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Angela Gunn Tech_Space, USA Today.

"[Wal-Mart] demonstrates a clear pattern of deception."

Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio).

WHAT WAS ON SAM WALTON’S DESK…?

July 6th, 2015
Filed under: Sam Walton
walmart sam's desk 150706 Back when I was a business editor and interviewing CEOs on a regular basis, I always liked to snap a few pictures of their offices to get a sense of what kind of person they were. You might expect that they would tidy up the office, but I regularly found that not to be the case. My working hypothesis was that people who become heads of companies have big egos---that is not necessarily bad, just what I think of as prerequisite---and they assume that people are focusing on them and not their surroundings, which is a big reason precisely why I took the pictures. Visiting the Walmart Museum website this morning, I found myself drawn to Sam Walton's office. I haven't spoken with the museum's curator, but I would think that the desk we see has more to do with the image that Walmart wishes to project about the mythic Sam Walton, that it does with Sam Walton the man. What do you find interesting on Sam's desk? In other news today: Can You Guess Which Grocery Store Sells The Most Affordable Organic Food? (Hint: It's Not Costco) Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART SQUEEZING SUPPLIERS, AGAIN…

July 5th, 2015
Filed under: Jobs,Outsourcing,Vendors
Walmart is infamous for squeezing suppliers until they pop. American companies like Rubbermaid have been crushed because they could not meet Walmart's demands and stay in a business where they treated their employees like humans and not interchangeable drones. Walmart has raised wages and now the Bentonvile Behemoth needs to squeeze those dollars from anywhere but shareholder value. Motley Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman writes:
In its ongoing search for new levers it can pull to boost profit, Wal-Mart Stores seems to have found a new favorite target: suppliers. First, it asked vendors earlier this year to cut out the regular contributions they make to promotions, and instead use those savings to lower prices. Now, the world's largest retailer is strengthening its grip on its suppliers, saying it will begin charging fees for stocking and warehousing inventory. In a letter to the approximately 10,000 suppliers affected, Wal-Mart said the purpose of the change was to bring "consistency to the collection of allowances related to the growth of our business and suppliers' use of the Walmart supply network."
Bowman continues:
CEO Doug McMillon seems to recognize that the Wal-Mart of old won't cut it anymore, as rivals like Amazon.com and Costco Wholesale take share from the superstore chain and consumer demands change. Wal-Mart has been losing its low-price advantage, leaving it little else to stand on.
When the pond gets smaller, the fish get smaller, grow legs and a finds another pond, or die. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART GREETERS SECURITY MOVING BACK…

July 4th, 2015
Filed under: Employees
When I first read the headline on this story, I thought, good on Walmart. Then I read deeper in the story and all the warm and fuzzy feelings evaporated. Amy Scott, writing in Walmart brings greeters back to the front door for National Public Radio writes:
If you’re planning on shopping at a Wal-Mart on this holiday, you may encounter a throwback from the company’s past. The Wal-Mart greeter is making a comeback at the front of some stores. In about 300 of its 4,500 stores, the company is testing a new program to cut down on theft. “A few years ago, greeters were moved from the front door entrance to what’s called ‘action alley,’ which is over by the self-checkout area,” says Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick. Now the company is experimenting with moving them back, to greet customers as they walk in and let would-be shoplifters know someone is watching. “They serve a twofold function,” says Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “Ideally they make you feel welcome and, theoretically, they nip a few basis points off of shrink.” “Shrink” is the industry term for merchandise lost to shoplifting, employee theft, and vendor fraud. It cost retailers an estimated $44 billion last year, according to a new survey by University of Florida criminology professor Richard Hollinger. Wal-Mart greeters will sometimes check receipts at the door. In other stores, the company is adding “asset protection” specialists in bright yellow vests.
I doubt however, that bright yellow vest---I can't get this image out of my head---would have helped the situation in Macon Georgia.
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WALMART IN EEOC CROSSHAIRS, AGAIN…

July 3rd, 2015
Filed under: Employees,Litigation
News like the announcement that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Walmart, again, must really frustrate CEO Doug McMillon who, by all appearances, is working hard to reform the company that has been at the center of his entire adult life. According to The National Law Review:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. violated federal law by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee at its Hodgkins, Ill., store who was disabled by bone cancer and failing to stop harassment of the employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday. According to Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago, who managed EEOC's pre-suit administrative investigation, the Walmart store initially agreed to comply with employee Nancy Stack's request that the company provide a chair in her work area in the fitting room and limit her scheduled work hours because treatment for bone cancer in her leg limited her ability to walk and stand. After complying with her scheduling accommodation for many months, the store revoked it for no reason. And the store did not ensure that a chair was in Stack's work area, at one point telling her that she had to haul a chair from the furniture department every day, which was of course hard for her to do given her disability. Finally, the store transferred Stack from the fitting room to a greeter position, which did not comply with her restrictions on standing. To add insult to injury, Bowman added, a co-worker harassed Stack by calling her names like "cripple" and "chemo brain," imitated her limp, and removed or hid the chair the employee needed in her work area. Stack complained repeatedly, but the store took no action to stop the co-worker's harassment.
Cripple and chemo brain? Does the employee think their in second grade or what?
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WALMART, BERNIE SANDERS AND CARD CHECK…

July 3rd, 2015
Filed under: Alice Walton,Christy Walton,Employee Free Choice Act,Helen Walton,Jim Walton,John Walton,National,Organized Labor,Politics,Robson Walton,Sam Walton,Video
Everyone should listen to the entire speech---when was the last time any candidate for their party's presidential nomination attracted more than 10,000 people to a speech 17 months before the election?---but if you just can spare the time, you should take note of what Bernie has to say at around the 21:00 and 41:30 time marks. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart, Bernie Sanders, Card Check, Walton Family
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WALMART NOT OUT TO BE OFFENSIVE…

July 2nd, 2015
Filed under: Citizen Groups,Doug McMillon,Employees,Public Relations
Under the free speech and free press provisions of the First Amendment of our Constitution, we all have the right to be offensive, and, as a rabid defender of the First Amendment, I will even defend anyone's right to be offensive. That does not mean however, that I, or anyone, has an obligation to support your being offensive. Any corporation, driven by the corporate prime directive---maximize shareholder value---constantly performs a calculus involving minimizing the number of customers who may take offense at any action, or inaction, associated with the corporation. Secondary to that mission is not offending valuable employees. Walmart, as Mallory Schlossberg describes in The real reasons so many retail brands are taking the Confederate flags off shelves, is perfectly clear on that principle.
These retailers have to consider the people who would be offended. “Their image is tremendously important to them, with their employees, with their shareholders, with their investors,” [Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a retail consulting agency and investment banking firm based in New York] said. “There’s no way they can be associated with this.” “Number one, [you’ll be] turning off millions of customers if you sell [the Confederate flag], number two, [you’ll be] turning off your own employees,” Davidowitz said. This is particularly crucial for Wal-Mart. “Most of their employees are part time employees — many of them are minorities,” Davidowitz said, also mentioning that selling the flag “will demotivate” employees. “If you’re Wal-Mart, there is nothing more charged than race. That is more nuclear than any of [Wal-Mart’s other] issues.”
Yet, I have no doubt that Walmart has been selling Confederate battle flags for more than 50 years and I've never heard of any customers or employees protesting. What has changed is the leadership of the company. I suspect, but cannot know for certain, that if the massacre in Charleston had happened in 2014, Walmart would have still been selling the flags in 2015. Is this yet another example of Doug McMillon's vision? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart
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WALMART WEDNESDAY: OPEN THREAD…

July 1st, 2015
Filed under: Walmart
How do you really feel about Walmart? Here's your chance to express your true feelings---pro and con---about the world's largest retailer. Write whatever you like in the comments section and engage your fellow readers in the conversation. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART’S MADE IN USA CHINA LABELS…

July 1st, 2015
Filed under: Citizen Groups,International,Outsourcing,Public Relations
I remember hearing a---false---story when I was a child that the Japanese had renamed one of their cities Usa so that they could stamp products made there as Made In USA. As I discovered this morning, there is a Usa, Japan but the small city is not a export scam. Besides, marketers don't need a rename a town to slap the Made In USA label on a product, they can just do so and assume that no one will notice. No one, except, perhaps, Truth In Advertising.
Walmart is going all out for America, pledging to buy an additional $250 billion in American products. To that end, the world’s largest retailer will host a manufacturing summit next week where it will look for U.S.-made products to sell. The event starts three days after the Fourth of July and promises to be a star-spangled affair. But one item that probably won’t make the agenda: The made in the USA labeling mess on Walmart.com that the company has pledged to address after TINA.org brought the issue to corporate officials.
Be sure to take the organization's Are You Smarter Than Walmart? quiz. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART RIDING ON PUBLIC GENEROSITY…

July 1st, 2015
Filed under: Citizen Groups,Economics,Employees,Groceries,Public Relations,Walmart Hunger
thanksgiving 131120 That Walmart uses money from a good-feelings slush fund to give people the impression that the Bentonvile Behemoth actually cares about hungry people is bad enough, but when the company leverages donations from outside the company to earn public-relations brownie points, well, I find such actions simply shameful. From Walmart fights hunger locally and nationally in Ohio's Lima News:
Wal-Mart announced Monday that Lima-area residents have generated a total of $31,980 for the West Ohio Food Bank. Through Wal-Mart’s Fight Hunger Spark Change campaign, families rallied together to help fight hunger in Wal-Mart stores and online. Nationwide, the campaign raised more than $10 million to support Feeding America and its affiliate food banks across the country. Altogether, 12 food banks in Ohio received more than $400,000 to support local hunger programs.
I have to wonder how many Walmart employees regularly visit one of those 12 food banks. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART FOLLOWED THE RULES, BUT…

June 30th, 2015
Filed under: Despoilment,Environment
When a despoiler cut down six live oaks (if you've never seen a Live Oak, they are perhaps the East-Coast cousins of the West Coast Redwoods) and 44 other trees to make way for a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Savannah, Georgia, the Bentonvile Behemoth crossed all the t's and dotted all the I's. The company was well within the letter of the law, however...
The removal this month of 50 trees, including six live oaks, to make way for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market has drawn the ire of at least one Savannah City Council member and some residents. However, city staffers say the developer’s tree plan was in compliance with the city’s review process and almost five times as many trees will be planted as were cut down. Still, Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas criticized the removal at the end of the council meeting on Thursday and called for a review of the city’s revised tree ordinance, which was approved in April with increased incentives for preservation and penalties for violations. “We just passed an ordinance where we thought none of this could happen, and it did,” Thomas said.
Replacing 50 mature trees with 250 saplings does not excuse Walmart's actions in this case. We don't know the ages of the trees destroyed, but I imagine that the Neighborhood Market will long be abandoned before the new trees even approach the natural grandeur of those destroyed. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart, Savannah, Trees, Georgia
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WALMART’S HOUSE OF CARDS

June 29th, 2015
Filed under: Employees,National,Organized Labor,Politics,Video
I binge watched three seasons of the Netflix series House of Cards over the weekend and a smile came to my face when the below scene came up in season three. I'm sure that Francis Underwood is a strong supporter of the Bentonvile Behemoth. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WHAT THE WALTONS FEAR THE MOST…

June 28th, 2015
Filed under: Alice Walton,Christy Walton,Economics,Greg Penner,Helen Walton,Jim Walton,John Walton,Robson Walton,Sam Walton,Taxes
walmart 150628 inheritance tax Why else would the Walton family spend so much money? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART WEDNESDAY: OPEN THREAD…

June 24th, 2015
Filed under: Walmart
How do you really feel about Walmart? Here's your chance to express your true feelings---pro and con---about the world's largest retailer. Write whatever you like in the comments section and engage your fellow readers in the conversation. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART SAYS NO TO RACIST BATTLE FLAG…

June 23rd, 2015
Filed under: Citizen Groups,National,Politics,Protests
no battle flag walmart [Update at 2000: Major U.S. flag makers to stop making Confederate flags.] [Update at 1600: Amazon joins retailers banning the sale of items featuring Confederate flag.
On Tuesday afternoon, Amazon became the latest in a string of high-profile companies like Walmart, Sears and eBay, to step away from the sales.
We have a Welsh cousin visiting for a few weeks---part of the reason why I'm blogging so little, sorry---and the use of the term Yank came up when he asked if Americans found the term offensive. I told him that I, born in the North, did not, but that while I was in Australia in 1978 and sitting in a pub in Darwin with a friend from Houston, an Australian said words to the effect that we yanks were good blokes. My friend stood up and in a very offended voice said: I'm no damn Yankee! In that moment, I said nothing, and probably even thought his response humorous, but now, an older me with distance from the event wonders how my friend for Texas might have reacted if an African American sailor had been with us and the Australian had said nigger in a different context. I can't now nearly 40 years later, but I strongly suspect he would not have expressed such ire.] While Walmart took weeks (months?) to get this racist symbol off the shelves, the company announced the removal merchandise bearing the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (not the Stars and Bars) from all Walmart stores.
Walmart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, says it has removed all products bearing the Confederate flag from its stores. In the wake of the Charleston church shootings, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley announced on Monday that she would take steps to remove the Confederate battle flag that has flown on the statehouse grounds for more than 50 years. Hours afterwards, Walmart said all items connected to the flag had been taken off sale. “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment, whether in our stores or on our website,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told CNN. “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”
The removal, of course, will have hiccups.
On Monday evening, various confederate flag-branded items were still visible on the Walmart website, although most were listed as out of stock and were not able to be purchased.
Still, I give Doug McMillon serious chops for moving faster than his predecessors. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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WALMART WEDNESDAY: OPEN THREAD…

June 17th, 2015
Filed under: Walmart
How do you really feel about Walmart? Here's your chance to express your true feelings---pro and con---about the world's largest retailer. Write whatever you like in the comments section and engage your fellow readers in the conversation. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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