Thursday, November 30, 2006

Case Study: Why WalMart Lost Sales This November

WalMart today posted a 0.1% decline in sales for November, their first ever decline in nearly 10 years. Stock analysts report WalMart is losing out to Target and other competitors. Below are my observations and perhaps a reason why WalMart lost this round. I've forwarded these observations to their corporate office so they have some feedback on what happened.

My WalMart Experience
I went to my first Black Friday ever -- waking up at 5:00 am to look at the stores in my area. Places I looked at were WalMart, Target, and CompUSA. My main goal was to secure an XBox 360 Premium console, home theather, LCD TV, and a digital picture frame.

WalMart advertised online that they were selling XBox 360 Premium systems for $399 with a free $50 gift card. The ad stated there were at least six consoles per store. Believing that this ad was true, I went to WalMart exactly at 5:00 am and was the second in line for the XBox 360 -- but then the bad news, they didn't have any in stock! The employees and acquisitions manager didn't even know about the promotion.

Suffice to say, I was disappointed at WalMart, one of the most aggressive retailers in the world, known for its ability to be effecient and delivering products to the masses. One of the most important sales days of the year, my local WalMart failed miserably.

My CompUSA Experience
The CompUSA store in my town is relatively new, they've been opened less than two years. After being disappointed at WalMart, I went to CompUSA and asked if they had XBox 360's. My business contact who I usually buy from says he was told there was no more. As I came out disappointed again, another manager overheard what I was saying and said there were two at the back. I waited for a few minutes and finally got my XBox 360! I looked around for other sales but really found nothing -- they apparently opened on Thursday night (Thanksgiving) and sold most of their products. So I went off to Target.

My Target Experience
Target opened at 6:00 AM. An hour after other retailers. This tactic seemed to work because I was able to go to other retailers (WalMart/CompUSA) and still had the time to go to Target. As I parked in the parking lot, there was a huge line of people gathering outside the door. I told myself, "I guess I better wait at 6:15 AM when everyone clears out."

When I finally came in, the whole place was packed, but I was able to move around without any problem. I looked for their sales and for some odd reason they moved all of their electronics that they advertised for sale away from the electronics section. Why? Nobody knows. Perhaps space concerns.

I found one employee who was refilling other inventories and I asked him where the electronics were. He said, "They're in the infants section." And when I looked there, there were LCDs, home theater systems, DVD players, etc. all stacked up. Tons of inventory available!

I bought what I wanted and didn't have to really "fight" for it. They had enough for everyone it seems.

Lessons Learned

1. Target was clearly the winner with my money. They advertised items and they were in stock.

2. CompUSA was in the middle ground. Better communication of what's in stock would help. Still, I was happy to get an XBox 360 from them.

3. WalMart was the clear loser. They didn't get a penny from me because they didn't have what they advertised. Employees and managers also didn't know about the online promotions/advertisements.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Republican-held Congress fails to support seniors, Medicare for seniors capped in 2007

On the eve of the elections, the United States Congress, previously controlled by the Republican party, failed to enact legislation to stop Medicare caps on speech and physical therapy. A person in need of outpatient physical or speech therapy will be severely limited starting January 1st, 2007.

Who are these people in need of physical or speech therapy?

You see, after a serious surgery, you need to rehabilitate. For instance, after a knee surgery, you need to strengthen your muscles, exercise, and other long term treatments to bring it back to full functionality.

Almost 1 out of 7 senior patients require such treatments. People with hip surgeries for instance will take several months to heal. Physical therapy increases the likelihood of functionality and often times reduces the length of time to heal.

What's happening on January 1st, 2007?
On January 1st, 2007, patients will only be allowed $1,700 worth of treatments from outpatient clinics. That means for most patients, 3-4 weeks of treatments and from there, they can no longer go to the clinic. Instead of months to heal and rehab in a specialized facility, they are given weeks.

Why does Congress ignore the elderly?
The problem is, the elderly doesn't make their voices heard. I receive AARP news bulletins and there's even barely a sentence covering this. So often times, they won't know this problem exist until its too late -- when they are on the wheelchair wanting to be able to walk again but they can't because the government won't pay for their rehab. Additionally, due to enormous commitments elsewhere in the world, Congress has to re-allocate its resources from helping its senior citizens.

Well Congress got some drug plans out!
Physical therapy brings someone back to functionality and removes the pain, and often times saves a patient from going to surgery. This means less surgeries and less dependency on pain medication. In other words, Congress limited the ability to fix the pain by therapy and instead supported the drug industry's route which hides the pain (not fix it).

What can I do?
Ask your congressman or senator to support S. 3912/HR 6132, which effectively puts an exception process to therapy caps. Write, call, e-mail, or fax. January 1st, 2007 is coming around the corner.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dohgirl is born!

As the country turned on election day to choose their new U.S. leaders, a new generation was born. The cutest baby girl in the world was born!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is sin part of Christianity? Thoughts on Ted Haggard

Rev. Ted Haggard, with a following of roughly 30 million evangelicals, recently admitted that he bought drugs but didn't use it and had massages from a gay man but never had any other type of relationship with the gay man. This admission comes shortly after he stepped down as the pastor and head of his evangelical Christian association.

A man by the name of Mike Jones, announced on the radio that he had a gay relationship with Haggard for over 3 years. He came out out of the "closet" so to speak because he said Haggard was a hypocrite for denouncing homosexuality publicly and campaigning against it. Mike Jones then later failed a polygraph test about having a relationship, with the tester saying that there was some deception in his answers.

Bottom line
1. The reverend denies he had a gay relationship and the gay massager showed deception during a polygraph test. I think you can make your opinion out of that without any problem.

2. The reverend admits to buying drugs but not using it. This is like Clinton saying he did marijuana but never inhaled. This is the problem.

Is hypocrisy and sin part of Christianity? The answer is yes. All men and women have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), meaning all of us have sinned and will continue to sin until Jesus Christ comes back. This is no excuse for breaking laws or sinning, but merely an understanding of our human nature. We have that tendency and propensity to sin. The main difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians admit they are sinners, that they cannot get fulfillment from the world and only through Christ. They understand that they cannot save themselves from their own human nature, only through Christ.

So if you're a Christian, how do you respond to this type of scandal? First, Christianity by in large put their faith and their doctrine in Jesus versus any human person. If someone put their faith in Haggard or any earthly leader, they are going to be in a world of hurt. A proper response is one of prayer and forgiveness, to pray for his family and for Mike Jones and also to forgive any party that you might have negative feelings of.

Pray for your leaders, pray for yourselves, and above all, pray for His soon coming.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

U.S. troops declare war on Democratic Senator John Kerry

Gotta love the U.S. troops in Iraq, they know how to respond to botched jokes. Source: Keep up the fight guys!