Monday, August 20, 2007


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. quietly stopped selling two brands of dog treats in July, after customers voiced concerns that the Chinese products may have caused their pets to fall ill, but no recall has been announced, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

I am a big fan of Wal-Mart... but not for this kind of thing. I believe in the vision of Sam Walton for Wal-Mart, but I have a hard time believing he would have OK'd this kind of tactic. It is better to be transparent about your business practices. A friend of mine had her dog on Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance dog food. Their food was implicated in this summer's massive pet food recall (the food was contaminated by one of the Chinese made ingredients). However, unlike some dog food companies, NB came out immediately with an apology to its customers and took responsibility. That one action kept my friend as one of their customers, and convinced me to try out their dog food.

If only Wal-Mart had done this kind of thing... now I have to ask what else they might hide just to save themselves. They should be looking out for their customers... the rest will take care of itself. Now that Sam Walton is dead, are we seeing the decline of Wal-Mart as a company?

Whatever happened to Sam Walton's Rule Number 8?

"EXCEED your customer's expectations. If you do, they'll come back over and over. Give them what they want -- and a little more. Let them know you appreciate them. Make good on all your mistakes, and don't make excuses-- apologize. Stand behind everything you do. The two most important words I ever wrote on that first Wal-Mart sign: "Satisfaction Guaranteed". They're still up there, and they have made all the difference."

I'm expecting a full explanation. I'm expecting them to take responsibility. I'm expecting them to apologize for not telling consumers that their dogs might have been poisoned or sickened by food they sold. And I'm expecting that if they did sell defective merchandise, that they make good on their mistakes, including paying for vet bills. That kind of thing makes me a loyal customer, and will make me want to fight for Wal-Mart since they stood behind their customers. Let's see what they do...

Now, regarding China. Well, they never have gained my confidence. They never practiced Rule Number 8, and they have a long way to go to prove that their country takes seriously transparency, free enterprise and private property, product liability, law and order, public safety, and the public welfare. So long as they want to be a third rate country, they will be a third rate country, saddled with the image of Mao, communism, corruption and hostility toward the individual, and no respect for dogs.

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