After a flurry of bad publicity, Wal-Mart has given a little on the case I cited yesterday (and Paul quibbled with me), where a family with new quadruplets were having trouble putting an addition on their house. They were being blocked by regulations that limited their ability to expand their septic system, and Wal-Mart was blowing off their request to tap into their pipe.
Now, my original idea (which I apparently didn’t express well enough) was that Wal-Mart, who spends gobs of money to promote itself by saying “you couldn’t have a better neighbor,” had done the absolutely worst possible thing in response: nothing.
They could have said “sure!,” and garnered gobs of free good publicity. Or they could have said “we’d like to, but we can’t” and cited engineering and legal and regulatory concerns. They could have said “we’ll have to look into it very carefully,” and pointed out how tough and complex the regulations were. Instead, they simply blew off the request and left the family hanging.
Now, though, the stink has begun to sting. Realizing the magnitude of the bad ink they’re getting, they’re desperately trying to recover. They’ve given the family a $500.00 gift certificate and have promised to review the Lynch family’s request.
It’s a basic tenet that in many cases, the absolutely worst thing you can do is ignore it and go away. Lord knows I do it myself enough. But one would like to think that a company that’s been as successful as Wal-Mart would be smart enough to recognize such situations before they blow up on them.