Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wal-Mart Gets it Right

Dilys over at Good and Happy links to a WaPo story about Wal-Mart's relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some selections:

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, as New Orleans filled with water, Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. called an emergency meeting of his top lieutenants and warned them he did not want a "measured response" to the hurricane.

"I want us to respond in a way appropriate to our size and the impact we can have," he said, according to an executive who attended the meeting. At the time, Wal-Mart had pledged $2 million to the relief efforts. "Should it be $10 million?" Scott asked.

Over the next few days, Wal-Mart's response to Katrina -- an unrivaled $20 million in cash donations, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers -- has turned the chain into an unexpected lifeline for much of the Southeast and earned it near-universal praise at a time when the company is struggling to burnish its image....

...Clinton, who is leading a hurricane relief fundraising effort with Bush, said he hoped Wal-Mart's plan to allow relocating employees to take jobs at Wal-Marts across the country "will give some guidance to our members of Congress."....

...The Bentonville, Ark., company is rushing to set up mini-Wal-Marts in storm-ravaged areas, handing out clothing, diapers, baby wipes, toothbrushes and food. With police escorts, it delivered two truckloads of ice and water into New Orleans. It is shipping 150 Internet-ready computers to shelters caring for evacuees....

...Asked what motivated the chain's relief efforts and how he thought critics would respond, Scott said: "We have never claimed to be flawless. But on the other hand, we have always demanded that we as a company do care. If anything, this week has shown we do care."

He said: "We can't do any more than our own part. We are not the federal government. There is a portion we can do, and we can do it darn well."

As Katrina's winds were still dying down last week, preparations at the Brookhaven distribution center ensured that goods desperately needed by ravaged sections of the Gulf Coast started appearing on Wal-Mart shelves.

At the nearby gas station that had set up a special line for Wal-Mart workers, the general manager of the distribution center, Brent Hinton, pumped gas for nearly seven hours to keep up employee morale.

In my personal shopping preferences, I'm not necessarily a Wal-Mart fan. But this is an incredible example of a company doing what private enterprise, at its best, can do well. While there are those who certainly haven't covered themselves in glory, Wal-Mart and Lt. General Honore ought to be recognized as two of the heros of the Katrina aftermath.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who shops at WalMart and wishes she didn't have to: cool!