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| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


June 12, 2005

Sticking To What You Know

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

“Wal-Mart Looking for Polish,” declared a headline in The Washington Post. I had problems trying to understand why Wal-Mart was suddenly looking for people of central European descent until I read further.

The chain is faced with lackluster performance and declining profits, says its chief executive. Maybe over building is the problem. I can drive from Kent Island to Salisbury and count five huge stores in that sparsely populated region; and that does not count the huge complex in Somerset, Maryland’s poorest county.

I am waiting for plans to be unveiled for the opening of the Middletown, Wolfsville, Boonsboro, Beaver Creek, Catoctin National Forest and Funkstown facilities to be announced.

In order to stem the tide from customers rushing to Target, the empire will begin to offer upscale products to its customers. Ohhh! They want to polish their image like in furniture polish, it finally dawned on me.

One of the major announced changes is the introduction of 550-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. I did not know that the desert country made sheets, let alone counted the number of threads. A sheet is a sheet is a sheet regardless of the number of threads and I really don’t care if it comes from pyramid country. As long as they fit the bed, which sometimes, for me, is a real challenge since I have never understood the concept of “irregular,” and they don’t feel like sandpaper after I have doused them with a bottle of fabric softer during the rinse cycle.

They also plan to add fake wooden floors and a selection of lime and baby blue clothing to evoke the inside of a boutique. I have problems with lime green hunting apparel clustered with guns and ammo. Baby blue does not seem to be a color that compliments bow hunting, fishing or other outdoor activities.

I don’t think many alpha sportsmen/women would enjoy a shopping experience in a boutique mode. Research has indicated most men shop Wal-Mart for the cheap underwear and socks and changing their colors to lime green and baby blue would be a disastrous mistake.

The chief also thinks Wal-Mart needs to have better customer service, which translates into more sales clerks, which translates into commission-only sales clerks, which translates into being bothered to death by owners of McMansions in Middletown who have to take a weekend job to make the mortgage payments.

They also want to add 42-inch plasma color televisions – in cabinets colored baby blue and lime green, I assume – and become “trendy” in an effort to add more affluent customers to their customer base. Trendy for me is K-Mart, where former convict Martha Stewart-designed clothes from a West Virginia jail cell. I guess orange jumpsuits, similar to what the prisoners wear on the Law and Order television series, will become her latest K-Mart fashion statement for fall.

The Wal-Mart big wigs acknowledged they have a bit of an image problem. They stated that lawsuits brought by female employees citing discrimination and illegal janitors cleaning the stores have created image problems. They told the workers they are under intense scrutiny.

That’s it! Blame the employees and pass the buck down to the lowest level, while upper management pays themselves enough money to buy the 42-inch color plasma televisions for each room of their McMansions, and trendy clothing for their gym-bunny, toy-boy hugging wives, who sleep with their lovers on 550-thread count Egyptian sheets in baby blue colors.

Wal-Mart should stick with what they know best. Cheap underwear and socks.



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