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Thread: Mike Rowe Touches the "Third Rail" of Retailing: Walmart

  1. #151
    From Today:

    I’m back. Three days of press, five hours of sleep, four bottles of wine, a speech, a job offer, 5,000 form letters, and a couple of good-natured death threats. All because of a commercial that I narrated about American manufacturing paid for by Walmart. Press tours are fun!

    Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.” I don’t know that I agree with Oscar, but one things for sure - there’s no such thing as “free press.” I just goggled myself and the results are too rich to ignore. Lets start with this journalistic masterpiece from Matt Hardigree.

    “Shill for the Oppressors!” Is that not fantastic? I should make new business cards. I’m sure Matt’s a swell guy, but unfortunately, he’s so eager to report on a story that doesn’t exist he’s resorted to a career in fiction. Matt believes that my recent work with Walmart drove The Ford Motor Company to fire me after seven years of service. He sees some sort of conspiracy at work in a recent Ad Age article, where according to him, every one played just “a little too nice.”

    Sorry Matt - here are the facts. Ford didn’t “drop” me. We had serious discussions about another extension but decided not to proceed for reasons completely benign. We parted amicably long before the Walmart ad came along. A simple phone call to Ford would have confirmed that. Or, you could have done some really deep digging, and called me. People do it all the time, especially when they’re interested in geting the facts.

    Bottom line - We “played nice” in Ad Age because the people involved are all, well...nice. I’m just at a point in my career where I want to associate myself with messages that speak directly to the issues that are important to me. That’s why the Walmart ad was so appealing. A $250 billion investment in US manufacturing is worth talking about, and very much in keeping with the goals of my own foundation. If any other “Oppressors” are looking to make a similar investment in America, drop me a line. I’m happy to “shill” for any company that get this country back to work.

    Also in Matt’s piece, was a link to this little gem.

    This piece comes from CBS News. Check out the photo. It’s a rare image of me in a suit a tie, and conveys all the sincerity of an ambitious vacuum cleaner salesman at the annual Hoover convention. Nice. Below the photo, the writer - Aimee Picchi - attributes the following question to me. “Who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart?” Unfortunately, Aimee leaves out the most important part, which for the record was this: “For that matter, who gives a crap about MY feelings? Isn’t the business of making things in America an initiative we can all get behind?”

    Along with that omission, and the clever use of words like “hawk,” “tout,” and “spokesman,” the reader is left to believe that I’ve been empowered to speak on Walmart’s behalf in some sort of official capacity. In fact, I have not. I’m doing this because I want to encourage other companies to make similar investments in American manufacturing. That’s it.

    Of course, I’m not the only one with an agenda, and Aimee knows it. Ori Korin is a spokesperson for “Jobs with Justice,” and she’s trying very hard to persuade people that Walmart is treating its workers unfairly. Aimee quotes Ori as being disappointed with my decision to work with “a company as notorious as Walmart.” Ori also believes I was “too quick to dismiss” the workers she represents.

    Of course, I was already well-aware of Ori’s disappointment with me. To date, Jobs with Justice has carpet-bombed my office with 5,048 form letters, imploring me to sit down with “real Walmart employees” and listen to stories about how unfairly they have been treated. Naturally, Aimee points this out to her readers, and even provides a helpful link to the Jobs with Justice Letter Writing Campaign, so that other objective citizens might continue to overwhelm my modest staff with additional expressions of carbon-copied concern. (Thanks Aimee!)

    My response to all this? According to Aimee -

    “Rowe didn’t immediately return a request for comment.”

    Well Aimee, please allow me to address your request with all due speed. My office has no record of a call from you or anyone at CBS. I've checked three times. Nothing. Of course, if you sent an email to my Foundation, it may very well be buried in the mountain of form letters currently straining the resources of mikeroweWORKS. Which brings me to Ori Korin, and Jobs for Justice. In the spirit of their chosen method of communication, I’ll respond directly and openly.


    Dear Ori:

    You’ll be pleased to know that my office has received your letter, and 5,048 others just like it. While I’m sympathetic to your objectives and sensitive to the needs of your members, I must say that your tactics have had the same effect as a flood of telemarketing calls during my dinner, or a bag of dog crap set ablaze on my front porch. Now, instead of overseeing scholarship applications and other Foundation matters, my already beleaguered staff must sift through a sea of robo-letters in search of legitimate correspondence from hard-hitting investigative journalists like Matt & Aimee.

    It’s a little ironic, don’t you think? On the one hand, Jobs with Justice is concerned that everyday people are being overwhelmed by heavy workloads. But you don’t think twice about flooding an unsuspecting non-profit foundation with and endless stream of form letters. Anyway, my answer to you is the same as it was after I got your first letter a week ago. You guys are in a labor dispute, and my foundation doesn’t take sides between employers and employees. Another 5,000 form letters won’t change my position on that - though it just might inspire my the nice woman who oversees my Foundation to throw herself out the window. (Her name is Mary, by the way, and her demise is now on you.)

    Let me really spell this out though, so there’s no confusion at all. I care about the people you represent. That’s precisely why I set up a foundation and a scholarship fund. I’m trying to encourage hardworking people who are unhappy in their jobs to make a meaningful change in their life. A lasting change. And I believe this change is most likely to occur when people are willing to learn a skill that’s in demand. Happily, worthwhile opportunities are everywhere. Our country has a massive skills gap, and the chance to retool and retrain has never been better.

    We’re not enemies, Ori. We’re just fighting different battles. You’re trying to wring out a modest increase for people who feel unappreciated by their employer and unhappy in their work. I’m trying to get those same people excited about possibilities and opportunities that go beyond their current positions. Frankly - and I say this with all due respect - I don’t believe that your strategy is in the long-term interest of your members, or for that matter, anyone who wants to improve their lives in a meaningful way.

    Think about it, Ori. Many of the workers you represent have jobs that could very well become obsolete in just a few years. Automation, technology, automatic checkouts...the writing is on the wall. But the skilled trades are different. Welders, auto technicians, carpenters, masons, construction workers, healthcare...these opportunities are real, and the rewards go far beyond the minimum wage - whatever that might turn out to be. Walmart may have cornered the market on retail jobs, but the world's a lot bigger than Walmart.

    Anyway, I want to help. Please forward your members this link.

    Surely, if you’ve got time to send five thousand identical letters to the same email address, you’ve got time to pass this on to your members. But do me a favor - just send it once. People hate form letters.


    Finally, I found a piece that literally drips with sanity and common sense.

    This comes from a guy named Shawn Griffiths over at The Independent Voter Network, and I appreciate every single sentence. My own bias aside, Shawn’s analysis is completely correct, and if I were King of the World, this would be required reading for any journalist that wanted to discuss recent events. If you’ve come this far, please give it a look.

    Carry On,
    Mike Rowe

    PS If you’re late to the party or just a glutton for detail, my office has set up a press page with some photos and links to some of the recent appearances.

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  3. #152
    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    In English, please.
    Sorry you don't understand.

    Some are more equal than others.
    Openly Straight Man Danke Awarded Top Rated Influencer

    Quiz: Test Your "Income" Tax IQ!

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    The Income Tax Is An Excise, And Excise Taxes Are Privilege Taxes

    The Federalist Papers, No. 15:

    Except as to the rule of appointment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America.

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  5. #153
    Did anyone get bent about Mike Rowe's endorsement of Lee jeans?

    In India 60,000 workers produce 5,000 Lee jeans each day. But, hey, the corporate office produces 400 American jobs.

  6. #154
    In Defense of Mike Rowe: Stop Saying He Represents Wal-Mart

    By now, many people have seen this Wal-Mart commercial narrated by “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe. The backlash on Rowe has been huge on social media and he has since been making the media rounds to defend the ad — not Wal-Mart, but the ad.

    If television viewers tuned in to CNN on Thursday, February 20, besides not getting much in terms of actual news, they may have noticed a Piers Morgan promo which aired almost every commercial break about the interview Morgan will have with Rowe. The promo’s narrator says Morgan will ask Rowe how he can still stand up for the little guy when he represents one of America’s largest corporations.

    First, Mike Rowe does not represent Wal-Mart. He does not work for the company’s PR department, or legal department, or any department for that matter. It is intentionally misleading to say Rowe represents Wal-Mart when all he did was narrate a 60-second television spot. We would not say Stephen Colbert represents Wonderful Pistachios or Laurence Fishburne represents Kia or any celebrity who does a commercial represents the product being advertised. If a Kia-manufactured car got recalled, no one at CNN would call Fisburne for comment (I say that, but I could be wrong), so why ask Rowe to defend Wal-Mart?

    "There is a simple, yet sometimes hard truth to swallow: not every kid is going to go to college."
    @ TheShawnG

    Second, the commercial is about an effort to build the manufacturing labor force in the United States. These blue-collar jobs would be filled by what many would refer to as the “little guy.” Not only that, but Wal-Mart offers millions of job opportunities which require minimal skills and no college degree, thus helping out the little guy in a slow-to-recover economy. While many disagree with some of the company’s policies, Rowe is not the company’s spokesperson and he is not paid to represent it.

    “Wal-Mart’s initiative on American manufacturing and my foundation’s focus share a lot of real estate,” Rowe said on CNN’s New Day. “In 2008, I started a foundation that basically said, ‘Work is a beautiful thing.’ Now, there’s a campaign by the largest retailer on the planet saying, ‘work is a beautiful thing.’

    The foundation Rowe is talking about, the MikeRoweWORKS Foundation, launched on Labor Day 2008 and is “concerned with promoting hard work and supporting the skilled trades in a variety of areas.” The foundation encourages young people to pursue an education at a trade school or apprenticeship program to learn a specific skill set, especially if these students are not going to pursue higher education at a 4-year university or college.

    There is a simple, yet sometimes hard truth to swallow: not every kid is going to go to college or will not stay in college because it just doesn’t suit them or they do not have the financial means to pursue a 4-year degree. The U.S. has pushed programs like No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top without thinking that these programs, especially No Child Left Behind, may preclude some students from getting ahead because they are not encouraged to take the route that is right for them.

    Rowe understands this and he understands that affording college does not only mean paying for tuition and classes while a student is in college, but also the enormous debt they will have to pay once they get out of college. Right now, while the labor market is not very friendly to many people, it is especially not a place for recent graduates.

    There are millions of jobs out there that do not require a college degree, but they do require a specific type of skill so there is a need for vocational schools and training programs to get Americans back to work. One of the biggest problems, as Mike Rowe noted in his interview with New Day, is the cultural mindset is that if a person does not pursue and obtain a 4-year degree, that person will be a failure and that simply is not true.

    Creating jobs in America, especially manufacturing jobs that help the “little guy,” is not a partisan issue. It is something most people want. So, why is the focus being put on Mike Rowe and not his message? His interviews have been some of the best I have seen on CNN because he speaks so well on the need to close the skills gap in the United States, and yet the media continues to focus on the social media backlash on Rowe for doing the Wal-Mart spot.

  7. #155
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    So, a privately arranged agreement to source items manufactured here, isn't any good either, huh?

    Look, I'm no fan of the regime in the District of Calamity either.

    But there is more to 'Murica, than the government.

    As much as I bash Boobus, he's still all our neighbors and family.

    You keep pushing Boobus out of work and onto the dole, and, when the dole runs out, as we all know it will, then Boobus will revolt.

    He will revolt in the manner of the Bolshevik.

    I can see no reason to oppose a non governmental initiative to try and get Boobus back to work and off the dole, other than blind, knee jerk hatred of, you know, 'Murika.
    $#@!ing Cassandra...

  8. #156
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    $#@!ing Cassandra...
    China knows how it will work, that's why they have been waging economic warfare against us.
    Trump came along just in time.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

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