April 2, 2008

When Persuasion Fails, Sometimes Humiliation Works

To follow up on a current event I wrote about a few days ago, it seems that a lot of public pressure can sometimes change the way a big company thinks and acts. When every major news agency demonstrates to the world what a bunch of heartless shits run Wal-Mart, you'd hope that someone eventually figures out that they're been penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Well, someone in Bentonville got it. "'Occasionally, others help us step back and look at a situation in a different way. This is one of those times,' Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Pat Curran said in a letter. 'We have all been moved by Ms. Shank's extraordinary situation.'" So, the company is foregoing its right to seek medical-benefits subrogation of the $475,000 it likely is owed for one of its former employees who suffered debilitating brain damage in a horrific auto-versus-truck collision and two weeks later lost her son in the war. The $475,000 was all the money left over after court costs, attorney's fees, and other expenses to care for this woman for the rest of her life. And gratefully, it got figured out that letting go of this medium-sized amount of money would restore more than its value in goodwill for the company.

Maybe there are some people in corporate boardrooms who aren't complete sociopaths after all.

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