business news in context, analysis with attitude

As mentioned above, we got a number of emails about Wal-Mart’s surveillance activities…

Here is a typical response from one MNB user:

Wal-Mart's actions make perfect sense. They are no different than any other retailer. I have been called up by security personnel from various retailers from time to time wondering how I found out about something. One of my former employers did almost exactly what Wal-Mart is doing, even as to go so far as to hire ex-FBI personnel. Private investigators would follow employees in question. That's what the police do to criminal suspects in the public sector. A $300 billion company should probably have a security force of several thousand people. If a state has a $300 billion budget, think about how much state police would be hired along with crime investigators? A company the size of Wal-Mart surely has many serious ongoing crimes taking place. No different than society in general.

Employers need to know what is going on with regards to information being sent in and out of their company in emails and on the Internet. The same with phone calls. If employees want to make a personal call, payphones are generally provided.

Gosh you would be appalled if you knew the what extreme measures some of my former employers took just to spy on the competition!

Y’know, there are a lot of people out there who wonder why company employees may not be fully committed to their jobs and employers…but maybe it is because employers aren’t doing anything to engender loyalty.

If we had employees, we’d trust them. We’d believe in them. And we’d do everything possible to create an environment in which they could not just do their jobs, but live their lives.

Is that such a silly and naïve concept?

MNB user Ken Chadwick wrote:

The first thing that popped into my mind was the movie "The Firm".

Perhaps Tom Cruise could make a sequel, employed as a corporate lawyer for a large CPG company who stumbles into shadows, scandal, and intrigue involving the sale of the Plan B pill at corporate pharmacies, falls in love with his legal assistant, lets his NRA membership lapse, and stops going to the gym in favor of long mornings eating sensual, high-calorie, non-organic breakfasts in bed.

Another MNB user wrote:

I agree with your statement from your April 4 MNB edition, Wal-Mart appears to have gone "completely nuts" when it comes to security.

I read an article in The Blade April 1, 2007 edition that detailed Wal-Mart’s past security programs. The head of that department is Kenneth Senser a former top official from the CIA and FBI.

We pointed out last week that even as management and labor negotiate in Southern California, Tesco keeps moving ahead with its plans to open dozens of stores later this year. MNB user Thomas Murphy responded:

Your points are accurate, however your comment on Tesco may be a little off. You are correct that Tesco is moving forward, but you failed to point out that Tesco is trying to avoid unionization. We could chose to chastise either the union or the chains on this one, but the real story is that Tesco must not feel that a unionized workforce does anything for them. It will be interesting to see how the communities respond...the we vs. they mentality is a killer for all concerned!

You’re right, we didn’t mention that…though we have said in numerous other stories that Tesco seems intent on avoiding unionization.

Our guess: if Tesco has a truly innovative offering, consumers won’t give a damn whether its employees hold a union card.

We keep pushing for companies to define loyalty marketing in different ways, which led MNB user Duane Kolsrud to write:

Here’s something to think about that was told to me by a client that has had a loyalty program in place for more than 30 years at his stores:

1. If starting a loyalty program today, do not expect to see results from it for at least five years. It is not a short-term solution.

2. For every one loyal customer you lose (for whatever reason), it takes five brand new customers to make up that person’s volume in your store. Basically stated, concentrate on customer retention- it costs less and is much more profitable.
KC's View: