business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reported yesterday about how some Wal-Mart employees are complaining about what they believe is the retailer's plan to implement a new personnel policy, requiring full-time workers to rotate their shifts rather than have long-term shift stability, is raising hackles among some of its employees.

One MNB user with intimate knowledge of this shift offered his own perspective:

So, what other new policy will Wal-Mart top, out of touch, management hatch? This one will be interesting to watch.

Now, you get a set schedule by being one of the few long-time associates in a department. When I transferred to Roswell from Virginia, even with nine years service, I was the newest and worked whatever shift wasn't covered by three others who had set shifts and set days off, of their choosing.

In three years I only came close to a set schedule once because of the department manager's insistence that it was best, in his POV, for the department. When he transferred, my schedule went back to 100% of whatever the computer figured was needed and didn't cause the Asst. Mgr., who had to hand schedule any deviation to whatever the computer spewed forth, any additional work on his part.

Most associates, I believe, can't afford to stop working completely and finding another job for many is out of the question of it being anywhere near equal. So they will have to live with it; but I'll bet they don't work anywhere near as hard as they did previously.

Scheduling was one of many reasons I left Wal-Mart two months ago.

Losing good and dedicated employees is no way for Wal-Mart to grow.

On the subject of how rising gas prices will affect consumers, one MNB user wrote:

Not to mention that the cost of getting goods to the Supermarket via truck is going to be reflected in rising food prices. The cost of fuel for the farmer will cause a rise in costs on his end too. The cost of getting product to any retailer using the trucking industry is going to put most of us on a budget diet. We’ll be spending more on food even if we purchase less items. The same goes for clothing and those occasional jaunts to the fast food place. Their prices will rise too. Everything we buy will be costing us more because of the rise in the price of gas. It’s more than the snowball effect, it’s an avalanche!

We've suggested that online shopping could increase because of the high gas prices, which led one MNB user to write:

Shopped online recently for this very reason. Needed a hard to find item and the closest retailers who handled it are a 30 mile round trip from my home. Assuming one of them had it in stock - I was looking at spending $60 plus tax, gas, time, etc. Went online and within five minutes I found three retailers who had the item in stock - and at one it was ON SALE! So I spent $50 + $5 shipping and I look forward to said item arriving at my doorstep shortly!

I even have the option of sitting in my porch swing, sipping an ice cold glass of sweet tea and enjoying the beautiful spring weather when the UPS driver arrives!

We had a story yesterday about how consumers rank supermarkets highly in the area of customer service, but not all MNB users agreed with the rating:

I was surprised to see that supermarkets ranked high for customer service. I guess I would be one of the 8% that say that they do a bad job. The only time I see anyone in the store that I shop at (Kroger) that is willing to help me find things is the customer service desk. I can never find anyone in the aisles - and the butcher doesn't know where the candied yams are....

I don't shop often - only when my wife need me to pick things up on the way home. I am more willing to stop at the c-store at the top of our street for a list of items that includes toilet paper, ketchup and a gallon of milk - a pay a 20% premium on it - than go to the grocery store. At least at the c-store I can find the item, or a person to help me find the item, quickly.

MNB reported yesterday about how Kraft Foods shareholders rejected the call by one stockholder that would have had the company abandon its sponsorship of the Chicago-hosted 2006 Gay Games and future competitions because she said the sponsorship was inconsistent with the company's mission.

MNB user Joe Fraioli wrote:

I would like to know this persons interpretation of the mission? Is it to involve yourself in other people’s lives and have issues with them without even knowing them? Glad this person was defeated….Thanks Kraft, go ahead and make our kids as fat as you want as long as you don’t let these nuts dictate what you do.

And MNB user Sriram Daita wrote:

Was the shareholder related to Keith Hernandez by any chance?

Funny line. Wish we'd thought of it.

KC's View: