Tonight on CBS their Emmy award winning reality show, Undercover Boss continues with an all new back to back Wednesday, December 21, 2016 season 8 premiere episode 1 & 2 called “Build-A-Bear – Mayor of Gary, Indiana,” and we have your weekly Undercover Boss recap below. On tonight’s episode as per the CBS synopsis, “Season 8 begins with Sharon Price John, the president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, going undercover to meet the workers who keep her company stitched together. Karen Freeman-Wilson, the mayor of Gary, Indiana, works undercover in her town.”
The show airs tonight between 8PM – 10PM ET on CBS so make sure to come back for our Undercover Boss recap. While you wait for our recap make sure to check out all our Undercover Boss news, spoilers, videos, photos, recaps & more, right here!
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This week on the season premiere of Undercover Boss Sharon John, the CEO of Build A Bear is going undercover in one of her stores to experience life as her employees do in the Build A Bear stores. Sharon talks about how Build a Bear is the only store that allows people to build their own furry friends. She says “Unfortunately from 2008 to 2012 we had some tough years and had to revamp. When I started in 2012 we revamped things and opened a Discovery store.” She also talks about how she has talked about how she has rebuilt some of the biggest brands in the world. She says “One of the greatest things about Build A Bear is that it wants to stay young so that allows it to stay very close to my heart.”
Sharon is getting ready to head into the store. She is getting her makeover. She says “I am really excited to go undercover because we have rolled out some new products and I want to see how the bear builders are responding to the new products.” Sharon is placed in a store in California that has been upgraded to the Discovery model. She says “I am anxious to see how the bear builders respond to the new models.”
When she arrives at the store she is greeted by Jessie who is very enthusiastic. Jessie tells her “We are going to put you on the stuffing machine so I am going to show you how to work it because we have a party coming in today.” Sharon seems pleased by Jessie’s enthusiasm, but she is nervous to work the new stuffing machine. After a little tutoring Jessie leaves Sharon to work on the machine alone and Sharon does not do well at all. The stuffing ends up everywhere except inside the bear, but Jessie does not lose patience.
Once the party guests arrive Lanie greets them enthusiastically and tells them “You have the whole store of bears to choose from. ” Sharon is still having issues working the machine and the fluff is still flying everywhere, but the kids are having a blast. Sharon is talking to Jessie and asks her “Have you been coming to Build A Bear for a long time?” Lanie tells her “Yes. My little sister had a huge impact on me when it came to Build A Bear.” Sharon asks her “Does that mean that you didn’t want to do the remodel?” Jessie says “No. I miss taking pictures with my bears. It takes away the personal aspect.”
Jessie and Lanie continue talking. Lannie tells her about her family and how she works to care for her family and her grandmother and how she raised her when her mom was absent. Jessie says “It is hard to believe that Lanie has so much on her shoulders. She is only a couple years younger than my daughter.”
Next up Jessie heads to the store in Pennsylvania. She is working with Nick in an old school Build A Bear store. Nick puts her on a register and she immediately has some trouble with dealing with credit card transactions. Nick says “If Jessie is going to be ringing up purchases under my number then I am going to have to keep an eye on her.”
As the day goes on Nick and Jesse continue to talk and Nick tells her about his passion to want to make movies. He tells her “I want to use what I learn here to incorporate it into movies and soundtracks.” He also tells her “I miss some of the original bears. We used to have Bearville. I just recently made a bear to remind myself never to give up on my dreams.” He talks to Jesse about being in a wheelchair from a childhood disease that caused his bones to be out of order and how it inspired him to want to make a difference. Jesse seemed really moved by him. She said “Nick is such an inspirational person. He has such a positive attitude.”
Up next Sharon takes Jesse and heads to Ohio to the Cherry picker warehouse in Ohio where they fill a lot of the online orders. As she is moving through the warehouse she is impressed with the fact that they emphasize the safety of what they are doing. Jesse says “I love the carry picker. Being able to see everything and be on top of the warehouse is amazing.”
Once they were done picking they come down the line to where the sorting is done. Jessie slowed the line down and Sal told her “We have to fix this or the bosses get mad.” She asks him “Have you ever taken your kids to Build A Bear?” He tells her “No. My kids live in Texas. I don’t want to move from here, but I want to be close to my kids.” Jessie says “It is always good to meet someone who is a good family man.”
Next she meets Kendall, an Assistant Manager in Georgia. She shows Jessie a training guide that she had created. Jessie says “When I worked in a restaurant I would have gotten fired for not following protocol.” Kendall says “I just created a condensed version for people who learn differently.” Jessie does not seem very impressed by this and she is a bit worried by her changing the manual. Kendall takes her out on to the floor and has her practice.
Then real customers enter the store and Jessie goes to work with them. Kendall tells her “All right Miss Jessie. That was awesome.” Jessie asks her “Do you have a family?” Kendall tells her “I have three kids and a fiancee that travels alot. My dad is retired and lives close by. My mom died of cancer” Jessie says “I thought Kendall did a great job training me today. I thin what I learned is that Build A Bear needs me to be more myself. They need me to be more exuberant and exciting.”
Sharon has ended her undercover journey as Jessie. She reveals herself to the employees and tells them that they have been on Undercover Boss. She addresses the fluffing station being taken away. She tells Lannie “I am going to give you ten thousand dollars for yourself and fifteen thousand dollars for medical bills to help you and your family.” Lannie is so happy and excited.
For Nick she is giving him a trip to the film festival, five thousand dollars for film school tuition and ten thousand dollars for film equipment. For Sal she helps him with his music, gives him ten thousand dollars and years worth of flights back and forth between Ohio and Texas and she gives him a new place to live. For Kendall she rewards her initiative. She gives her compensation for upgrading the manuals, pays for her manicures for a year and donates ten thousand dollars to her upcoming wedding. Sharon also gives her forty thousand dollars for her children’s college funds. Kendall is so happy and excited.
On part two of the season premiere of Undercover Boss the Mayor of Gary, Indiana Karen Freeman-Wilson goes undercover as a city employee to try and help her get a better understanding of how her city runs. Karen talks about how she grew up and became the valedictorian of her high school then went on to work in law firms in Chicago, but that was not where her passion lay. She says “As a result of the loss of the steel work we have lost half of our population and have seen an increase in crime.” She says “My husband and I live in what is known as the Horace Mann area. This is not a Mayor’s mansion.”
To help her avoid detection karen calls in her team to help her pick out a look that is distinctly not her. She says “In order to pull this off I am going with big hair, no glasses and i am changing my voice.”
She starts her mission at the waste water plant. When she gets there she meets with Brandon. Brandon says “She has a bright smile, but she needs to come dressed for the job. She still has on jewelry. She won’t need any jewelry here.” He hands her a rake and tells her “I want you to rake this stuff down.” Sheila says “If I see a snake I am out of here.” Once they finish raking they move on to another area and Brandon has her cleaning the waste out of the water with a broom. Brandon asks her “Where are you from?” Sheila tells him “I am from Nashville, Tennessee.”
She asks him “Tell me about yourself.” He tells her “I have two boys. I didn’t want them to be like me.” He then goes on to complain about the job. He tells Sheila “This job is all about favoritism. Our boss and the mayor are best friends. You have people who have been on this job for three months and are already supervisors.” Sheila seems stunned to hear this. He says “The supervisors don’t care as long as the money keeps rolling in.” Brandon says “Nothing is getting done around here. It’s almost to the point that you want to give up.”
The next day Sheila is headed to the fire station. She is working with Nate. She changes into the uniform. He then has her put on all of her fire equipment, but he tells her she has to put it on in under two minutes. It takes her almost 13 minutes to get all her gear on. Once she gets her gear on Nate has her practice rescuing someone from a burning house. Sheila tells him “I’m tired. I don’t know if I’m tough enough for your job.” After Nate shows her a ladder drill he tells her “We fill like the public deserves the best of the best and that’s what we try to give them.”
Nate then tells her “We don’t have the best equipment. We have to work on three or four fires a month where other cities may have three or four fires a year.” Nate tells her “This job has its ups and downs. There are way more ups than there are downs.” Sheila says “I am honored to have a firefighter like Nate working for the Gary fire department. Hearing him talk about what other cities have makes me want to go out and work hard to get these guys what they need.”
The Mayors next stop is to work with the police department. She says “The things I know about the police department are generally the things they want the mayor to know.” Sheila gets a crash course in traffic stops with Shanisha. Karen says “When you see her walk up to the car you know that she is a police officer that means business.” After Shanisha walks her through the process she tells Sheila “It’s your turn now.” Shanisha had to correct her on the traffic stop. She tells her “You were a little too bubbly and a bit too far out.” Shanisha tells her “We work hard. Some agencies may average two calls a day where may average twenty calls a day.” Shanisha tells her “We can also use some new equipment.” Sheila asks her “How old is this car?” Shanisha says “I want to say this car is a 2010.” Shanisha also tells her “Usually there is supposed to be a minimum of 12 officers on duty at one time. Sometimes we don’t have that.” This seems to distress Sheila.
Next up Sheila heads out to clean up the beach. She meets up with Steve. Steve tells her “They repossessed the large payloader so the job may take us awhile. Sheila has trouble operating the machine. She becomes very distressed. When they finish Steve asks her “What do you think about the job?” Sheila says “This is a tough job.” Steve says “When I started this job we had a ten man crew. We are now down to two guys making 13.25. I do this job to support my wife who has COPD.” Sheila seems shocked to hear this. She also seems pretty sad. She says “if I were Steve I would wonder If I was a high priority for the mayor. Continuing to do this job for a low wage with mediocre equipment. I have to do something about this.”
Karen says “What I learned this week is that I need to fight harder to get my employees what they need to do their jobs and feel appreciated. She reveals herself to the employees. She tells Shanesha “I understand the importance of certain things. The city is going to purchase new police cars which is a 1.1 million dollar investment. I am also going to make it my business to sit down with employees all over the city starting with you. I am also going to send you on an all expense paid vacation with your family. Shanisha is excited.
Nate is going to get the fire station on Grand Boulevard upgraded. Karen is also pledging to upgrade all of the fire stations one a year. She is also sending Nate to the All-Star game. Nate is super excited.
For Brandon Karen is arranging a dinner for him, her and the plant manager to listen to his suggestion. She is also establishing a college fund for his two sons and giving him twenty five hundred dollars. Karen also asks Brandon to go out on the speaking circuit to help other young men who are just coming out of the prison system.
For Steve they are giving him a new beachcomber to help with his job. They are also giving him a ten percent raise and setting up a medical fund with ten thousand dollars to help with his family’s medical needs. Steve is so thankful to the mayor for all she has done