Monthly Archives: November 2012

Do Sellers Need to Act in the Public Interest?

 

Putting “should” considerations aside, on the hole, do you believe acting contrary to public interest really hurts sellers? This question is really about buyers and whether they still care.

I can think of several examples that might support both “yes” and “no” answers. Looking back just a week, it doesn’t appear the Walmart job action affected much – in part because it didn’t attract enough workers. But on the flip side, Costco financially outperforms Walmart, and I believe very positive worker attitude driven by above industry scale wages and benefits has much to do with that (not that many people know that Costco pays better, we just see the positive effects while shopping). Another example that sticks in my mind is Target stupidly contributing to a PAC opposing marriage equality. The public outcry was intense and forced Target to give to gay rights causes and start carrying merchandise such as same-sex greeting cards.

The Target and Walmart examples give contradictory answers, and I’d like your observations and input.

How Would You React to a Black Friday Strike Against Walmart?

 

Judging by the number of class action employee suits filed against it (many won by plaintiffs), Walmart may be the most abusive major employer in the U.S. Walmart store workers are planning a one-day “strike” on Black Friday to protest benefits and working conditions (for international members, “Black Friday” is the day after our Thursday Thanksgiving holiday when Christmas shopping “officially” starts, and it’s the heaviest retail sales day of the year). Because Walmart is 100% non-union, participation levels are anyone’s guess, but the organizers are promising to have pickets outside stores, and they predict enough people won’t show up for work to cripple operations.

Please put on your own personal shopping hat and shed your business identity. As a shopper, how will you react if this action proceeds as planned? What impact will it have on your view of Walmart? Please comment generously. This is book research. :-)

Thanks,

Dick

Why Are Companies Feeling “Entitled” to Their Past Revenue/Margins?

One of our major utility companies just filed a rate increase proposal to make up for lower energy demand (they’re big on conservation). Interesting logic and even more interesting expectation. Likewise, we’re hearing large banks say they have to “make up” for lost revenues after being stopped from collecting unsupported fees. In both cases, companies are considering current income/profitability as an “entitlement.

 

Does this strike you as decidedly un-capitalistic, even for a regulated utility?