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Saturday, October 4, 2014



A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little knowledge on the topic opined.  Opposing views are welcome.  They are welcome, but they will be ignored.  As always, no name calling.  That means you, you big stupid head!

Wal-Mart has an image problem. The public perceives them as mean.

Some of their image problem is because their low prices and massive selection have put mom and pop stores out of business.  MEAN!

Some of their image problem is their cost cutting model keeps wages low and employees unhappy.  MEAN!

Most mom and pop stores simply can’t compete with the prices that economies of scale provide large stores like Wal-Mart.  Unless they can provide extraordinary service they are doomed.  Wal-Mart does the economy of scale better than most stores.  They are a winner in the put mom and pop out of business battle, but mom and pop were never going to prevail.  Still Wal-Mart comes out of the contest the winner but with the mean perception.

Cost cutting works, people respond to lower prices more than they do happy employees.  Personally I prefer Costco’s model which values its employees and rewards them with higher wages, and benefits.  They feel that low employee turnover is more cost effective than low wages.  It is a philosophically different business model that works for both companies, but it does paint Wal-mart as…MEAN.

Wal-mart also promotes foreign produced goods and the result has cut into American producers. 


I guess, but do you want an American TV for $500 or a comparable TV from Japan or China for $425?  Maybe you are a patriot, maybe you are mean.  I think I might be mean.

Anyway, Wal-Mart has a very bad public relations problem.

Recently a Wal-Mart truck driven by an overworked driver, who fell asleep while driving 65 MPH on the New Jersey Turnpike, rear ended an SUV killing one person and leaving several others badly injured.

The deceased was a popular local comedian, and one of the severely injured was the hugely popular comedian and actor, Tracy Morgan.  There is a law suit involved.

Wal-Mart’s law firm is asserting in court papers that the victim and the injured did not have their seatbelts on and are therefore responsible for part or all of their injuries.

You have got to be kidding me!

I get it.  In cases like this it is common for the legal defense to attempt to mitigate damages wherever possible.  They may even have a point that if seat belts were used damages would not be so steep.  In a normal case this might mean that if there was a multimillion dollar settlement, the truck (Wal-Mart) may not have to pay 100% of damages.

This is not a normal case.  This involves Wal-Mart, a company with a huge public relations problem.  The potential legal savings they may obtain as a result of the seatbelt claim pales in comparison to the cost they will incur trying to improve their image.  I’ll bet they spend hundreds of millions trying to create a positive image.

If I was Sam, I would be on the phone to my law firm screaming,

You idiots!  You are going to cost us a fortune trying to undo this latest image of MEAN.  Whatever this law suit costs, PAY IT YOU MORONS!!

Too late Sam.  The damage is done.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


  1. yup, i bet you're right about the $$ for PR.

  2. What if the Walmart driver who'd fallen asleep had hit a school bus? Here in Oregon school buses don't have seat belts. Would Walmart sue the State of Oregon for not passing legislation protecting them from unbelted kids?

  3. It looks like Wal~Mart stepped in it. It is not stupid moves like this that will do them in. People will still stop at Wal~Mart. It is the increasingly worsting customer service that will do Wal~Mart in. Since Sam pass away, the company he built on focusing on customer service has focused more on making money then taking care of the customer. People will get piss off more with spending 30 minutes looking for one item in the store and then 45 minutes in line to check out with only one or two other customer in line in front of them.

    1. Dan is EXACTLY right. I left my shopping cart, along with the items I had wanted to purchase, at Walmart recently because the checkout lines were even longer than when I had entered the store 20 minutes earlier. Then I sent an angry email to Walmart telling them that I purchased those same items the next day somewhere else, without having to waste so much time.

      Walmart cut the number of employees to make more profit, and they cut employees' hours to avoid paying healthcare benefits. If taxpayers' dollars pay for Walmart employees healthcare and if I waste time in long lines, those cheap prices all of a sudden are not so cheap any more...

  4. We shop at Costco, but we don't shop at Wal-Mart. Ever. I can't stand that mess.

    You are right about the suit though. They will drag this out for years and years and it will cost them a ton of money.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  5. I haven't been in Wal-mart for thirty years, and then to pick up my daughter's film. But, not too long before that I purchased a package of underwear and a package of socks from Wal-mart, found out at home each package had been cleverly opened and one pair of socks and one pair of underwear removed. I called W-M at once and learned I couldn't prove it happened in the store. So much for customer service 31 years ago.

  6. I was gonna say that I think Sam is dead but I guess you knew that. I don't think he'd call, though.

  7. Oh, Joe! You haven't had a crazy rant here in quite some time. So let me help you out...

    To begin with, if you were Sam, you would be six feet under, taking a dirt nap, and except for spinning once or twice a week, you wouldn't really get involved with store policy now.

    Let me just point out that some of us don't have a choice, because driving an hour to the city to find other places to purchase weekly goods is not feasible for the folks in the hinterlands where Walmart put the Moms and Pops out of business. The financial drain kind of negates any self-righteous, self-satisfied snobbery that may make us feel good about sticking it to the Walton family.

    Yeah. We get it. We are fat bad dressers who are not very smart. That doesn't mean we like spending fifteen minutes shopping and twenty-five minutes in line for foreign substandard goods. We don't have a choice.

    The truck driver, a professional with a license, I imagine, who knew the regulations, and the passengers, who were adults, HAD a choice. It's not Walmart's fault the driver drove while sleepy, or that the passengers in their fancy car decided not to buckle up. Does nobody take personal responsibility any more?

    Oh, and it hasn't been Wal-Mart since 2008. Their hyphen and that little star thing was abandoned in favor of plain old Walmart.

    That WOULD be cheaper for Walmart to pay the damages than drag it out in the courts and media.

  8. As some have already pointed out, there are other ways to make money besides screwing their employees. Paying more can improve morale and productivity, decrease turnover and training costs, on and on. They just don't get it. And when ANY company contributes to to the enormous inequality that exists in the US today, they are long-term shooting themselves in the foot. When the middle class eventually has NO disposable income, they will have no choice but to stop buying, hurting the very companies that beat them down. Then there will be NO profits. "A little piece of a big pie is better that a BIG piece of NO pie."

  9. I hate that Walmart has put local mom 'n pop shops out of business.
    One of the shops carried a lot of stuff that Walmart won't even handle in their stores.
    In fact it seems nobody nearby carries the stuff.
    Unfortunately, mom 'n pop couldn't operate on the profits from just that stuff.

  10. I'm sad that I'm in the position of having to shop at Wal-Mart because of their lower prices over the other stores. If my economic situation ever changes, I will be out of there in a heart beat. In the meantime, I think it is ridiculous with their stance about this recent accident and should pay what needs to be paid. They, like Geico (sorry, sour grapes here about that company) will probably go out of their way in any old way to avoid paying out money, guilty or not.


  11. I do know my insurance will hold me partially responsible if I am not wearing my seat belt in an accident plus, I will get a ticket. The seat belt insurance provision may be legal but not very nice. Sadly when millions are involved, nice gets lost.
    Walmart is one of the biggest employers in my tiny town. I know a couple of employees and have yet to hear a gripe. Most are seniors however, supplementing Social Security. Maybe they keep the gripes to themselves.
    We tend to get what we pay for as far as merchandise goes.