Blogging bad bahavior — WalMart strikes again

walmart_smiley_face.jpgSorry, but I’m a sucker for alliteration.

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 logo_planb.gifmorning, 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.

For more blog rants and commentary…

6 Responses to Blogging bad bahavior — WalMart strikes again

  1. E. Michael says:

    I don’t have a problem with the pharmacist refusing to sell the product, especially when it’s money he and Wal Mart will lose because of it. Good for him for standing up for what he believes. He believes life starts at conception and it shouldn’t be destroyed. The couple believes life doesn’t start at conception, and that they should be able to terminate the pregnancy. What makes the couple’s beliefs superior to the pharmacist’s beliefs?
    I am, mostly, pro-life, with a few exceptions. After having seen the picture of the couple in the newspaper, if I were the pharmacist, I would have sold them the drug, then I would have given them some extra, on the house.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Like you, I see no problem with the pharmacist exercising his beliefs, so long as he also follows corporate policy and allows someone else to make the sale. He didn’t do that. It’s bad business practice to turn away a paying customer when all she asking for is a perfectly legal product that you have on your shelves. If WalMart doesn’t want to sell Plan B, that ruling should come from Bentonville, not one pill jockey in Springfield, Ohio. But what you’re going to discover if you do the research is that Big Wally is way more about money than he is about “family values.”

    It’s pointless to argue this on a pro-life/pro-choice basis. That just leads back to the same standoff we’ve been watching since 1973. I respect the beliefs of people on both sides of the issue, as it truly is one of our great social and moral dilemmas. But if I have to deal with it when I go shopping, I’ll be shopping somewhere other than WalMart.

  3. essdkc says:

    “He believes life starts at conception and it shouldn’t be destroyed” but you see the plan b does not terminate pregnancy.. it simply prevents it from happening.

  4. ashley moore says:

    I completely support your decision with shopping at Target, you really can’t go wrong there 🙂

  5. Maybe so, Ashley. But Target is so “girlie.” Not a good place to buy shotgun ammo or fishing tackle. Sadly, Big Wally has a lock on that niche, part of its good-old-boy legacy.

  6. Molly says:

    Oh, but don’t goto wal-mart for that stuff. I’m sure there are enough little hunting stores around field and rootstown that you should be fine! (those stores are uber manly)

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