Gini Dietrich

The PR Nightmare for Walmart

By: Gini Dietrich | April 24, 2012 | 
118

I would be remiss if I didn’t blog about the PR nightmare Walmart has caused itself by allegedly covering up the bribes they paid Mexican officials in exchange for getting building permits faster and other favors to help it aggressively expand in the region.

Late last week the New York Times revealed a Walmart attorney received an alarming email from a former executive at the company’s Mexico subsidiary, which described how the company had orchestrated a campaign of bribery in order to win market share. The problem? This happened in 2005.

That same year, the attorney dispatched a committee to Mexico City and found, yes indeed, there was suspicion both Mexican and U.S. laws had been broken. The lead investigator at the time recommended Walmart continue the investigation to confirm suspicions.

Instead, Walmart shut it down.

The campaign of bribery isn’t the PR crisis…it’s in how it was handled. Rather, in how it was not handled.

I’m not an investor relations communication professional, but I do know enough to know Walmart has violated the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which was instituted in 2002 in the wake of accounting scandals at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other giant organizations.

Sarbanes-Oxley requires corporations and their auditors to report on the company’s internal controls for financial reporting. It also requires CEOs and CFOs certify the material accuracy of financial reports.

If these allegations are true, Walmart has run afoul of all of these provisions…and the responsibility lies at the feet of its current chief executive, who had just been promoted to run all international divisions in 2005…which Mexico falls under.

If Walmart is found to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids paying bribes to foreign officials, there will be huge fines, its executives will lose their jobs, or they may even go to jail.

And the giant retailer will be left with a PR crisis that will hurt its reputation for years to come, not to mention the distraction the company is facing for most of the rest of this year.

It’s been reported Lee Scott, the company’s CEO in 2005 and current board member, called a meeting in early 2006 to discuss the findings of the investigation committee and decided to hand it back to the Mexico subsidiary’s general counsel (who has been named in the investigation). From there it went nowhere.

I know I’ve been accused of being ethical to a fault, but I really don’t understand how you can sit in a board meeting and decide not to do anything, when it’s pretty clear there have been bribes.

Did we not learn from Arthur Andersen and Bridgestone/Firestone and Enron and WorldCom and John Edwards and Bill Clinton, and, and, and?

The problem is never in the issue at hand. The problem is always in how it’s handled when the truth comes out.

Why is it so hard for human beings to say: We made a mistake, we’re fixing it, and we’re sorry?

Are we so ego-centric we think we won’t get caught?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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118 Comments on "The PR Nightmare for Walmart"

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burgessct
burgessct
4 years 5 months ago

There is a word to describe this lapse in judgement: Greed.
One asks, what were you thinking? Answer: They weren’t.
So now that they have wrapped themselves up in FCPA violations, their “spin cycle” will be long, arduous and totally self-inflicted.
Thanks for a great post
Christopher (@burgessct)

KenMueller
4 years 5 months ago

 @burgessct Greed is really at the bottom of all of these problems. So sad.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @burgessct It’s really bothersome to me. They have to know they’re going to get caught. It’s so much easier to deal with it in 2005 than in 2012.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

 @burgessct Oh, they were thinking. Thinking about deliberately hiding the truth! Arrogance. 

JeffRice64
JeffRice64
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich It’s impossible 2 tweet about the injustices done by American Co. 2 keep wages low. Walmart, Mandarin 4 cheap goods.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@JeffRice64 It’s pretty bad for them right now

JeffRice64
JeffRice64
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich I’ve seen other ‘calamitous’ events before that didn’t deter shoppers 1 whit. Somethin 4 nothin rules among everyday people.

JeffRice64
JeffRice64
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Even my acidic tweets have no effect on the every day person. All they do is rile me up. Me. Only.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@JeffRice64 LOL!

JeffRice64
JeffRice64
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich I’m surprised I didn’t use the ‘F’ word n all grammatical forms n tweeting about Walmart.

hriefs
hriefs
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Nice post. Should be “Arthur Andersen” instead of “Anderson Consulting”

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@hriefs Oh good catch. Thank you!

hriefs
hriefs
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich It’s still fresh having worked on it at Ketchum way back when.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@hriefs I would imagine so!

SnezanaSubotic
SnezanaSubotic
4 years 5 months ago

RT @ginidietrich The PR Nightmare for Walmart http://t.co/sHHYmLXz

RickCaffeinated
RickCaffeinated
4 years 5 months ago

Gini – love love love the article and the issues you address. But the grammar nazi in me asks that a comma be removed: “Late last week, the New York Times revealed, in September 2005, a Walmart attorney…” – that first comma makes it read like “late last week in Sept 2005”. I know – I’m sorry – forest for the punctuation trees. 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @RickCaffeinated Good catch. Thanks.

RickCaffeinated
RickCaffeinated
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich you’re going to block me, but … your edit still reads like “recently” and “Sept 2005” – recommended: “The New York Times recently revealed **that**, in September 2005, a Walmart attorney received…” – or, “The New York Times recently revealed a Walmart attorney, in September 2005, received…” 
 
Sorry – trying to be a good grammarist 🙂 – thanks again!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @RickCaffeinated OK. I had my team change it as I’m on the road. I can’t do anything about it right now so you’ll have to close your eyes past it until I can get to it.

RickCaffeinated
RickCaffeinated
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich Aquaman is probably sending giant squid after me right now…. 🙂

jasonkonopinski
4 years 5 months ago

The language of FCPA might play to WalMart’s favor here, quite honestly. “Facilitating payments” aren’t exactly bribes, to my limited understanding, so the accusations of bribery *might* be a bit premature. Not really my speciality area. 😉
 
I did catch an NPR report on this story yesterday – at one point, Walmart de Mexico was opening a store every day for an entire year, in an economy 1/10th the size of the US’s. That’s jaw-dropping. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @jasonkonopinski Based on everything I’ve read since last Thursday (and it’s a lot), there are very specific bribery charges that are being investigated. They were brought to light in 2005 and then nothing was done about them. So it’s more around that than the exact charges. It’s always about how it’s handled, than about the issue to begin with. That’s when it becomes a PR issue separate from the legal issue.

Maranda
4 years 5 months ago
This isn’t the first PR debacle Wal-Mart has been in the middle of and it won’t be the last.  They pay low wages, work you to the bone, have been sued for not promoting females into positions of management. Sure, we’re all upset and angry about this one – but pull up in a parking lot on a Saturday afternoon and it’ll be pretty clear just how much the general population cares about their alleged bad business dealings.    It’s sad because the business that Sam Walton created was one based on completely different principals and greed has clouded everyone’s… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @Maranda I think the difference here is the executives could go to jail. That’s the first time that charge as been on the horizon. And, like many companies and politicians before then, we see what happens when the general public finds out about that.

Maranda
4 years 5 months ago
 @ginidietrich Personally, I think you’re right and I have a feeling that this will end up going much higher up in the long run. However, I think it is important to note that Wal-Mart is the only game in town in many places. For example, the community that I am from does not have a Wal-Mart directly in town and they have access to a family owned grocery store, but since this store has the most ridiculous markup ever, people chose to drive 30-45 minutes to get to Wal-Mart. That won’t change just because of this. In fact, most people will probably never know what’s… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @Maranda It will change if this causes Walmart to go out of business. That might be a bit of a stretch, but they’re going to be distracted with this all year. And, if it goes further, they’ll start looking at the practices of the company in all countries. It could very easily mean they go out of business. And then local businesses will reign again.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 5 months ago
This is part and parcel to the growth at any cost strategy that companies seem to think they need to maintain to keep share prices going ever higher. I don’t know what the answer is. My guess is that it isn’t just WalMart, they are simply the ones that got caught. Will people notice? I don’t know. I really wonder if they care as long as they can continue to stampede all over one another for $4 waffle irons on Black Friday.   Side note: companies are constantly complaining about government regulations being a cost to doing business. And yet,… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @jenzings I do think people will notice if their executives go to jail. Look what happened to the companies before them. I just don’t understand how you find out a subsidiary is doing this and sweep it under the rug. It’s SO EASY to say, “We just discovered this is happening and this is what we’re doing about it.” You become a hero at that point – looking out for your customers and all of that. But noooooo. 
 
And I’m with you on the self-policing thing. In fact, it is an ongoing topic of conversation with one of our clients (they agree). 

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich What kills me is they PROMOTED and GAVE MORE RESPONSIBILITY to the very people that initiated the bribes. And the guy that blew the whistle? Discredited, blamed, marginalized. Classic bullshit.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @rustyspeidel Yeah…the GC who seems to be to blame is now in one of the highest leadership positions. It’s bad.

rachaelseda
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich But when you did it and you know it’s your fault and that you let it happen…i.e. when your hands are all dirty…it’s harder to say “We just discovered this…” because well if it’s a lie it’s easier to just sweep it under the rug now isn’t it?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @rachaelseda I mean, they should have said they (the U.S.) discovered it in 2005 because they did. The Mexico branch is a subsidiary, run by a completely different executive team. It was a discovery they swept under the rug, but they could have done the honorable thing and come out with it instead.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @rachaelseda I don’t mean to diminish the import of this whole ordeal (because, it’s definitely BAD), but there’s a real culture of corruption and bribery that exists in Mexico. If you’re not greasing palms, things aren’t getting done.  
 
There’s a larger conversation to be had about the culture ‘in country’ that contributes to the larger problem of greed. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @jasonkonopinski  @rachaelseda Sure, but it violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Just because it happens doesn’t make it right. And, when it’s discovered, you don’t send it back to the guys are suspected of doing it. You open an investigation and you make it stop.

HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago
I hope the upper management goes to jail and gets beat up and assaulted in jail. Considering the damage they have had on families and workers and communities in pursuit of profits while holding the bible they have earned this. Walmart is a skeezy sleazy company and it was only time before something happened to come back and get them kharma always comes around.   Guilty until proven innocent in my book. I feel if they were ultra christian conservative speak family values out of one mouth corner while they destroy them out the other mouth corner I wouldn’t be… Read more »
HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago
I hope the upper management goes to jail and gets beat upin jail. Considering the damage they have had on families and workers and communities world wide in pursuit of profits while holding the bible they have earned this. Walmart is a skeezy sleazy company and it was only time before something happened to come back and get them kharma always comes around.   Guilty until proven innocent in my book. I feel if they were not ultra christian conservative speak family values out of one mouth corner while they destroy them out the other mouth corner I wouldn’t be… Read more »
HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago
I hope the upper management goes to jail and gets beat up in jail. Considering the damage they have caused  families and workers and communities world wide in pursuit of profits while holding the bible they have earned this. Walmart is a skeezy sleazy company and it was only time before something happened to come back and get them kharma always comes around.   Guilty until proven innocent in my book. I feel if they were not ultra christian conservative speak family values out of one mouth corner while they destroy them out the other mouth corner I wouldn’t be… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM It makes me angry because it’s all so unavoidable. Come out in 2005/2006 and say this is what you’ve found and you’re a hero. Sweep it under the rug and you go to jail. Why is that so hard for people to get?

HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich the delay makes it worse. What sucks is every B-School Undergrad Degree requires an ETHICS class. We have laws that punish. and who also gets screwed when this stuff happens? The PR?marketing folks who now have to react and fix ‘the image’

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM Yep. You’re exactly right.

rachaelseda
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich Because people tend to think they’re invincible, especially those in power. It’s unfortunate and despicable…but in the end those who can’t truly handle the responsibility that power brings, are revealed. It’s crazy to see greed and conceit consume people but what sucks is all the innocent people who are hurt along the way.

HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago

 @rachaelseda  @ginidietrich and if the executives don’t go to jail this blows up the whole law forbidding bribery of foreign governments and officials. So if I was Walmart execs I would be crapping in my pants because I seriously do not believe they can let some underlings pay for the misdeeds. It will green light chaos.
 
Though we tend to allow CEO’s to get away with sleazy work in the US this is different in my opinion.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM  @rachaelseda It’s going to be interesting to watch, that’s for sure. There are plenty of people in the U.S. who want to see them fall. I wonder if that will have any affect on how this plays out?

HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @rachaelseda I took a screen shot of Gini’s comment ‘Yep You’re exactly right’ and I blew it up wall sized and it is now my office wallpaper and also now the top of my letterhead.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM  @rachaelseda Bwahahaha! I just spit Cheerios at my screen. LOL!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

@HowieSPM @rachaelseda @ginidietrich They promoted the perpetrator!!

rachaelseda
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @HowieSPM HAHAHA LOL hilarious!

ladylaff
ladylaff
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM Totally agree with your point about hypocrisy and so-called family values.  I’m all about peace so don’t wish anyone to get beat up on jail.  But I do sincerely hope some of the other inmates fart in their general direction.

HLeichsenring
HLeichsenring
4 years 5 months ago

RT @ginidietrich: The PR Nightmare for Walmart http://t.co/BCu9MjxI #PR

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

Dammit! I KNEW you were gonna write about this before I could!!! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @rustyspeidel Where were you going to write it??

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
4 years 5 months ago
Maybe I’m not giving Wal Mart’s clientele enough credit here, but in the grand scheme of things will the majority of their customers really care about this in the end? Do you think it’s possible that Wal Mart made a calculated guess that they would take the risk of getting caught to more rapidly expand their Latin American foothold by banking on the public’s apathy or ignorance on how this would ultimately affect their own lives?   This is a great case study on lack of investor relations PR and questionable ethics, and I suppose that by writing about it,… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @John_Trader1 I do think they will…if the executives go to jail. This is bigger than sleazy work practices and no benefits. This could take the company down completely. 

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 5 months ago
 @ginidietrich  @John_Trader1 Gini, you’ve said that this could take down WalMart a couple of times–do you really think so? I guess I’m of the mind that: 1) they’d be more likely to do a clean-house type thing first, and 2) *maybe* rename/rebrand the company.   The jolt to the economy–number of people fired, etc. if the company just went under would be staggering. It’s honestly not something I’d like to see, nor am I hoping it will happen.   It also important to note–I think–the good that WalMart does, and I know I’m in the minority when I point these things… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @jenzings  @John_Trader1 I do think it’s going to affect them significantly. They could go the way of Arthur Andersen and rebrand themselves. If their executives go to jail, the company will be in shreds.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 5 months ago

 @jenzings
 @John_Trader1 @ginidietrich I have to disagree with you Gini (as odd as that sounds!) You invest money with Arthur Anderson and Walmart providesy you with savings on everyday purchases.  Customers may “tsk tsk” them…but will it stop them from entering their stores.  I think not. A deal is a deal is a deal.
 
However, the other point I’d like to raise is this: when it comes to providing PR/crisis comms counsel to major corporate players like Walmart…perhaps we as PR pros should add in the “just because you are big and powerful, you are not beyond reproach…or the law” strategy.  Hmmmm….

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @ElissaFreeman  @jenzings Same thing happened to Bridgestone/Firestone (and I worked on that crisis). I don’t know…based on experience, I think this has bigger implications. 
 
I know the communication pros aren’t typically at the table during these conversations and many are fearful of their jobs if they speak up, but I do think it’s our jobs to say exactly what you’ve said here, Elissa. 

ExtremelyAvg
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich I hope they don’t go under.  I one of the poor people who buys his groceries there, because I get more.  I wish they hadn’t bribed people, but ultimately, when I’m hungry I just want inexpensive food (and grotesquely expensive blueberries, which are super  yummy)
 
Someday, I hope to be in a financial position to be unaffected if they go down, but for now, I still need them.  Of course, whatever the fallout, it should take a while.  BP is still standing.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @ExtremelyAvg I wonder why their blueberries are expensive?

ExtremelyAvg
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich Oh, I think blueberries are always expensive.  I don’t think it is just Wal-mart.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @ExtremelyAvg Stupid blueberry agents.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich @ElissaFreeman @jenzings The only thing that will stop them is devastating legal or financial consequences. Ethical dilemmas seem lost on many public company execs these days. Bank bailout. No consequences. Bonuses paid. WalMart bribes, exec gets promoted or assigned his own investigation.

ladylaff
ladylaff
4 years 5 months ago
As an obsessive watcher of the Leveson Inquiry on ethics in the media, which has at its heart, the analysis of News International, a subsidiary of News Corp., I am utterly fascinated by this topic.  News Corp is now up to its neck in doo doo because employees of News International have been, among other things, including phone and internet hacking, have been bribing the POLICE to obtain exclusive access to information about crimes in order to sell more newspapers.  In many documented cases paparazzi arrived at crime scenes BEFORE the actual police.  It is a crime and assault on… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @ladylaff I wonder what would happen if we bribed the police for a news scoop? Oh yeah…we’d be arrested. You’re absolutely right in that the slow, painful death is always more costly than just coming forward to begin with. Makes me crazy.

VickiDay
VickiDay
4 years 5 months ago

Very interesting comment in the Times Business leader column by the editor Ian King about this – he says the same as you (due to pay wall can’t do the link online) but also that these allegations will be used as a stick to beat it every time it seeks to expand.
That may not be an unwelcome development for investors , many of whom are unhappy at the pace of Wal-Mart’s international expansion not all of which has proved profitable .
In the UK we have four large supermarket groups and Wal-Mart trades under the name of Asda  

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @VickiDay It’ll be interesting to see how this affects their international expansion. If they did, indeed, violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, that article you mention is dead on right.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@RickCaffeinated Ha!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@MeredithLEaton Sheesh is right

SociallyGenius
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t know, but is it really too much to ask for big business to play by the freakin rules? Or is it established that there are a different set of rules? Probably both, although my contempt is pointed more toward the Mexican Government. If they’re condoning this practice, it’s just

GrizzardComm
GrizzardComm
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Humans have an instinct for self preservation, and honestly confessing one’s mistakes is sort of counter-intuitive for that.

SociallyGenius
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t know, but is it really too much to ask for big business to play by the freakin rules? Or is it established that there are a different set of rules? Probably both, although my contempt is pointed more toward the Mexican Government. If they’re condoning this practice, it’s just an extra cost of doing business. Btw, I love the evil smiley face!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 5 months ago

@SociallyGenius AppArently it is. They are never held appropriately accountable.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @SociallyGenius I really don’t understand why it’s so hard for human beings to say they’re wrong. If you look at this logically, you know it’s going to cost you less if you come clean seven years ago than if it comes out down the road. The only reason people don’t come clean is because they think they won’t get caught. Makes me nuts.

KenMueller
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @SociallyGenius Even further, just look at our littered history of this sort of thing. in EVERY case where someone denies they are wrong, and tries to hide it, they are caught.  The upfront denial after being caught always works against you. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @KenMueller  @SociallyGenius EXACTLY!!

LucretiaPruitt
4 years 4 months ago
 @ginidietrich I’m backlogged, so I hope you’ll excuse the majorly late reply… but we aren’t talking about human beings here – we’re talking about a corporation. (Yeah, I know, don’t get me started on that debate.)While a human being might want to say “I’m sorry, what I did was wrong” – that’s a whole different matter from a human being saying that as part of a corporation. That becomes a nightmare on the legal & fiduciary duty side of the house. Because “coming clean” in our society if you are an executive means admitting to legal wrong-doing. That means opening… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

 @LucretiaPruitt I know. And that’s what is so disturbing. This stuff will continue until a corporation stands up and does the right thing. It’s a shame it’s determined OK to lie in our country to avoid lawsuits.

GrizzardComm
GrizzardComm
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich It’s undoubtedly the right thing to do, but it sort of short-circuits our brains. We want to cover up and lie and spin instead

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@GrizzardComm It’s awful because it’s always worse when it comes out. And it always comes out

GrizzardComm
GrizzardComm
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Exactly. But we tend not to want to admit it unless we have to. It’s hard to convince someone to admit it when they don’t.

mitchellfriedmn
mitchellfriedmn
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich FCPA, business practices overseas, corporate ethics bigger issues here

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@mitchellfriedmn Yeah…bit time

TheJackB
4 years 5 months ago

People like cheap products and unless there is more than a hand slap here nothing much will happen because their customers will keep shopping there. I wouldn’t say that the company is above the law because no one/thing is, but there is an enormous beast here.
 
The automotive and banking industries were bailed out. Curious to see what happens during an election year.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @TheJackB The difference is when executives go to jail, which could happen here. It may not be the end of them, but it may end their international growth.

HowieSPM
4 years 5 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @TheJackB the Huff Post reported congress and department of justice have been investigating since December and the CEO has been requested to talk with the Feds. Assuming there are any available Feds not at Colombian Brothels.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @HowieSPM  @TheJackB HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

sherrilynne
sherrilynne
4 years 5 months ago

RT @ginidietrich: The PR Nightmare for Walmart http://t.co/GWy1aA06

JulesZunichPR
JulesZunichPR
4 years 5 months ago

The problem is that there are far too many people who are willing to sit on Boards and not do anything about anything. Generally these people are the ego-centric type who would rather choke on their own stock options than say “We made a mistake. We are sorry. This is how we are fixing it.”

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @JulesZunichPR It’s astounding to me. It always costs more and hurts more when it eventually comes out. Because it always comes out.

savithoughts
savithoughts
4 years 5 months ago

Agreed Gini, but having worked in corporate America, I don’t have much faith or trust in them anymore. Profits first. It’s ironic, this foolish action. Had they put people/ethics before profits in the day-to-day decisionmaking, they’d see long-term gains and sustainability. This short-term tactic of lying/sweeping under rug to keep current profits intact only shortchages companies, by shuttering a consequence into the future, only making the financial impact that much greater and the reputational impact insurmountable.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @savithoughts That’s what totally gets me. It’s completely short-sighted. It’s going to cost them….why not manage it when it happens instead of when it comes out?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@imacsweb Seriously

nateriggs
nateriggs
4 years 5 months ago

@imacsweb haha. Well said!

kamkansas
kamkansas
4 years 5 months ago

Right on! Sing it, Gini! MT @Soulati: A big ol’ PR crisis for Walmart http://t.co/MT9rzBQX by @ginidietrich

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@kamkansas Singin’!

kamkansas
kamkansas
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich So are you glad March Madness is over? It was quite a ride for the Jayhawks! My fingernails are just now growing back 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@kamkansas LOL!! Mr. D was in New Orleans for the Final Four. He came home very unhappy

kamkansas
kamkansas
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Oh my goodness! Lucky Mr. D to be there! Sorry he came home unhappy. Nobody at my house was happy that night either 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@kamkansas It’s OK. I think he drank through it.

kamkansas
kamkansas
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Haha! I think I did too. And I may have even consumed a few cupcakes to help drown my sorrows!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@ckrohn1 Chris! Hi!

ckrohn1
ckrohn1
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich hi yourself! How are things? Just as time-pressed?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@ckrohn1 Have a book coming out next week so, um, yeah… How are you??

ckrohn1
ckrohn1
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich Wow next week – you *are* busy! All good here, no books ready to publish tho. 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

@TMuellerFFM Thank you!

TMuellerFFM
TMuellerFFM
4 years 5 months ago

@ginidietrich You’re welcome, Gini. Thanks for the great post!

M_Koehler
M_Koehler
4 years 5 months ago
Ok take 2 on the comments….. As you know, my dealings with Wal-mart take up an exceptionally large portion of my work day. This situation is being watched closely here. We hope this doesn’t hurt us. I am not shocked this went on. They are Wal-Mart and they get what they want. That is their attitude. We venders do not help the situation by capitulating to their demands. But most companies are not in a position that they can pass on that much business. This is one of the many reasons we try to a avoid shopping there but it… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 5 months ago

 @M_Koehler So what happens if their executives go to jail? Is there discussion happening internally about that?

M_Koehler
M_Koehler
4 years 5 months ago
 @ginidietrich I’m sure there is discussion surrounding them going to jail, however our bigger concern is how bad is their business going to suffer from this and how much is that going to impact us and on the flip side who is going to gain from this mess. I would expect you to see some small upticks in business at regional chains, however I bet you see the largest increase at Target. I’m not sure if this will effect sales at WM for petfood however. If I start seeing retail teams scrambling for last minute promotional volumes in the coming weeks, I… Read more »
ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 5 months ago

 @M_Koehler
 Your point is well taken. It’s that “we are Walmart and you’re not” attitude this is pervasive among similar companies in the Fortune 50. Sure it takes cojones to run a successful corporation, but social responsibility is not just an HR program; it”s something that needs to be embodied by the C-Suite.  Part of me thinks that Walmart felt it was ‘okay’ to engage in bribery, cuz “everyone in Mexico does it.” I’m sure other companies have engaged in the same practice…it’s just that they never got caught.

M_Koehler
M_Koehler
4 years 5 months ago

 @ElissaFreeman See my above comments. Not sure why it got added to that reply. Another sad part to ponder, no one is going to learn a hard lesson from this. Yes someone will go to jail but is it really going to be the people that did this or fall guys. And are they going to be doing hard time. Time will tell, but I don’t think the punishment will send a harsh [enough] message to corporations that this is just unacceptable behavior.
 

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 5 months ago

 @M_Koehler
 Perhaps its our jobs as PR counsellors to start providing early advice to the C-suite on playing fast and loose with the law….and the ramifications it can have???

Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly
They just think that their money, power and lawyers can fix everything if they get caught doing something illegal, and 99 percent of times they are just right. Human beings tend always to see those with a lot of money as different. Mr. Hughes would have been thrown into an Asylum if he was just a common human being but being Hughes he was more or less seen just as highly “particular” or “extravagant”.   If I’m right it’s not the first time Wal-Mart indulges in unethical behaviors, isn’t it? Only that with money you can buy more or less… Read more »
annelizhannan
annelizhannan
4 years 5 months ago

@SpinSucks Looks like they are addressing their nightmare in DC!! http://t.co/8KuWufob

Faryna
4 years 5 months ago
Corruption can be deeply entrenched in business, politics, and culture. Really. It’s everywhere.   I think of Loïc Le Meur’s team of Seismic-related mobile app developers which he recently blogged about – trying to help them find new jobs.   http://loiclemeur.com/english/2012/03/who-wants-a-great-engineering-team-in-bucharest-please-help-me-spread-the-word.html   I am told Le Meur’s team was employed in a manner that subverts the ordinary employment taxes according to Romanian Law. Official salaries were registered at the minimum legal salary (around $250/month). The remainder of the “salaries” were paid in other ways that avoided the taxes the company should have been paying to the Romanian government. But this is… Read more »
kamichat
kamichat
4 years 5 months ago

@paulmerrill Hey Paul, thanks for the RT. Also see you are in Littleton. I grew up in Englewood 🙂

kamichat
kamichat
4 years 5 months ago

@RaeganHill thanks for the Rt Reagan

kamichat
kamichat
4 years 5 months ago

@Samjb Thank you, Samra.

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