March 28, 2013

THE CRUCIAL WORD NOT APPEARING IN THIS ARTICLE ON WALMART’S STAFFING WOES: “And what is that word?”, Moe Lane asks. “Why, it’s Obamacare:”

Walmart has earned this.  By supporting Obamacare in the first place the company decided to put politics above its mission statement, which is to sell reasonably sturdy consumer goods to middle and lower income workers at reasonably cheap prices.

You would have thought they’d have learned their lesson in 2011, when Wal-Mart backed away from supporting Al Gore’s environmentalism:

The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the company’s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.

Out went drab, inexpensive merchandise so dear to low-income Americans. In came upscale organic foods, “green” products, trendy jeans, and political correctness. In other words, Dach sought to expose poor working Americans to the “good life” of the wealthy, environmentally conscious Prius driver.

* * * *

Like other real-world experiments, the Wal-Mart story exposes the failure of progressivism in the marketplace, as the Dach strategy has been a fiasco: the merchandising turned off low-income (and largely Democratic-leaning) customers. Says former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright:

The basic Wal-Mart customer didn’t leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer.

Wal-Mart seems determined to live out at least two of Conquest’s Laws:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

Lather, rinse, and repeat, at least until you realize that appeasing your enemies does not make them your friends. (Or you run out of customers.)