Time for Another News Roundup

    

The Customer Service of the Year Award

And the winner is …. Australia’s Georgina Fatseas-Sano, owner of a store called Celiac Supplies. She charges $5 to anyone who enters her store claiming to be ‘just looking’. She declares people who look but don’t buy to be “rat bags”. She has had “a gut full of working and not getting paid.” She’s not there “to dispense a charity service.”

Calling everyone who doesn’t buy from you a ‘rat bag’ is a rather unique approach to business. She may be onto something, but I have to admit it's hard for me to see how having a pop-up on Amazon for anyone who leaves the Simple Excellence page without buying saying – “hey you ratbag!” is going to help me sell more books.

They’ve Got A Shareholder Issue On Their Hands

P&G has led the way to selling laundry detergent in pods – pre-set doses that assure the right amount of detergent to do the job, which means less wasted detergent … and that has James Craigie, the boss at competitor Church & Dwight, fuming. “Pod is killing the laundry detergent category,” he says. “New products ought to expand the revenue pie for manufacturers and retailers, not shrink it, he said. That is what innovation always did in the past.”

P&G creating greater value for customers by helping them eliminate the waste of detergent doesn’t sit well with Adam Lowry, co-founder of Method Products Inc., which makes highly concentrated detergents that are dispensed like hand soap via a few small pumps either. He said, “If you decided to go to a format that eliminated all the consumers overdosing, you have a shareholder issue on your hands.”

Interesting business model at Church & Dwight and Method Products where creating value for customers goes against the grain of CEO and shareholder interests.

Outsourcing … to Customers

Apparently the Walmart execs do their shopping on Amazon or at Target. If they visited their own stores they would know that service is not exactly their hallmark. What Walmart pays people to do is keep the shelves loaded, and little else. So when they whack their headcount the inevitable result is trouble keeping their shelves stocked.

Says Walmart meat and dairy stocker Anthony Falletta, “The merchandise is in the store; it just can’t make the jump from the shelf in the back to the one in the front. There’s not the people to do it.”

“At a Feb. 1 gathering of Walmart managers, U.S. Chief Executive Officer Bill Simon said Walmart was “getting worse” at stocking shelves, according to minutes of the meeting obtained by Bloomberg News. Simon said ‘self-inflicted wounds’ were Walmart’s ‘biggest risk’ and that an executive vice president had been appointed to fix the restocking problem, according to the minutes.”

Not to worry, however. They won’t need stuff on the shelves with their new home delivery scheme: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers.”

According to Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, “Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home. Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers' shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages.”

There you go … the former employees can now shop at Walmart, rather than work there, and get a part time gig dropping stuff off on their way home.

Backing Manufacturing

On the bright side, Lloyd’s – the big British bank – says that, while overall bank lending in the UK is down, its ‘Manufacturing Commitment program is right on track. Last September the bank announced plans to lend £1 billion – about a billion and a half $US – UK manufacturers. They are halfway there with £700 million loaned to manufacturers so far.

One for the Break Room Bulletin Board

Time lists the 9 Core Beliefs of Truly Horrible Bosses. Here they are. I can imagine more than a few folks are going to print this one out and post it anonymously on the wall in the break room in hopes that the boss sees it and takes it to heart.

My particular favorite is #5 - I don’t decide until I have ALL the data; followed closely by #9 - I’m so important I don’t have to be polite.

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