaders and cut the team in half, splitting the team into what’s known as the two “pods.” 

I realized I couldn’t schedule those really long shifts and do a normal five-day workweek. That’s why I created three-day segments, where they’d be working with the same group of people day in and day out. This would also allow them to get really comfortable and good at working with one another.

We officially started the pod program in February. It’s primarily for full-time staff who work 40-hours a week, split between three days. As of today, we have 25 team members and 18 team leaders doing it and it continues to grow.

I incorporated feedback from managers into the program’s design

When we first announced the idea of the 3-day workweek, some managers were under the impression that they would have to be on-call during the days they weren’t working. They asked me, “do I need to be available if we’re short somebody or something like that?” I told them absolutely not. If you’re off, do whatever it is that you want to do. It’s your time, your time doesn’t belong to me.

The other initial feedback was, how are we going to communicate between the two groups if they don’t interact with one another? One of the cool things that we worked through was creating this communication script that we use every week for every pod. 

The employees go through and list out every single thing that occurred during the last three days they were in the restaurant — everything from broken equipment to attendance issues. So when the second pod shows up, they can read this mini rundown newsletter of exactly what’s been going on in the restaurant. 

That came about because of questions from managers before we implemented the pod system. It was really good feedback. It makes them be very intentional about communicating and from what we’ve seen, it’s worked really well.

We received 429 job applications for the program in one week

Chick-fil-A Kendall staff.
Chick-fil-A Kendall staff now only have to work two Saturdays a month.

We posted a job for a full-time team member on the three-day workweek, and in a period of a week, we had 429 applications. We conducted 40 interviews in one day. It just shows there’s people who really want to work in this industry.

Retention has also been strong. What I don’t see — in terms of the way we measure retention at the restaurant level — is what I’ve previously seen during my 12 years serving as the Chick-fil-A owner-operator. It had always become a struggle if another restaurant or another business opened around us and they were paying a little bit more than we would, we’d occasionally see people leave. Now we don’t experience that. 

There’s been people that we’ve had to remove from the program. The three-day workweek, in a lot of ways, exposes the really good and the really bad and in terms of performance, because you’re there for such a long period of the day.

It’s also allowed us to uncover up-and-coming talent that otherwise could have slipped through the cracks. Before we did this system, you just had so many managers coming and going throughout the day that it was kind of hard to gauge talent and really develop talent. 

What we’ve found with this system in particular is we’ve been able to really spot talent a lot faster than we previously could and be a little bit more agile, move a little bit quicker, and promote people faster. 

I think that’s so powerful because when you look at retention and you look at why people have traditionally left, based just from my experience, a lack of career growth and development was a big reason why. 

This system opened up that growth. On the other side, it also exposes when somebody is struggling and allows us to put them back through that development process that we have. 

One of the biggest strengths of the program itself is when I look in the dining room and I see three or four tables with my leaders out there doing development meetings. I see that almost on a day-to-day basis when I come in and I never saw that before. Because the truth was, they just didn’t have time to do it with how the traditional schedule was structured. 

Staff say the schedule has improved their life outside of work — from graduating college to traveling

Chick-fil-A Kendall staff

I always say the three-day workweek doesn’t work for everyone, but for those that it does, it’s really powerful to see the impact that it has on their lives.

Recently, I was talking to one of our managers who just graduated from the University of Central Florida. Now she’s going to be pursuing a master’s degree. She just poured her heart out and told me point blank that there’s no way she would have been able to graduate if she was working the traditional five-day schedule. 

That opened my eyes to thinking “wow, what if we had not done this? Would she actually still be one of my key managers?” She’s a core part of our management team and I know how important school is to her and for her future, so when I hear things like that, I’m like, okay, this is pretty powerful stuff. 

Another employee told me they took a road trip on their seven days off to go to New York City because they wanted to see the leaves change. She literally used zero hours of PTO and she took a road trip to New York City. 

Our team, they love this industry, they love Chick-fil-A, and they love doing their jobs. They just wanted some things to change, and they just wanted some options. I think that’s all we did — just met them where they’re at and said, hey, this may not work for all of you. But if you want this, it’s out there for you. We can make it work. 

It probably would have been a whole lot easier on myself, especially as a restaurant owner, to just keep doing things the old way. It definitely would have been a lot easier, a lot less conversations, a lot less planning, and things like that. But I’m so incredibly happy and grateful that Chick-fil-A has given me the opportunity to do this. Because the impact that I’m able to have on my team, honestly, I mean, it’s incredible. 

Will this work for everybody? I don’t know. All I know is our team is happy, they’re motivated, they’re energized, and they’re eager to serve people. Hopefully other people see that and try it out and maybe it helps other people as well.

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Wine and liquor prices are increasing just in time for the holidays

liquor bottles
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images

  • Wine and liquor is more expensive now than a year ago. 
  • The reason, like so many other recent retail price hikes, is the ongoing supply chain crisis.
  • “Get your spirits while you can because prices are going to have to go up,” one industry insider told the LA Times.

Wine and liquor prices are rising, and they’re likely to increase as the holiday season continues.

That’s according to the US Labor Department, which released data last week that showed a 1% year-over-year increase in the cost of alcoholic beverages in the United States. 

Worse: Distillers say that the prices are going to continue going up over time as a result on the ongoing supply chain crisis. Like so many other consumer goods, the prices of liquor and wine are expected to rise as supply chain issues continue to ripple throughout the economy increasing costs for everything from shipping to bottling to raw materials.

“Get your spirits while you can because prices are going to have to go up,” California Artisanal Distillers Guild VP Ryan Friesen told the Los Angeles Times.

Thus far, producers have absorbed as much of the cost differences as possible rather than passing those increases to consumers — but that’s not sustainable in the long run, according to Friesen, who is also the head distiller at Blinking Owl, a distillery that makes vodka, gin, whiskey and aquavit.

“If we’re absorbing…an extra 100% increase in our freight costs, for example, we can’t take that hit forever,” he told the LA Times.

Those increasing costs are at least partially due to the ongoing supply chain crisis that was sparked by the pandemic, and it has impacted every component of the international supply chain. Ships carrying goods are backed up at ports, resulting in shortages of various items, which causes price increases. 

Everything from basic commodities, like alcohol, to larger ticket items, like furniture, have been impacted, and price increases are just one symptom of a global issue that isn’t expected to resolve anytime soon — estimates put 2023 as the earliest possible time for a resolution.

In the meantime, you may want to stock up on your favorite booze before the price goes up.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Retail pharmacists say they are overworked and burned out due to short-staffing and the increased demand for COVID-19 shots

covid vaccine empty pharmacy
An empty vaccine waiting area at a Walgreens in Miami Beach, Florida.

  • Six current and former pharmacists told Insider about their experiences during the pandemic.
  • Pharmacists described feeling stretched thin distributing medications and COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid say they are recruiting more workers to meet increased demand. 

In August 2021, Bled Tanoe was working as pharmacy manager in an Oklahoma Walgreens when she saw morale was flagging among her staff. She told them she would bring in pizza to perk the team up, when she realized a free pizza was nowhere near what she would need to fix the situation for her overworked staff.

“The state of pharmacies right now is beyond gift cards, jeans, or free pizza,” she told Insider, referencing some of the things companies have offered to pharmacists this year. That day, she went home and posted her reflections under the hashtag “pizzaisnotworking.” When she woke up the next morning, she was shocked to see it had been reposted over 500 times by other pharmacists sharing their own experiences. 

“I was grateful for the support, but very sad that so many people in the industry felt this way,” she told Insider. 

Insider spoke to 6 current and former pharmacists at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Clinicians said they experienced burnout from high workloads and did not receive adequate support from the pharmacies to handle increased workload from COVID-19 vaccines.

Walgreens locations in Idaho recently shortened pharmacy hours due to lack of staff. Pharmacy patients said they experienced longer wait times at CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart locations in Indiana, Colorado, Kentucky, and Connecticut, according to local news reports.

The problem worsened as more people became eligible for COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Food and Drug Administration authorized a Pfizer jab for kids aged 5 to 11 last month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended all adults get a booster shot once eligible. 

“We are endlessly proud of Rite Aid pharmacists and pharmacy techs, as well as their peers at retail pharmacies across the country, for their integral role in the battle against COVID-19,” Rite Aid Chief Pharmacy Officer Jocelyn Konrad told Insider in a statement, noting that the company is “aggressively recruiting” new hires. 

A Walgreens representative recently told Insider the company was recruiting pharmacists in the fall to support demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and flu shots. The company raised its minimum wage for hourly workers to $15 this August, and offered technicians who become certified to administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines a $1,000 reward. 

CVS told Insider the firm is in the process of onboarding 20,000 new retail employees, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The retail chain has also “begun the process of” adding pre-scheduled, daily break times.

Tanoe told Insider that the intense working conditions left her feeling like she might cause harm without having adequate time to do everything a pharmacist is supposed to do, like review all of a patient’s medications and check allergies before distributing a prescription.

Several other workers, who asked to remain anonymous, echoed Tanoe’s sentiments.

“We are expected to fill hundreds of medications per day, with less and less support staff, and more workload,” a former CVS pharmacist in Connecticut told Insider. “COVID has exacerbated this already inhumane situation.”

Another former CVS pharmacist in New York said she left in the fall due in part to fatigue and stress from the job. (Insider verified employment records of the pharmacists who asked to remain anonymous to protect their identities.)

At the start of the pandemic, the pharmacist said she had been the busiest in her entire career. But customers expressed gratitude for pharmacists working during the early months that made her job enjoyable. 

The pharmacist said she worked extra hours and still fell behind on filling prescriptions — and that was before the FDA authorized vaccines. After people began coming in for vaccinations, pharmacists struggled being the only clinicians who needed to check every prescription and administer vaccines. 

CVS told Insider thousands of stores operate vaccine clinics with a separate team of pharmacists who do not fill prescriptions or counsel patients.

Still, the pharmacist recalled some patients who grew agitated as stores got busier, including some people who ripped syringes out of her hands to “check it” due to misinformation-induced fear of microchips or other non-vaccine ingredients. 

“You could either focus on filling people’s prescriptions or you can focus on doing vaccines, but there was literally no way that you could do both,” the pharmacist told Insider. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kroger is no longer offering paid emergency leave to unvaccinated workers who catch COVID-19

The Kroger logo is seen at one of its stores in Athens, Ohio.

  • Kroger will stop some paid emergency leave for unvaccinated workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • It said in a memo those workers will no longer get two weeks paid leave if infected with COVID-19.
  • It is also adding a $50-per-month charge to some unvaccinated employees’ health plans, the report said.

The grocery chain Kroger will no longer offer paid emergency leave to unvaccinated workers who get infected with COVID-19, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a memo to employees sent last week.

The policy comes into effect on January 1, 2022, The Journal reported.

The Journal reported that the rule change will apply “unless local jurisdictions require otherwise.”

The company is also adding a $50-per-month charge to the health plans of managers who aren’t vaccinated and of non-union employees, the memo said, according to The Journal.

Kroger earlier this year paid employees $100 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and let employees who can’t get vaccinated do a health-and-safety course to get the payment. It also gave prizes to people who got vaccinated its stores.

The new policy comes amid a push by President Joe Biden’s administration for companies to ensure their employees are vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Biden wants to enforce vaccination for federal government employees and employees at companies with more than 100 workers from January 4. Employees would also be able to get regularly tested instead.

But his plans face a series of legal challenges, and pushback from Republicans.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber Eats makes its first-ever delivery to space – Japanese billionaire delivers canned beef and boiled mackerel to the International Space Station

Yusaku Maezawa with an ISS astronaut and an Uber Eats delivery
Yusaku Maezawa in the ISS pictured next to an astronaut and an Uber Eats delivery.

  • Uber Eats made its first delivery in space and became the first delivery service to send food to the ISS.
  • Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa gave ISS astronauts Uber Eats deliveries, such as canned beef.
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Maezawa did well, even though it took longer than 30 minutes to arrive.

Uber Eats completed its first delivery in space after Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa handed out food to astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS).

Maezawa, who previously bought tickets on a SpaceX rocket, blasted into space on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a 12-day trip to the ISS.

After his nearly nine-hour rocket ride to the ISS, Maezawa on Saturday hand-delivered Japanese food via Uber Eats to astronauts currently stationed there, the company said in an emailed statement to Insider.

It’s now the first food delivery service to send food to the ISS, the company claimed in the statement.

The canned food, which was ready-to-eat, included a beef bowl cooked in a sweet sauce, boiled mackerel in miso, chicken with bamboo shoots, and braised pork, Uber Eats said.

Canned food delivered by Uber Eats
Canned food for astronauts, delivered by Uber Eats.

“One small handoff for Yusaku Maezawa, one giant delivery for Uber Eats!” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in the statement. “Maezawa gets a thumbs up on this delivery, even though it took a bit longer than the usual 30 minutes to arrive.” 

Maezawa told the Associated Press on Monday that reports on him spending $80 million on his trip were “pretty much” accurate.

Before he flew to the ISS, the fashion tycoon said on Twitter that he will give away money from space

Maezawa made headlines in 2018 when he bought all the seats on SpaceX’s first tourist flight around the moon scheduled for 2023.

He is currently worth $3.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Starbucks closes 2 stores and launches a full inspection of all 5,400 outlets in China after a report that staff used out-of-date produce

A staff member serves a customer at a Starbucks Coffee house in Beijing
A staff member serves a customer at a Starbucks Coffee house in Beijing

  • Starbucks is inspecting all 5,400 China stores after staff in two outlets reportedly used expired food.
  • Beijing News’ undercover report said staff used expired matcha liquid and sold old pastries, per Reuters.
  • Starbucks apologized in a Weibo post, saying it has closed the two stores being investigated.

Starbucks said on Monday that it has launched a full inspection into all 5,400 stores in China after a state-backed newspaper said that staff in two of its outlets had used expired ingredients.

Beijing News said on Monday it had carried out an undercover investigation at two Starbucks stores in Wuxi City in eastern China and found that staff were using out-of-date ingredients, Reuters reported.

A server at one of the Starbucks stores used expired matcha liquid to make lattes, according to the report.

At the other store, old pastries, which were supposed to be thrown away, were put on display for sale, the report said.

Starbucks apologized for the incidents in a Weibo post, and said that it has closed the two stores for investigation, according to the newswire. 

The company reportedly confirmed in the post that employees in the two stores in Wuxi violated operating regulations.

“We sincerely apologise to all of Starbucks’ customers,” the company said in a statement on its Weibo account, per Reuters. Starbucks added in its apology that the company had not paid enough attention to food safety standards.

Reuters reported that Wuxi’s Market Supervision Administration said in a statement on Monday that following its investigations into the two stores, it had also inspected all of Starbucks’ 82 stores in the city.

Across these stores, the agency discovered 15 problems, including unfinished disinfection records and staff not wearing their work hats, per Reuters.

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A special edition Tiffany Blue Patek Philippe Nautilus just sold at auction for $6.5 million

Phillips auctioneer selling a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 with Tiffany Blue dial
  • A Patek Philippe Nautilus watch with a Tiffany Blue face sold at auction on Saturday for $6.5 million.
  • The timepiece was one of 170 made by Patek in honor of its 170-year relationship with Tiffany & Co.
  • All of the auction proceeds will go to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit.

A Patek Philippe Nautilus steel sport watch with a Tiffany Blue face was sold at auction for a staggering $6.5 million on Saturday.

The watch was the first to be sold from a limited set of 170 unveiled on the Monday before, when Patek announced an encore for its extremely popular Ref. 5711 line.

Bidding opened at $20,000 and instantly rocketed up to $50,000 — close to the watch’s retail price of $52,635.

Soon, the price was ratcheting up by $500,000 increments until it hit $4 million, after which it increased by $100,000 per nod, then $50,000.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711 in Tiffany Blue

Just as auctioneer Aurel Bacs was about to close the deal, two online bidders jumped in to push the price to $5.25 million, then $5.3 million. Auction premiums tacked another $1.2 million onto that figure.

By the time the hammer fell, the watch website Hodinkee calculated the bidding had lasted exactly 14 minutes and 39 seconds.

The final $6.5 million price made the Patek the most expensive Nautilus ever sold — and the eighth-most expensive watch ever auctioned. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit.

Even with its soaring prices, the Phillips auction was probably the closest shot that the average person would get at buying this watch new.

Now, only 169 remain, and all of those will be sold through Tiffany & Co. boutiques in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, presumably to the preferred clients at those stores.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711 in Tiffany Blue

There is a chance that a few of these 5711’s will find their way to the secondary market, but they will likely list for several multiples of their retail price. Even traditional Nautilus 5711s, which retailed for around $30,000, easily command six figures at resale.

The iconic sport watch has gotten so popular that Patek’s President Thierry Stern felt it was detracting from the company’s other models.

“I have still no idea why suddenly, the success [of this watch] came so fast and went so high,” Stern told CNBC . “But what I know is that I do not want to be a mono-product company. So this is why I stopped the 5711. We made enough of it.”

Although the specific 5711 variant is ending with the Tiffany edition, the Nautilus line will continue, and Stern hinted in February that the follow-up would be “major” and follow a “logical” progression.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon workers trapped during deadly tornado had just minutes of warning before roof collapsed, company says

The collapsed roof of an distribution centre after tornadoes
The site of a roof collapse at an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois a day after a series of tornadoes dealt a blow to several U.S. states.

  • Amazon workers had minutes of warning before a tornado ripped through the warehouse, the company said.
  • The Illinois facility got tornado warnings Friday between 8:06 p.m. and 8:16 p.m. At 8:27 p.m., the tornado struck.
  • Six workers were confirmed dead after the collapse, local police had announced.

The Amazon employees who were working at an Illinois warehouse when a deadly tornado tore through the facility had just minutes of warning before the roof of the building collapsed, the e-commerce giant said Monday. 

The company said that the Amazon delivery station in the city of Edwardsville received tornado warnings between 8:06 p.m. and 8:16 p.m. on Friday and site leaders directed workers inside to “immediately take shelter.”

Minutes later, at 8:27 p.m., the devastating tornado roared through the 1.1 million-square-foot facility, causing the roof to collapse, Amazon said. 

Six workers were confirmed dead after the collapse, local police had announced. 

According to Amazon, the tornado appeared to have formed in the parking lot of the facility, ripped through the warehouse, and then disappeared in an “incredibly fast” amount of time. 

Management at the warehouse worked to get employees inside into a tornado shelter at the site and the “majority” of workers did take shelter there, the company said. 

“There was a small group who took shelter in a part of the building that was then directly impacted by the tornado, and this is where most of the tragic loss of life occurred,” Amazon said.

The victims were identified as Austin J. McEwen, 26; Deandre S. Morrow, 28; Kevin D. Dickey, 62; Clayton Lynn Cope, 29; Etheria S. Hebb, 24; and 46-year-old Larry E. Virden. 

Forty-five people made it out of the wreckage safely, officials have said. 

“My heart is broken,” Emily Epperson, 23, a driver at the Edwardsville warehouse and friend of McEwen, who was also a driver, told Insider on Monday. “I’m a little at a loss for words.”

Epperson had planned to pick up an extra shift on Friday, but “at the last moment” did not, sparing herself from the disaster. 

“In Illinois, we have these tornadoes and these random storms all of the time, so I don’t think anyone really could have imagined the severity of it,” she said. “I think it was just such a regular day to everyone that no one even thought twice until the tornado sirens went off.”

Epperson said that she heard from other co-workers who were at the warehouse that night that when the tornado sirens went off “everyone was told to go to a storm shelter that we have there.”

“Some people chose to go home and some people chose to go to the shelter,” she said. “I’m sure there were some people that didn’t make it or didn’t know what to do.”

One of Epperson’s co-workers told her that he “witnessed the roof being peeled off of the building and we believe that’s what caused one of the walls to collapse initially.”

Epperson said she went to the Amazon warehouse the next day when her pal, McEwen, had been missing for about 13 hours. 

“Everything was in ruins,” Epperson said, adding that she learned from McEwen’s best friend while she was at the site that McEwen was among the dead. 

Speaking of McEwen, Epperson said, “He would light up any room that he walked into and he was the most down to earth person you would ever meet.”

“He was a very good friend, co-worker and person in general,” she said. 

In a statement to Insider, an Amazon spokesperson said, “We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the tornado. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene. We’re continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area,” the company said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

An Amazon driver died while sheltering in the warehouse bathroom when a tornado hit, his colleague said

The collapsed roof of an distribution centre after tornadoes
The site of partially collapsed Amazon distribution center after a tornado in Edwardsville, Illinois.

  • Austin J. McEwen is among the six people killed after a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.
  • Brian Erdmann told Reuters that McEwen was sheltering in the bathroom when it happened.
  • Erdmann said he likely only survived because he was out making a delivery.

An Amazon driver died while sheltering in the warehouse bathroom as a tornado hit Illinois, his colleague told Reuters.

Austin J. McEwen, 26, was one of at least six Amazon employees who died after a wall and a roof collapsed on Friday night, trapping workers inside.

“He was my friend and he didn’t make it,” Brian Erdmann said of McEwen in an interview with Reuters.

Erdmann said he was on his way to the warehouse to make a delivery when the tornado hit, so he was not harmed.

“If I would have got back 45 minutes earlier, I probably would have been at the same place. I would have been right there with him,” he said.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Amazon staff have complained about the company’s cellphone ban when speaking to Bloomberg after the disaster.

Multiple tornadoes hit Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Kentucky has been the most impacted. Gov. Andy Beshear said on Sunday that at least 80 people were killed, and the death toll could exceed 100.

He then said, according to the BBC: “We’re still hoping as we move forward for some miracles to find more people.”

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A new Peloton commercial references ‘And Just Like That’ days after a classic ‘Sex and the City’ character died while using one

Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker seen on the set of "And Just Like That..." the follow up series to "Sex and the City" in Downtown Manhattan on September 20, 2021 in New York City.
“And Just Like That” sees Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis reprise their roles alongside Sarah Jessica Parker.

  • Actor Chris Noth appeared in a Peloton ad after his “And Just Like That” character died.
  • The ad also featured Ryan Reynolds and Peloton instructor Jess King, who was featured on the show.
  • The company has been dealing with image issues after its shares slid following the episode’s debut.

Peloton took a creative route with damage control, releasing an ad seemingly directed as a response to the portrayal of the company’s popular exercise bike in HBO Max’s “And Just Like That.” 

The company tweeted a cheeky new ad on Sunday featuring actors Chris Noth and Ryan Reynolds, which was produced by Reynolds’ marketing company Maximum Effort in less than 48 hours, a Peleton spokesperson told Insider on Sunday.

“We filmed a spot with actor Chris Noth and Peloton instructor Jess King, with a voiceover by Reynolds,” the spokesperson said in an email. “In the spot, we reinforce the narrative that Peloton and cardiovascular exercise are good for you, and help millions of real people lead long, happy and healthy lives.”

Mr. Big, Noth’s character in the show, was suddenly killed off 39 minutes into the first episode of the “Sex and the City” spinoff series, a controversial move that left fans of the franchise shocked. The cause of death: a heart attack brought on after a workout on a Peloton bike.

After the release of the episode, Peloton saw its share price drop from $46.14 a share to $38.51 by close on Friday, according to NBC News. Peloton’s shares have continued to fall as the economy continues to reopen and people return to gyms, with the company making its biggest one-day drop ever earlier this month.

The ad features Noth reclined on a sofa in a holiday-decorated apartment alongside Peloton instructor Jess King, who was also featured in “And Just Like That,” playing a fictional Peloton instructor, Allegra, whose class Noth’s Mr. Big takes before his untimely demise.

“To new beginnings,” King tells Noth in the ad. “You look great.”

“I feel great. Should we take another ride?” Noth responds, gesturing toward a pair of Peloton bikes behind them. “Life’s too short not to.”

“And just like that, the world was reminded that regular cycling improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases,” actor Ryan Reynolds says in a voiceover, listing the benefits of exercise.

Reynolds tweeted the video Saturday afternoon, with a caption reading: “Unspoiler alert. @OnePeloton”

Ryan Reynolds is no stranger to satirical advertising, especially with Peloton. In 2019, Reynolds released an advertisement for his gin label Aviation Gin, poking fun at a widely-criticized Peloton holiday ad about a husband gifting his wife a Peloton bike. The Aviation Gin ad featured the “Peloton girl” actress sipping on Aviation Gin, echoing a familiar phrase — “to new beginnings.”

Peloton had worked with HBO Max prior to the series’ debut to supply the bike and book King’s appearance on the show, unaware that its product would be used as a prop that would kill Noth’s character.

In an earlier response from Peloton, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist and member of Peloton’s Health & Wellness Advisory Council, said that Big riding his Peloton bike “may have even helped delay his cardiac event,” urging others to adopt a “healthy prevention strategy” to avoid cardiac conditions of their own.

Watch the ad below:


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