You know what sounds like fun? Getting cast by a talent agency to help test the new 2015 Ford F-150. You’d probably picture yourself careening around on rocky terrain, making those little orange cones your bitch, splashing through mud and water—fjording, even! Fjording in a Ford. Wouldn’t that just beat all.
You know what sounds like not fun? What testing the F-150 actually meant for a group of guys last summer who were recruited to help Ford test the leather seats in the newly redesigned pickup.
A little back story: Before the latest redesign, Ford’s seat-testing procedure had been done mostly by robots. It’s not clear what the robots did exactly, but they made sure the leather seats could handle a lot of wear and tear. They did robot things.
The problem: Apparently, Ford had been getting complaints about the leather seats cracking after a while. You can just imagine the type of F-150 driver who goes for the leather seats. Not someone you want to disappoint. He’s probably the boss of something. And now he’s mad at you. It’s embarrassing. Worse yet, the cracks were appearing to be the result of dirt, which you can’t really smear all over a robot and expect everything to be fine. They tend to stop robotting when you do that.
So, if you can’t use semi-autonomous electro-mechanical machines to simulate the effect of a dirt-caked 265-pound man getting in and out of a truck over and over again, what can you use? What on Earth could serve this purpose?
Oh, right. Actual human flesh and toil. And that’s how Ford came to hire an agency to round up a group of “seat testers,” all men of a certain size, to climb in and out of the 2015 Ford F-150. Ten-thousand times.
Here’s how it went: Every day for about a week, in the blazing summer heat, these guys climbed up into the truck, then climbed down out of the truck. Up into the truck, down out of the truck. For up to ten hours a day. Sounds mildly gross, but it’s actually a fair bit grosser: They had to do it in jeans – the same pair of jeans for the entire testing period – which by the end were caked with a heady mixture of sweat and a dirt-like testing material called “Arizona dust,” which sounds upsetting and was patted onto the seat every 500 sits.
So when you get your 2015 F-150 and the leather seat cracks, don’t blame the poor robots. They lost their cushy jobs to cheap human labor. Tale as old as time.
No, you can blame the sweaty jeans guys who were probably half-assing it (LITERALLY) after the fourth straight day/seven-thousandth time getting in and out of the truck. They let you down big-time. It’s all spoiled now. No more nice things.