retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's story about how Walmart is working on solving its out-of-stocks problem, including the adding of labor hours, a move that is contrary to recent trends, one MNB user wrote:

As a lifelong retailer I can't believe that they will be able to actually add labor hours. It is exactly what has to happen though, in order for them to differentiate themselves from everyone else. I have managed a Dollar General, Kmart, Target and now work for a specialty retailer. It has been my experience that there is only as much "pie" to go around as the bean counters say and that if one area gets more then someone else suffers.

Were Walmart to actually add staffing, many of their consumer issues- like no help to be found, long lines, etc., would be addressed and solved to an extent. The problem lies with the detached shareholders and the senior management that are beholden to them. The shareholders will not want to lose one penny and so will fight this initiative if it does not produce instant measurable (read profitable) results.

Large scale retailers are no longer serving their customers or employees anymore. They serve the shareholder and I don't think that the shareholder either works or shops there….

We also had a story the other day about a Walmart online video celebrating the value of work, which led another MNB reader to write:

You are correct that this is a beautiful, inspiring video that highlights the commitment and dedication of individuals and shines a light on the struggle some people face each day simply trying to live. Unfortunately it is only a slick marketing tool and not the reality of Wal-Mart.  On average, it costs the US taxpayer $6,000 per Wal-Mart employee in subsidies for economic assistance. That is almost one million dollars in subsidies per store. If Wal-Mart were really committed to the American worker, maybe they could pay a living wage and save the videos for the lunchroom.

On another subject, a note from MNB reader Rich Heiland:

Am I getting senile or have I been reading about management problems, customer complaints and serious issues at Toys-R-Us for what? 15 years? I am amazed they are still around.

I'm not sure they are quite to the dead-company-walking stage. But close.

Regarding my piece about baseball the other day, an MNB reader wrote:

The Old Ball game ain't what it used to be!

Spring training (was) still going on and the Dodgers are 2-0.

What happened to opening of the season always being in Cincinnati? It was a great tradition and one that I miss a lot and I don't even live in Cincinnati!

I vote Bud Selig as worst Commissioner in baseball history!

He is another leader who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing!

KC's View: