“Where are all the customers? And where is all their money?” That was the plaintive tone struck by a Wal-Mart executive concerned about the giant retailer’s early February results, which he called “a total disaster” in a memo leaked by Bloomberg News. Investor panic caused the stock of America’s largest retailer to drop 3.8 percent at its low-point Friday, and led other retailers’ stocks to fall in sympathy. The obvious answer: the people at the lower rungs of the income ladder who constitute Wal-Mart’s customer base have been hit disproportionately by the increase in the payroll tax that took effect on January 1.
Wal-Mart’s Geiger in his e-mail urged employees to improve business by “fixing something that could really make a difference to our performance.” He quoted Tim Yatsko, the company’s executive vice president of global sourcing, saying: “We need to ‘stop the stupid.’”
Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a Feb. 1 officers meeting, the minutes of which were attached to Geiger’s e-mail, that the troubled economy leaves little room for internal errors.
“In an environment like this, we can’t afford to hurt ourselves,” Simon said, according to the minutes. “Self- inflicted wounds are our biggest risk and our toughest enemy.”
Could these greedy sobs be any more pathetic? Maybe if they paid all their employees a living wage, they could afford to do a little shopping.