Besides, bad behavior begs to be blasted by boisterous bloggers. This case is right out of Public Relations 101.
My target today is Big Wally — aka WalMart — and this nugget from Springfield, Ohio.
Seems that Tashina Byrd and Brian O’Neill experienced a condom malfunction the other night. So the next morning, Tashina went to the pharmacy at Big Wally to get a dose of Plan B, the over-the-counter morning-after pill. Plan B is stashed behind the counter, as women under age 18 need a prescription to buy it. So Byrd, 23, had to ask for it.
According to Byrd, pharmacist Brent Beams refused to sell her Plan B. Later, he told the Columbus Dispatch why:
“I believe in preserving life, and I do not believe in ending life, and life begins at conception.”
From that same article:
Although Wal-Mart’s corporate policy says that its pharmacies will stock Plan B, it allows any Wal-Mart worker who does not feel comfortable dispensing a product to refer customers to another pharmacist, pharmacy worker or sales associate.
Note that the policy doesn’t empower employees to turn away customers based on religious or political beliefs. But it does accommodate those beliefs. If selling Plan B compromises your morals, let someone else handle the sale. Easy enough, provided you follow it to the letter.
Since I lambasted WalMart just last week, I’ll skip the rant and offer this bit of public relations advice: Don’t make it so easy for people to hate you, Wally! Train your employees to respect the customer and to follow company policy. Then make sure they do it.
The case is just one more example of how reputations are most vulnerable at the weakest link: the customer interface. WalMart knows that. Beams will need to learn it — or find another line of work.
I don’t need another reason to avoid WalMart, but Beams gave me one. And I’m sharing it with my readers in the hope they’ll link their friends to it as well. And that, my dear students, completes this week’s lesson on the power of social media. I gotta go run some errands — at Target.
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