Published on: January 17, 2013
Michael Sansolo had a piece the other day that lauded the Disney theme parks for a gold standard of customer service excellence, and we got a number of emails in response.
MNB user Bryan Silbermann wrote:Brilliant piece by Michael S. It highlights that treasures of the past can remain treasures of the future as long as they are positioned smartly and relevantly. A history lesson for any organization, including associations.
MNB user Chris J. Grathwohl wrote:I couldn’t agree more that Disney sets the gold standard in everything they do. I was dragged - kicking and screaming - to the Magic Kingdom et al several years ago with my wife and 2 little boys. I hate crowds, waiting in long lines with sweaty strangers, and spending infinite sums on low grade entertainment. Man was I wrong!
No detail is left unattended, whether it be for the kids or the adults. The smiles on the kids’ faces made the expense worth every penny, not to mention I actually enjoyed it too. The Disney folks have created enough diversions that even the unpleasantries of long lines are diminished.
In case you think they are just about theme parks, guess again. Our family followed the Orlando trip with a Disney Cruise two years later. As great as the parks are, the cruise is right there too. The cast members were wonderful, from the cabin service lady who made little animals out of the towels each night, to the dining room waiter who remembered my boys’ “off-menu” requests at each meal, to the glorious Disney’s Private Island. The kids liked the all-day ice cream, soda and snacks feature too. Makes me want to go back, especially since it is January and 25 degrees here in Cincinnati!
Can I get a pay day loan?
I have to be honest here. Being on a Disney Cruise is my idea of one of the circles of hell.
I'm sort of with MNB user Kathleen Whelan:This slender volume is a must read:
“Team Rodent – How Disney Devours The World” by Carl Hiaasen. You can’t find it in Orlando, believe me. But, it’s on Amazon, which will please Kevin!
I've read the book. I have a paperback copy. And it is terrific ... wonderfully funny, well-written and enormously appealing to the crank in me.
On another subject - Coke's anti-obesity ads - one MNB user wrote:I happened to see the Coke commercial the last night before reading your piece this morning. In a world of marketing that can bring out the skeptic in any/all of us, I have to say I thought that they did an excellent job. The longer-than-usual segment was honest and well crafted. Though many of their lower calorie offerings were probably created in response to pressures over recent years from an already growing epidemic, they included subtle messages about moderation being a personal responsibility. Lastly, to close with a shot of the 1970's ad of the diverse group of people from around the globe singing "I'd like to buy the world a coke" without sound was an impacting reminder of their iconic status. That brief, fleeting image brought back a flood of memories for me.
I'm not even a soda consumer but I have to say "good job, Coca-Cola"!
Regarding the Walmart initiative to hire military veterans, one MNB user wrote:Although I applaud Wal-Mart for hiring our vets, I also believe there is an additional motive behind this action. Wal-Mart builds many stores close to or outside the gates of military bases. I believe one of Wal-Mart’s objectives is to take over the military exchange business. A contract with the government to run the military exchanges would be a huge step and resulting in billions of revenue dollars. Wal-Mart wants to build loyalty from active duty, retired and NGR shoppers – use Wal-Mart not your local exchange – more choice – better prices! I don’t necessarily trust this altruistic move by Wal-Mart, but again, a smart move to build and grow a devoted customer base.
Actually, I've always wondered it if it would make sense to simply outsource the military commissary system to a company like Walmart.
From another reader:In addition to the fact that Veterans understand the importance of organizational discipline, respect authority, and are dedicated workers – they also already have superb benefits – which reduces Wal-Mart’s cost of these hires. Most Veterans will prefer working part-time vs. full time. And, they will be there on Black Friday and other days where “sick calls” are known to happen.
A perfect opportunity for Wal-Mart advantage IF executed properly.
MNB user Michael Phelan wrote:While there’s no wrong way to do the right thing, we still have to do better for these folks. I’m hoping that companies in a wide range of industries follow WalMart’s lead, but that they don’t pigeon-hole all of the returning veterans into the jobs they assume would be a good fit.
Instead, potential employers need to be sure to take an honest look at the skills that each of these people brings to the table.
When I commented on the story, I wrote:The New York Times notes correctly that Walmart likes to hire military folks because they understand the importance of organizational discipline, respect authority, and are dedicated workers. So this makes sense. But it also is smart for Walmart to engage in these kinds of activities as a way of taking the edge off things like the foreign bribery accusations that are costing it time, money and probably a little bit of sleep.
Which prompted MNB user Tom Robbins to write:Your comments were fine until you got to "but-------".
It wasn't necessary. Your feelings about Walmart and bribery are clear to all of us who read MNB. The very Congress that is investigating is involved in far more "illicit" activity than Walmart.
I disagree. MNB is supposed to be "news in context, analysis with attitude." I think that's what the "but..." delivered. To ignore the context of this initiative would be to start writing with my eyes closed. (Since I am a hunt-and-peck typist, this would not be a good idea.)
For the record, I'm less interested in the Congressional investigation (which inevitably be tinged by politics from both sides of the aisle) than I am in the probes being done by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Another MNB user wrote:Bingo. You hit it on the head. Mexico and guns are on Walmart's mind and this is a PR move for sure.
MNB user Timothy Heyman wrote:Good publicity stunt. Vets will be coming home, Wal-Mart is probably short that many workers if not more than that in their stores/warehouses each day as, good workers and todays youth are not used the same sentence anymore. But what will the pay be? Livable wages or more of their workers on welfare and food stamp wages?
On another subject, noting a short piece in the Wall Street Journal
about a successful independent bookstore, MNB user Mark Baum wrote:Always good hear about an independent that is surviving/thriving against the onslaught of chains, big boxes, et al. We should all be supporting independent supermarkets, bookstores, hardware and jewelry stores, outdoor outfitters, and the like, or see the continued homogenization of the retail landscape. Do we really want anytown/everytown USA?
I believe that it is a good thing for consumers to support independents. It is the responsibility of independent retailers to give us a reason to do so.
From another reader:I liked the article about Green Apple books. For me, the best part of a bookstore is that as you ramble around, you are likely to have some type of book you did not plan on buying catch your eye. With so many different covers exposed, you could go in looking for a crime novel to read in the airplane and spy a business management novel that applies to an issue you have at work. Or a history of some sort that fills some knowledge gap. It is the opportunity for a serendipitous discovery which brings book lovers to book stores. Amazon can tell you what you have liked in the past and guess at what you might look for, but they can’t program the same level of surprise and delight at discovery.
Yesterday, in a piece about how horsemeat has been found in beef burgers in England and Ireland, I used the following headline:Go Right To The Source, But Don't Expect An Answer That You Endorse
I also said I couldn't wait to hear the explanation, and concluded: I know that people yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day, but I really want to hear what the explanation is for this.
Which led MNB user Gary Harris to write:
Thanks for always being on a steady course and never speaking unless you have something to say…
And MNB user LuRene Dille wrote:
I love it when you make me laugh right out loud.
Then my work here is done.
There were a number of people in the MNB community who got the references, which makes me very happy. Of course, of course.