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Got the following email about the call by New York and Illinois officials – responsible for ownership of Wal-Mart stocks in pension funds - for an federal investigation of Wal-Mart’s alleged surveillance of dissident shareholder groups:

One has to wonder why you have to check your brain at the door when entering public service. If the Comptroller in New and Chicago were regular investors and thought a stock was in trouble for this or that---just sell it. Stocks go up and down all the time. But I guess since we embrace, "It wasn't my fault but so-and-so's". You bought the stock with expectation of appreciation and dividends or some combination. If you made a bad pick, sell it and move on; but it looks better for you if you can blame the company instead of yourself. After all, every big company is a huge rip-off to working families.

Wal-Mart should hire one of the fired U.S. Attorneys to investigate the matter thoroughly; take corrective actions, then go private through an ESOP program. Then in sense the employees could nominally be in charge and rectify all the bad things wrong the UFCW and others complain about. Kill a flock of birds with just a couple of stones.

Just a thought.

And, regarding the continuing debate about deposed Wal-Mart marketing executive Julie Roehm, MNB user Patrick Snyder wrote:

Seems to me like everything I’ve read had Julie trying to do it “her way” before she even tried to learn about Wal-Mart and the WM way.

They didn’t get as big as they are overnight and certainly didn’t get to be #1 on Fortune 500 list by being stupid.

Perhaps Julie should have practiced one of the 7 habits of highly Effective people---

“Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.”

I don’t think painting your office pink on the first week of work says you are willing to listen?

Just my take…

Unless, of course, her mandate was to push and pull the company into new directions, and a pink office was meant to be a metaphor for something else.

On the subject of nurturing management talent, one MNB user wrote:

I do feel the need to give some praise to the company I work for. While I can't speak directly to official management training (managers being those that make 60k+) I am impressed with the training and opportunities given to employees who may or may not ever enter that range. Our company always tries hard to look internally to fill open positions, usually only turning outside when particular skills cannot be found. They also take a great deal of time to encourage their managers to talk with employees and work on development plans. Many, many people move from store to store, department to department, and even store to corporate to store, in order to learn as many facets of the business as they can; all in the effort to help them understand the business as a whole, and not just be isolated in their own little niche area. Another example of their commitment to employees at all levels, not just the high earners, is their special relationship with the Dale Carnegie franchise. Most of the people they send make in the 20-50k a year range. They send so many people through that program (which is great by the way) that they have a whole class dedicated to just our folks. On average there are about 35 people per class, and 4-5 classes per year, for a total of about 150 a year. That is a lot of people, and at about $1600 a person a lot of money.

This company talks all the time about how much they value their employees, and they do a wonderful job of living up to their words. They are all about differentiating themselves (as you so relentlessly advocate), not just in what they offer their customers but also what they offer their employees. This is one of many reasons why this company continues to grow rapidly and win industry, customer and employee plaudits (I'll let you guess as to which Northeast regional grocer I'm referring to).

Regarding the childhood obesity issue, MNB user David Farnam wrote:

I grew up in the generation of kids that have parents that lived through the depression with the mindset of eat everything on your plate…it may not be there tomorrow. God bless my fabulous parents but I still fight those demons. I still can’t eat at an all-you-can-eat place without overeating and now totally avoid them.

As foster parents we learned that kids eat what’s in front of them. We had to learn that if they don’t like it and won’t eat that it’s probably ok, they won’t starve. Of course we had to stick with it and complaints of hunger later were met with you should have eaten your dinner. Picky eaters just went hungry at our house and were ok with that knowing it was healthier for them. We made our mistakes as well…Chicken Picata with a lemon caper sauce was too much for a 3 and 6 year old’s palate. “Dat Sauwa!” is a reaction we still laugh about. Those little troopers suffered through it for strawberry shortcake. Glad we had desert that night.

I guess I’m saying it’s all about the parenting. Sure it’s never been tougher what with all the advertising, prepared meals, snacks, and time constraints. It might be time to give the Twinkies a time out. Better yet ban them from the house along with the soda, snacks, and cookies. They can’t eat them if they aren’t around but of course you can’t either.

Another MNB user recalled:

In my first job I worked for a public relations company which had Wheaties as an account. Wheaties/General Mills fully embraced "The President's Council on Physical Fitness" which was a Federal program (voluntary) to encourage kids to exercise more. It was very effective.

The focus on getting kids off their duffs and outside exercising their muscles (for increased mental and physical fitness) is not new. We Baby Boomers needed a little prodding too.

Finally, we wrote yesterday about how our daughter’s second-favorite fast food joint is Chipotle…and that her first is Walter’s Hot Dogs in Mamaroneck, New York.

Which prompted MNB user Joe Fraioli to write:

I am a big fan of Chipotle and was happy to see it in your headlines this morning. However I am from Mamaroneck NY and love Walter’s as well so now that I live in Phoenix you have made this day a long one as I think about the hotdogs.

For those of you who are also Walter’s fans and have moved away, you can order their mustard in a bottle to use at home, it is not the same but it helps.

Nothing better.

KC's View: