10-09-2014 (Sarcasm On) Merry Christmas!   Leave a comment

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We’ve reached mid-October and I’m starting to see indications of that holiday freight train that is rumbling full speed towards us. I was tasked with an errand last night that required me to pickup my better-half who was attending a wedding of a co-worked in a town north of here.  Darkness had fallen and our trip home took us through a number of neighborhoods and small towns. We were within a quarter mile of home when I spotted something that sent a cold shiver down my spine . . .  a lighted Christmas tree in front of a neighbor’s home. These neighbors are the newest members of our little community and are folks who love to celebrate each and every holiday with decorations of all sorts hanging from trees, shrubs, and anything else that doesn’t move too much.  It can be cute but also it’s also more than a little annoying just like that tree was last night.

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During some of my shopping  forays in recent weeks I’ve observed the expected Halloween and Thanksgiving craziness but Christmas rearing it’s ugly head this early in October is ridiculous. Having worked for many rears for retail companies I understand the management mentality in getting the jump on competitors.  It just seems they’ve all picked up some of the more bothersome bad habits of the king of all retailers, Walmart.  They seem to think that anything that Walmart does automatically become the final word in making money.  Having spent six months in a Walmart management training program allows me to proclaim that Walmart is just as screwed up as any other company.  Their saving grace secret is their size.  When you’re as big as Walmart it’s much easier to  hide your screw ups and bad decisions.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that Sam Walton is probably spinning in his grave after watching what has gone on with his company.  On my first day at Sam’s Club I was handed a paperback book on the life and times of their founder Sam Walton.  I was ordered to read that book immediately and was questioned heavily on it’s contents throughout the training period.  Almost all of the training tapes that were in use were tapes made by Walton himself who at the time had been dead for more than ten years.  I was being trained by a dead guy in Walmart’s lame attempt to brainwash me into their world of retail. Just before my graduation from that training program I was on my way to work and wishing I wasn’t. Ten minutes after I arrived I walked into the General Manger’s office and resigned. I walked away and never looked back. They only succeeded in making me unhappy, miserable, and just a little crazy. I’ve never regretted my decision.

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This isn’t a rant just about Walmart but a general disappointment with the cynical approach taken by almost every retailer. I think we can thank Wall Street and the Harvard Business School for a lot of these issues. The stock market virtually requires companies to meet expectations regardless of the methods used.  The Harvard MBA’s that I’ve been involved with over the years were all young bean-counters of the worst sort.  They’d gut a company, fire any number of employees, cut benefits, just about anything to help meet those Wall Street projections.  People are just numbers to them and are treated accordingly.  Is it any wonder things are the way they are.

So after saying all of that I hope you’re prepared for the avalanche of Christmas nonsense headed your way.  Ten glorious weeks of Santa Clause, presents, endless TV commercials, and a hit to your wallet that will be larger than ever before.  Oh yeah, I recently heard a nasty rumor that once upon a time Christmas had something to do with religion.  How stupid am I?

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