Appearing on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight a year ago, I noted that while Wal-Mart works fine on a logistical level, management "behaves like Inspector Clouseau." Wal-Mart corporate was not amused with me, but it was a prophetic statement.
As revealed by the intrepid Ann Zimmerman at the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart has a private group of ex-CIA and NSA spooks housed in a dark "rheum" called the "Bat-Cave" at corporate headquarters in Bentonville. What do these admirable folk do? Are they looking for bimbs? You know, the exploding kind?
No. They started by bugging the phewne conversations of a New York Times reporter they are not fond of. Then they travelled to South America to record audio of some hot minkey love between two employees. Ahh... the old take off all your clothes ploy!
Wal-Mart's crack spook squad sol-ved the problem of annoyed shareholders by drawing up personal profiles on them. Wal-Mart's PR firm told me several months back they knew which reporters I was talking to on the phewne. Uh-oh. I guess now I can't be pehrseuded to ruhn for the Peublic Office.
Pratfall after pratfall has befallen Wal-mart in the last 2 years. If management doesn't stop their Strangelovian paranoia and focus on becoming the corporation they really can be, they will follow the lead of Sears, Kmart and Montgomery Ward to irrelevance.
Millions shop at Wal-Mart because they financially need to. But do they feel good about it? Not anymeur.