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Corporate Decisions

Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010, at 9:15 AM

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EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT... CORPORATION KICKS CAMBRIDGE... DUCKWALL'S LEAVING TOWN!!

First off, if you are an employee and not a stock holder of Duckwall's/ALCO INC., I apologize for bad mouthing your employer, but beyond that... I think Duckwall's/ALCO is nothing more than another GREEDY corporation whose sole purpose is to make money and the only public relations they REALLY care about is the bottom line for their investors.

Well... what do I expect? I WISH corporations were good citizens and cared about their country, cities, and towns as much as they cared about the bottom line. We of course hear of the big corporate profit take every year... corporations are on track this year for great profits during a pitiful economy. How do you suppose they do that? Duckwall's/ALCO is a good example of boosting the bottom line while helping fuel a bad economy.

The CEO of the above mentioned crappy citizen corporation stated that the Duckwall's wasn't making enough (wasn't losing mind you) money to keep Duckwall's 200 some stores open. The company however did thank it's loyal Duckwall's customers for their past business, basically saying we don't care how much we impact your town or our employees, but we want you to drive to the nearest ALCO because we love you still... HA!

What did that do for Cambridge? Well, the town is in an uproar trying to figure out a way to get a community backed variety store to replace the departing Duckwall's. There is a city owned building that is owed rent by ALCO through 2012, but I think the town may have jumped the gun and let them off the hook for that. There are 5 employees that are losing their job. There is over $26,000 annual sales tax revenue Cambridge looses unless a replacement source is found. And to top it off, we were told that the local store made 8% profit for Duckwall's/ALCO last year.

No more state income tax collected from these terminated folks until they find work, no federal tax either, and the real possibility that some assistance might become necessary... we taxpayers get to pay again for the assistance and wonder if more city cuts might be necessary due to loss of revenue leading to more cuts...

We have become so profit oriented in this country that the bottom line is more important than common good and it effects so many adversely. Duckwall's/ALCO is one of the best examples of a corporation putting profit ahead of everything I can think of.

The real problem is, in my opinion, that corporations are treated like an individual... an individual with no conscience like good old Scrooge. And we've got nobody to blame but ourselves. We elected the people that made the laws that allowed corporations the freedoms and actual power they have. We get to see what being treated like an individual that has the only goal of making money gets us.

Here are a few examples beyond Duckwall's/ALCO...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cor...

The following statement is obviously true when you turn a corporation into an individual with no soul. It's also true for the rest of us...

Jesus said "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Very well said Brian!!

Thanks for your concern.

-- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Dec 28, 2010, at 10:50 AM

I second and third Geezer on that. When profit is the only motivation for being in a community, then each and every person concerned about their community, should, simply, NOT spend any of their money there, and let the profit monster chomp on their bottom line.

The other aspect is that the 'locals' must support any store that is in their small community, so the owner can afford to keep the doors open to the public, by making enough profit to warrant staying in business. Rant, Rant, Rant!

There, that makes a long Rant, into a short Rant.

I'm with you Brian. Perhaps, Alco, McCook might also be rewarded with lack of purchasers. Just a thought.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Dec 28, 2010, at 10:18 PM

Brian you are 100% correct.

Navyblue if I read your comments correctly you are suggesting that perhaps the people of McCook should boycott the McCook Alco store?

May I ask what possible good could come from that?

The only good that I can see would be that the stuffed shirt that determined to close the Duckwall store in Cambridge would just love to close the Alco store in McCook if sales should suddenly take a tumble.

Let's see that would other "good" things would happen from Alco closing.

Another say 15 or so unemployed people in town....that would be a real plus!

Decreased tax revenues from the unemployed workers, less property taxes from yet another empty building, but perhaps another church could turn that store into another non-tax paying property, man that would help wouldn't it!

I would bet that Wal-Mart would love to add yet more sales to their bottom line, that would teach em at Alco HQ. wouldn't it, give Wallyworld more sales.....

Well it probably would make them happy at Alco HQ. less expenses would surely help their profits. I'm sure they are looking for any excuse to close a store that may be marginal in the profit area.

The old saying of cutting your nose off to spite your face comes to mind with your suggestion.

To suggest boycotting the local Alco store,in my opinion, sucks and I would venture to suggest that the local Alco employees would agree.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Dec 29, 2010, at 1:07 AM

Wondering70, I guess I see you and I looking at the same coin from opposite sides, too bad. Please reread my words, using each and every word I wrote, especially the 'Qualifying verbs.'

P-1: I make a statement of Alco 'Fiscal Logic,' and suggested loyalty responsibility.

P-2: I make a statement of community 'Fiscal responsibility,' and loyalty, so a service is retained.

I apologize, if I was unable to indicate that there are 'responsibilities,' on both sides of the coin (that which pays the bills), but if a business does not consider the times, and needs of the community (while still makeing 'black ink' profit), then "Yes," we should boycott Alco McCook, if for no other reason that to tell them we will not stand by and be treated like customer/slaves, subject to anything that 'fool' at Alco headquarters does decide to mete out to we poor, dumb, purchasers.

If Alco wants to shut down the McCook store, and fifteen people lose their employment, what is worse: them retaining a job, for a time dictated by absolute 'Profit-Power,' or Alco realizing that if they want 'any' profit from this community, they had better consider the times, and their participation in the McCook area problems. But I rant, so I will shut my fingers up. If you still disagree with my thoughts, then so be it, and I am sorry we disagree, but we do. Isn't it wonderful we live in a country where you and I can have differing opinions, and still sit down and have a cup of coffee together? I happen to love that factor, and will not subjugate my freedoms to any Corporate profiteering-dictates. AMEN (PS: I am sorry you feel so negative about a Church not paying tax's, but it truly is our God who protects our freedoms, so perhaps a worthy reason for being tax-exempt (Where did Safeway go??)) I'm done. Happy New Year, one and all.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, Dec 29, 2010, at 10:35 AM

Well Mr. Navy, I wasn't the greatest student in English class many years ago, so I guess I missed all the qualifying verbs........

I am not as eloquent with the written word as you.

I guess I took your qualifying verbs to mean that a boycott of the local store would in some way bring the Alco Corporation to change their profit above all else ways.

I suggested that all it would do is cause the possible closing of the store and with it cause the employees to lose their jobs and livelihoods.

Perhaps an organized national boycott of all Alco/Duckwall stores just might catch their attention enough to change their ways, but I really doubt it. They would just declare bankruptcy and reorganize and screw all the employees out of years of built up vacation time, sick leave, pension funds etc. I know about this first hand........

In todays corporate world, loyalty and longevity mean nothing to them except having to pay more benefits to the old "geezers".

My comments about another church moving into another empty building were more tongue in cheek than anything.......(sorry, I'm sure there is a more eloquent term but it escapes me.)

I am not negative about a church not paying taxes, your words not mine.

Churchs not paying taxes is a fact of tax life. I do not in any way disagree with their tax free status.

It just seems like the old store buildings, like the former Safeway and Hinky Dinky stores have attracted churchs and not tax paying businesses.

I really don't care if you "subjugate" your freedoms or not, I will continue to support the local Alco store and it's employees. More to help the employees to keep their jobs than to help the Alco corporation. Also any business not going to the corporate giant Wal-mart is fine with me.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Dec 29, 2010, at 4:00 PM

No question, companies have to make a profit or they fail, for all the obvious reasons. That makes profit a necessary condition for success, not a purpose for existing. Money is the corporation's food. It's true that if you don't eat you die. That doesn't mean eating is the reason you exist.

Here's why I take the position I do. Compare three companies.

The leaders of Company #1, from the CEO on down, focus on creating the best products in their marketplace.

The leaders of Company #2, from the CEO on down, focus on providing the best customer experience in their marketplace.

The leaders of Company #3, from the CEO on down, focus on maximizing profitability.

I don't know who will come in first and second. I'm confident I know which company will waste most of its time and attention playing stupid financial games to make the books look good, eventually failing to compete the only place it counts - for the hearts and minds (and wallets) of the people who have to decide whose products to buy.

.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Thu, Dec 30, 2010, at 1:08 AM

Wondering70 and Keda46 - I invite you to read the following citation (especially the very last 3 paragraphs) and continue your comments...

http://www.ariel.com.au/a/purpose-of-cor...

This is exactly the type of response I was hoping for because this is a complex issue that effects every US citizen. We need things and services that only corporations can offer. How we as consumers and investors interact with these corporations is what's important.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Dec 30, 2010, at 8:12 AM

I found the link interesting and I acknowledge where the writer is coming from. On the lighter side, and somewhat off the subject, there is a movie called Outsourced, filmed in 2007, I found it funny and worth watching.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Thu, Dec 30, 2010, at 11:43 AM

I guess Alco didn't think the loacation was profitable enough, at least that's what they said, and I think we can take them at their word. There' no reason for them to lie about it.

I am a libertarian, and I believe in freedom. Alco should be free to choose locations for their stores. By the same token, Mr Hoag, or anyone else for that matter, should be free to take over the operation or open a similar store if they like. If it's such a great opportunity, then go for it.

It seems very hypocritical to me for anyone to criticise Alco's decision while not being willing to do anything but gripe about it. If you truly believe the store needs to be there, go into the business.

You attack their motives. What are your motives? Do you think businessmen should be free or not? Do you think businesses should be forced to operate for the interests of others above their own interests?

Hugo Chavez thinks the same way, apparently. He wants farmers to produce for the common good in Venesuala, at a loss. He wants the oil companies to produce oil for the common good, at a loss. It won't work, but freedom does.

Free capitalism in this nation has given us a high standard of living in the US. But we are losing freedom every time a law is passed, trying to make everything "fair". The do-gooders are going to ruin this nation, by failing to understand that we all (every one of us) operate with enlightened self-interest. By harnessing that self-interest capitalism frees us to prosper.

Boomer

-- Posted by Boomer62 on Thu, Dec 30, 2010, at 5:03 PM

Howdy Boomer!

First up, I'd appreciate it you didn't compare my thinking with Hugo Chavez. I doubt he and I share ANY economic philosophy.

I'm confused by your comments. I never mentioned laws being written to curtail or regulate business, though it seems you have extended my position to imply that. My statement was that we the people have elected those that made laws that we currently live with that don't work well, or actually hurt the overall economy of our nation. I agree, laws bite into freedom.

You asked me if I think businessmen should be free or not. The basic answer is no, or yes with certain limitations. However, that is actually a pretty loaded question based on past performance of business...

Is it right for a business to require their employees stay in company housing for a job, charge rent for that housing, then raise the rent without raising pay and expect the workers to be happy about it? (The Pullman Strike) How about the corporaton (CF&I) involved in the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado? Perhaps you support business taking advantage of their workers and children as that's what you seem to be advocating to some extent.

Seems to me that child labor laws and of course the dreaded OSHA got started because of business excess. American taxpayers pay BILLIONS of dollars every year thanks to business decisions run amok. Mineral extraction alone is a great example, but taxpayers pay superfund cleanup costs all over the country that were caused by business... and it isn't stopping. And the worst part is that it has nothing to do with the topic at hand really, just some clarification as to why I think business needs some regulations.

My point is that people can make a difference even if the corporation doesn't want us to by boycotting their stock if we invest, and skipping their store or product when we shop or need something. THAT is the American way. The fact that my town is unhappy about losing a profitable corporate store with little notice and I amplify it doesn't make me a hypocrit, or maybe you feel it does... so be it.

Corporations spend a lot of money each year trying to convince us they are on our side and are working for our good. BP is a perfect example! PR departments have big budgets to do exactly what you are doing... defending their decisions.

My motive is to point out what I think exemplifies something wrong with American business. Corporations without a perceived sense of civic responsibilty that couldn't care less about the country, states, and towns they operate in and care only about the bottom line. It's a lousy business model (as Keda46 points out), and one that unfortunately is used all the time...

Why do you suppose all those jobs got moved overseas anyway? It certainly wasn't patriotism and a desire to help build this nation.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 11:46 AM

My job was moved overseas in 2002. Sadly, call centers are cheaper to operate in a foreign country. I'm certain my employeer received kudos from it's investors and made a pile more money for it's greedy behaviour. Although this is a lengthy documentary, it's worth the time to see what a sick entity a corporation can be:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_qu...

-- Posted by fred2 on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 1:02 PM

@fred2 That video is really good, Mr. Hoag posted it in response to a previous blog on here.

I actually have a pertinent video as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2...

Regards,

DAmu

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 4:00 PM

Damu

Yup - that pretty much sums it up.

-- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 7:36 PM

@Geeezer They've done a whole series of videos on various topics that are really interesting, if you get the chance I recommend you check them out!

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 9:23 PM

Though the Damu video recommends states that "capitalisim never corrects its problems, it just moves them around" and I have to agree based on past performance, it seems to me it doesn't have to be that way. I doubt Marxism would be better.

That said, unless there is a fundamental change in economic thinking and leadership, I'm afraid we're in for a heap o' trouble more than we have now.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 7:39 AM

I don't believe Marxism would be better either. I think that capitalism can work, it simply has to be regulated. If you look at the financial history of the country, when we had regulation in the business sector we were prosperous.

When they start taking regulation away to "open the markets" that's were we begin to get into trouble. Companies don't care if something is legal or not, they are in the game to maximize the profits. If the penalty for a certain practice is considerably less than what said practice would make the company they have no quips with doing it.

I believe that regulation is the key.

-- Posted by Damu on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 12:24 PM

I ran across an article today while researching Canada's new Corporate Tax Cut, similar to the one we just extended. Please take a minute of your time and read this article - you would think they were talking about the United States.

That's the message that Bay Street delivered to the McGuinty Liberals in Queens Park; eight billion dollars the amount that the captains of Bay Street paid themselves in bonuses last year for having the wisdom to accept the largest corporate bailout in Canadian history. The seventy five billion dollar bank bailout by Canadian taxpayers, that on a per capita basis matches the U.S bank bailout. Having heard the message the McGuinty Liberals, supported by the Hudack Conservatives have turned its government's rightful priorities on its head, abandoned fiscal responsibility and moral obligations to throw a further $2 .4 billion of no strings attached corporate tax cuts at their feet. This untargeted tax windfall will cost each and every Ontario household over $500/yr in lost services and increased costs.

Line ups will lengthen for hospital procedures, children struggling with mental health issues will be left to fend for themselves, child homelessness once unthinkable will continue to grow, aging families struggling with adult children with developmental disabilities will be left to flounder as services continue to be slashed, our young people will be left with ever growing debt as they gamble that a higher education will provide a job with a decent wage. No service will be exempt from this degradation.

When fully implemented these tax cuts to profitable corporations along with the tens of billions of dollars of additional federal tax cuts will result in Canada having the second lowest corporate tax rate of the G 20, only Mexico will have a lower tax rate. In fact at 11% income tax rate these huge corporations will be paying far less of their income in taxes than working Ontarians. Working Ontario families pay on average over three times as much. Let's have some tax fairness here!

Politicians agree with Corporations when Corporations say they need these tax breaks to create jobs and get the economy going. But the numbers prove them wrong. After 10 years of fiscally irresponsible corporate tax cuts in Ontario the rate of corporate investment here in the Ontario economy has actually gone down. Can anyone say Hersheys? Look around where are the promised good jobs. Ontario's families have paid and paid, and are now being told to pay again. They have paid with increased tuition costs, paid with decreased access to Health care, paid with school closings, tainted meat, unsafe water, and an unstable low paid job market, dominated by private manpower agencies. Enough! A recent Angus Reid poll confirms that 81% of Ontarians support corporations paying their fair share of taxes; because eight billion dollars in bonuses is obscene.

Dave Lundy

Regional Vice President OPSEU

http://netnewsledger.com/?p=4679

-- Posted by Geezer on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 8:06 PM

Clearly we need better education in this country on economics! Most people have never studied economics or business, and it shows.

As I stated before, you are free to establish a business, say Brian's Five and Dime, in Cambridge if you truly believe it is a viable proposition. I would applaud your efforts. I love it when people have the courage of their convictions.

On the other hand, popular as it may be to criticise business people for exercising their freedom to make business decisions, it is certainly hypocritcal if you would make the same decision.

Boomer

-- Posted by Boomer62 on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 11:10 AM


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