Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How Wal-Mart changed everything

Jax mentioned something in her post today. I began writing a comment about it, but it got so long, I didn't want to stuff it into her comment box, I decided to post it here.

Please first read her blog, then Kelso's comment, then come on back for my response.


Why do many people hate Wal-Mart? There are many reasons, here's my take:

Wal-Mart has achieved the status of 500-ton Gorilla in the retail environment. Enough people shop there that if your product isn't being sold there, you will not sell enough product to be profitable. As a result, Wal-Mart abuses this power and drives cost down thus resulting in a loss in quality, too.

Example: Haynes makes t-shirts. Wal-Mart buyer tells Haynes salesman to drop the price of each shirt by 1/2-cent or Wal-Mart will not sell Haynes products. Haynes grudgingly agrees. To offset this loss in profit for Haynes, the manufacturers are forced to find ways to reduce manufacturing costs. When all the obvious cost reduction strategies have been employed (lean manufacturing, 6S, Kaizen), all that is left is quality. By reducing the quality standards for he product, more product is shipped as "good" and less is sent to scrap. Some manufacturers have set up entire production lines JUST for Wal-Mart. The package may look IDENTICAL, but on the inside there is lower quality, less material, etc.

What happens next is what Kelso was referring to. People are slowly lowering their personal standards and buying for price. So, MORE people buy at Wal-Mart instead of the competing retail outlets. So, the manufacturer converts another production line over to Wal-Mart standards. Then another. Eventually the ENTIRE product line is now lower quality and cheaper.

How do I know all this? I work in a manufacturing facility. Our product is NOT sold at Wal-Mart as we are a medical device, direct to hospital environment. I'm quite familiar with the manufacturing process, however. I have direct experience with Uncle Ben's Rice, Haynes and other T-shirts and apparel (sweats, pants, hats). I have an MBA from the Sam M. Walton College of Business where EVERY member of the staff worked with Sam Walton or was on the board of Directors at Wal-Mart. My classmates worked for Pringles (Wal-Mart account rep), Proctor and Gamble (European Wal-Mart Head Account Manager), and another was in sales and marketing for another major food manufacturer. I have personally watched the quality of my t-shirts and underwear dwindle to sub-standard at Wal-Mart and have begun driving 2 hours to the nearest Target.

What’s more, Wal-Mart is encouraging this. I dated a girl who interviewed for a Wal-Mart Buyer’s job. They rotate accounts every 3 months so as to not allow personal friendships to develop. If you’re buying underwear this week, next week you’ll be the buyer for salty-snacks. You are NOT allowed ANY gift. If the salesman offers you a pen to sign the contract, you are encouraged to use your own, but if you use his/hers, you MUST give it back or you will be terminated. THIS is where most of the horror stories of working for Wal-Mart are born. The cashiers have a blast, they sing songs and promote happy workers…of course, they are the direct customer contact.

I don’t hate Wal-Mart. I love them. I shop there often. However, I keep a close eye on product quality. When it dips below my standards, I find another retailer who still carries the high-quality line.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Home, Again

I'm back from Philly.

I guess none of y'all live out there. I had fun anyway!

I'd forgotten how good Entenmann's is. Once again, NO SNOW, but we made do.

I missed you all. But now I'm back.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Four Things Meme

Alkelda tagged me:

Four Jobs I’ve Had
1) NDB *
2) NDB
3) NDB
4) NDB

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1) Pirates of the Caribbean
2) Spaceballs
3) Paycheck
4) Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Four Places I’ve Lived
1) New Jersey
2) Oklahoma
3) Arizona (moved away the year before LH moved in)
4) Arkansas

Four Places I’ve Vacationed
1) Doublin, Ireland (On St. Patty's Day)
2) All-over Italy
3) St. Tomas, USVI
4) Wilmington, DE

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1) Dad's Lasagna
2) Chicken Parmasean
3) GOOD (read: non-chain) Pizza
4) NOT Ritz-cracker-breaded baked chicken breast.

Four (Non-blogger) Sites I Visit Daily
1) Yahoo Sports
2) Bens Bargains
3) Dilbert's Daily Comic
4) The Weather Channel

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now
1) Philadelphia, PA or vacintity
2) Home
3) Somwhere there is snow
4) Phoenix, AZ

Four People I am Tagging to do this Meme
Ok, here's the deal. I'm doing you all a personal favor and NOT tagging you to do this. Now, you all owe me a favor...you're in my debt.

*None of your Damn Business

Word Verifier: The Gathering

Week 18: Fiesta Foreva

Ready? GO!

First time visitors: The rules are simple. Go into my comments section, read your verification word and be creative. Each week I'll give just a bit of direction for the topic.



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dang Shampoo

I had a brilliant idea for a blog post. Best blog post idea ever.

My damn shampoo must have been too strong because the second I got out of the shower, I forgot it.

It was probably long and complicated, so you're lucky I guess.

Instead you'll have to settle for candy hearts:

Monday, January 23, 2006

I lied

I didn't think LadyHearteater was gonna post them, so I lied and said I did nothing fun yesterday. I did have fun! I drew an IMVironment picture with her!

Here's ours from tonight.

This will NEVER get old!

2 of each

I even put a weather bug on my damn blog and I STILL was caught by surprise at all the rain. I had to help Noah load up the Ark yesterday. It was pretty rough. All of the cotton and rice fields by my house were under water and most of the roads, too.

I wanted to just stay home and eat pizza. So I called Pizza Hut:

"there's a 2-hour delivery time."
"Have you been outside today, sir?"
"Yes, ma'am, I just got back from a trip to Arkansas. The roads are fine, just a little water. I'll come pick up my pizza myself"
"It will be ready in 30 minutes."

It took the normal amount of time to get there. Yeah, there were a few puddles, but I was able to get through them in my full-size sedan car. There were rednecks in LARGE PICKUPS going 5 mph! Jeez. Then when I got there, I found out why they were telling everyone 2 hours...to scare them away. The delivery guy was in the back say "no more deliveries to **, XX, and YY streets!"

I spent the day watching football and working on my computer. Nothing fun.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Goals for a new life

In the recent flick "Along Came Polly", Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) goes to an underground salsa club. He realizes this is important to Polly (Jennifer Aniston) and takes lessons from the best dancer in the club. What a great thing for a guy to do for his love. Brad, I know you understand what a mesmerizing effect Jennifer can have.

I went out last night. There was little to no dancing. The band was voted "Best band in the Delta" by Delta magazine. It was country. The place was packed but everyone was drinking, not dancing.

This morning while brushing my teeth a techno song came on the radio. I realized that I DO like to dance. I LOVE techno and I often find me tapping my toes to Salsa. SO, my new goal is that in my next life, I WILL find some good techno and salsa dance clubs and I will frequent them and I WILL be good at it!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Word Verifier: The Gathering

Week 17: Open Skate

Ready? GO!

First time visitors: The rules are simple. Go into my comments section, read your verification word and be creative. Each week I'll give just a bit of direction for the topic.



Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Colder Down South?

I spent a week in Cleveland, OH. It always snows up there, right? It was nearly 60 degrees all week.

Today, in Mississippi? Yeah, just look to the right and see for yourself. It was 33 when I got here this morning. I had to de-ice my window before I could leave for work!

I'm moving back to OH!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sort of..thanks LH!

So I completely forgot that I have access to a laptop at work. Just wait till they see all the shit I loaded on here so I can keep up my normal time wasting!

Thanks to my favorite Lady for reminding me!

Dead hard drive, just as I predicted. Still under warrantee, fortunately. Replacement drive will be here tomorrow. Could be another day on top of that for the IT guy to "image" it and get me set back up. This sucks.


I fried my computer at work at 4pm (perfect timing, that last hour on Mondays drags forever).

I won't be able to get up with you guys until I get home!

Have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tales from the Road

What a great time we had in Cleveland, OH!

We arrived late Sunday night, grabbed a car and headed to the hotel. Much to our pleasure, there was a sports bar right across the street. Slam Jams served up some outstanding burgers. Being a Southern-raised boy, however, I wanted to dip my Texas Toothpicks in some ranch dressing. Well, Y'all mid-westerners don't understand this ritual and Slam Jams only had ranch in a plastic packet for salads and it was probably the worst I'd ever had. Forgiven. Michelle was a cutie and smelled GREAT. She gave us the rundown for the week: Karaoke Tuesdays, big party Thursdays, and she was working M, W, Th, F.

Monday was our first day of training. Went smooth. No major stress. After class/work, we went on search of a computer geek store for my colleague. Right next to the Circuit City was a Ruby Tuesday's. My colleague picked up his rack of ribs and the bones literally slid right out. MMMmmmm. Up the road a bit was a Wal-Mart. It wouldn't be a trip of 4 rednecks if we didn't swang by The Wal-Mart. They had some good sales on rifles and shotguns. The air-compressor we were told was on sale was sold out. Dang.

Tuesday brought the first of the technical learning. Next to Slam Jams was a Hunan. General Tso was on top of his game. He had three embattlements to take on, Mild, Medium, and Hot. Well, duh, I charged the Hot camp. I lost a few good men, but achieved victory. Even managed to take a few POWs back to the hotel for later interrogation. Unfortunately, there was not a suitable holding pen and they were released into the wild. After the Chinese, we decided to see what Ohio'ns called Karaoke. It was not bad. Not as busy as down here, but nice. The beer was WELL deserved after that long day of work. Little did we know how hard it was going to get. We stayed long into the night chatting about work. It was then that I realized that every woman in that place had ALL HER TEETH! I was sure I was in Heaven.

Wednesday night we found yet another close restaurant, the Longhorn Steakhouse--home of the best hard lemonade we'd ever tasted. The big shocker of the night: they had SWEET TEA! All of the waitresses were hot. We got the one gay dude. I was one more smile away from giving the guy $5 to let one of the chicks wait on us. We wandered back over to Slam Jams to patronize Michelle. We couldn't find her, so we sat at the bar. Two rounds of beer later, she wanders up to us and expressed disappointment for not sitting in her section. We told her we'd be back Thursday. She said she was not going to make it in because she had an interview. Where? We asked. "Crazyhorse" she replied, "a strip club on Miles St. Waitressing job." So, we got directions to the Crazyhorse Gentlemen's club.

Thursday we all made joking comments about hitting the titty-bar but settled on Slam Jams for dinner. They DID have the best burgers in the area. Our waitress was dumb as a rock. Gave us food we didn't order and then charged us for it. Gave our credit card slip to the table next to us and vice versa. So we said screw it, let's go see some titties!

Once we found Crazyhorse, it was all good. This place was high-class. The bouncers were all 6'-8" but wore tuxes. It was nice. I didn't spend too much, but I did eventually get to meet Naomi. I'd seen her all night, but she was ALWAYS with someone. Halfway through the night, Marissa and Vanessa came and sat with us and fell in love with us for our accents and because we were the nicest guys in here. Apparently midwestern men are assholes in topless bars. After a few minutes alone with Vanessa, I asked her to ask Naomi to come hang with us. She went and told her we were interested. She came and talked with us for a couple of songs. She and I had chemistry right away. Yeah yeah, it's a stripper and she's working for money, but I don't care. We had some great chemistry and talked about all kinds of stuff. In fact, SHE was the one who used the word "chemistry." Normally you aren't allowed to touch the girls. She and I sat there holding hands, my arm around her, even kissed each other on the cheek a few times. *sigh* I'll miss her!

Friday the 13th I have enough anxiety with flying I didn't need to think about the fact that I'm flying home on Ft13. The day started off with a test covering what we learned that week. I scored a 100%! I'm so damn smart! We packed our bags. After last night, the guys were anxious to get home and get laid! We drove into Cleveland, had some Crackerbarrel, filled up the rental car and checked in at the airport. I told the guys bon voyage and I went out on the street where Jax was waiting. We went to Max & Erma's for a snack. She brought her precious angel along. We had some good conversation about blogging, how we met everyone, how we got started. Baby-girl started getting restless, so we hopped in the car and circled the airport listening to music and talking about it. Jax, you got my CD ready yet?

Of course it wouldn't be a trip to Ohio without a tailgate party

My next trip is to the Philly area. I don't think I have any blogger buddies out there, but if you are and you want to have dinner/lunch with a Hitman, let me know!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Home at last!

I will say I missed home. Specifically my own bed and computer.

However, I miss Cleveland already. I was secretly hoping for snow to cancel our plane so I could have one more night.

Jax...what a great gal you are! Pleasure to sit and have chocolate cake and chase the rugrat all over the restaurant...someday I gotta get me one of them.

You Ohio folks really like my southern accent. I laid it on thick...what a hoot!

Naomi, I will never forget you or the Crazyhorse.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Word Verifier: The Gathering

Week 16: On the Road Again

Brad, I got it this week.

Ready? GO!

First time visitors: The rules are simple. Go into my comments section, read your verification word and be creative. Each week I'll give just a bit of direction for the topic.




Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Day Two and I'm SO SMART!

Two gold stars, one silver, and a smiley face!

I'm the head of the class...like you expected anything less?

Tonight is Karaoke night at the bar across the street from the hotel. It is quite different here, though. They have pool tables, like 25 TVs, bar that covers two walls, but also a black dance floor with silver pole in the middle (oh yeah) and they were playing techno, hip-hop, and teenie-pop. We'll see what tonight is like.

I need hangover remedies...better to be prepared, huh?

Monday, January 09, 2006

All the little chicks with the crimson lips...

Cleveland Rocks!

Ok, well, that has yet to be determined. I like it so far because there is a high-speed internet connection in my room, a bar nearby, and the bed is comfy.

On a completley different subject, if you all remember some time back I said there might be an opportunity on the horizon that would make me the happiest Hitman ever....well, things are still progressing, but progressing QUITE well! I really wish I could share more, but you know how it is in my business!

Well, I have a long day ahead of me!

Have a great week, gang!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

There's nothing wrong with Ohio

I've said that before. Then it was about a song stuck in my head. Today, it is because I'm on my way to Cleveland!

I'll be in Solon/Cleveland all week. I'm already making plans to have dinner with one of my blogger pals. Anyone else in that area who wants to dine with the HitMan, drop me a comment! I'll be posting all week as time permits. I've heard Cleveland is a jumping town (compared to my po-dunk hideout), and I've been told to not leave it the same!

Wish me a bon voyage, gang! OH, and Nonny and Jax, turn off the rain or crank up the snow!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hangovers Suck!

And to top it off I ate WAY too much for dinner. So now I sit here at work (after showing up 30 mnutes late) with a bottle of Pepto on my desk trying to keep a clear path to the bathroom.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Word Verifier: The Gathering

Week 15: Childhood Memories

Special thanks to Brad for covering last week. I was, um, on business.

Ready? GO!

First time visitors: The rules are simple. Go into my comments section, read your verification word and be creative. Each week I'll give just a bit of direction for the topic.




Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Trends/Fads I hope die in 2006
But I know won't

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


It felt like a Monday all day with one minor change....it is a Tuesday and I only have 3 more days of work!

Next week, even better, I'm out of town for training all week! Most of you will shudder at the thought of a week of training. No worries, kids! This is technical training that will be sitting in front of a computer all week learning to program fun stuff! I'm a geek and I eat this shit up! It will be a welcome break from the daily grind. PLUS, I may get to meet up with a fellow blogger or two! If you live in the Cleveland, OH area and want to have dinner with the HitMan, let me know!

I will NOT reveal any details about my escapades last week, lets just say be glad Uncle Frank wasn't there or I'd be busted back down to street detail in NO TIME!

Special thanks to my main muscle man, Brad for covering WV:TG for me last Thursday. I think you all did excellent!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Miss Me?

I know I missed you!

Quick update, then back to unpacking and cleaning this disgrace of a clubhouse:

I'm feeling tons better, but still have a bit of a sore throat and sniffle. On some antibiotics, though.

Got some cool stuff for Christmas, nothing worth really posting about, but we had a great time. Animals and people everywhere. Less food than normal (thank goodness) but more than we needed. Fortunately, being sick, I didn't have much of an appetite and managed to not eat like a pig!

I spent all last week visiting friends and family. I must have covered a million miles. I know I bought at LEAST 4 tanks of gas! I didn't even get to see everyone, either. Oh well, that's what weekends are for, huh?

New Year's eve was a blast. Got super drunk and did some shit I'm not proud of. Hangover was not that bad.

Time for laundry and cleaning. My resolution is to get this house in order and get on an exercise program.

More to come later!