Thursday, April 20, 2006

Something Was Missing - Poor Mr. Smiley

Poor Mr. Smiley has been demoted. Maybe he was involved in union talk or complained about poor pay and benefits. Or, maybe he just wasn't 'upscale' enough. Do you think he got severance pay?

Wal-Mart spends nearly as much each year to make us feel good about not paying health care costs for employees, locking immigrant workers inside stores overnight and firing managers who complain about unfair practices.... More here.

Tough to Legislate Wal-Mart Out of Your Community

Because Wal-Mart does not provide sufficient health care coverage for employees, the state of Maryland passed a law that requires Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health care. H. Lee Scott the president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. thinks the law is 'ridiculous'. "We are not going to go away that easily," Scott said. "It's going to be tough to legislate Wal-Mart out of your community." More here.

Maybe it would be worthwhile for Wal-Mart to investigate why governments are trying to "legislate" them out of our communities. Is there something Wal-Mart could do to improve it's public image besides whining about how the largest company on earth is always being picked on? Wal-Mart has no problem paying Mr. Scott 17 million in compensation (2004), maybe spending a little on their 'associates' would be in order.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wal-Mart Playing Catch-Up With Target?

Wal-Mart stock down 4% last year. Target stock is up 7%. How does Wal-Mart plan to catch up? Well, maybe creating a fictional cast of characters will help it boost lackluster sales.

Wal-Mart is claiming they don't want to be like Target in spite of the fact they are now building 'upscale' Wal-Mart stores in some areas.

Vice Chairman John Menzer said. "Our customers are moving from a focus on price, to a focus on value, and we are moving with our customers."

What exactly does that mean Mr. Menzer? Why can't we have quality goods for a slightly higher price? Isn't that value? Wouldn't treating your employees better be a value to you, them and their community?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

SAGA E-Newsletter

Sound Adirondack Growth Alliance (SAGA) has published an electronic newsletter for April. The main article is called "It's about size and location - not being pro or anti-Wal-Mart". SAGA's position is that the Town of North Elba size restrictions, 40,000 sq ft for a single store and 68,000 sq ft for a shopping center, should be followed for any new retail development. Any proposed shopping center should also be located downtown and not at the currently proposed village sandpit site. SAGA also points out that it would take a minimum of two years before any new shopping center could be opened because of the required review processes. The entire article (pdf) can be read at the SAGA website or just click here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Wal-Mart and Ethics Day

The Community College of Baltimore County held an ethics day on April 4th. The theme was 'Ethics and the Economy' and Gary W. Hill, director of the Global Ethics Offices for Wal-Mart was one of the panelists.

Mr. Hill evidently had some difficulty answering some of the questions posed by participants.

Mike Dean, lobbyist and president of Communications Workers of America, asked how ethical it is for Wal-Mart to give Medicaid forms to employees when other businesses have to pay for Medicaid. Hill had no answer, and Dean asked, “Why are you here if you can't answer?”

Hill could also not answer questions posed about unions or how charitable donations by Wal-Mart compared with those of other large companies.

Read more here.