In 2011, I worked in a brief contract for Best Buy headquarters just outside of Minneapolis, MN. It wrapped up just as the company was stumbling into its most disastrous and least-profitable holiday season in the history of the company.
One month later, CEO Brian Dunn very abruptly exited his seat.
It seems as though he had *ahem* stuck his pen too far into the company ink well, if you get my drift, and in more ways than one. An extramarital affair he was having with an administrative assistant and misappropriations of funds were brought to light and he was ousted without fanfare.
Behind him, the founder of the company relinquished his own board of directors seat as an admission of guilt for having known about the affair, but doing nothing to correct or stop it.
Since that incident nearly one decade ago, two professionals have taken on the role within the company. Brian Dunn’s immediate successor, a polished Frenchman, turned the company around to its previous financial glory and then some.
It has been less than one year since his successor – a woman and 20-year employee of Best Buy – has assumed the role, only to be in the same uncomfortable spotlight as was Dunn, less than six months into her ascension.
In December 2019, less than six months ago, she came under investigation and scrutiny for “allegedly” (don’t you love that word? It is nearly always indicative of guilt.) having an extramarital affair with another executive within the company.
As of January 2020, everything within the big box retailer seems to be back to smooth sailing with all “inappropriateness” dismissed under the excuse that Best Buy’s corporate policies really don’t define permission or prohibition of corporate romances.
The moral aspect of adultery is hardly one that can be crossed from business into personal lives. However, anyone worth a lick would argue that this questionable personal behavior speaks to the character, intent, judgment, and virtue of the person in a significant corporate leadership role – the top rung.
Is this really the person that you want running a substantial global business? Best Buy didn’t seem to pursue that question with any depth, as nothing came from their internal or external investigations (allegedly), and their business has continued as usual with the sleazy CEO somehow being released from any culpability. Not even a slap on the wrist was administered.
(Yes, I’m well-aware that days, perhaps weeks, could be spent discussing corporate accountability and corruption. It’s rampant. We know that…or we damn well should.)
That could be me being prone to automatically assuming guilt, but I do not believe that there is no smoke without some fire somewhere.
Therefore, any accountability for Best Buy’s CEO simply disappeared, but their reputation as a company hiring and promoting adulterers has been established. And an adulterer still in the top leadership position of a major American company will continue with her own lack of conscientiousness, contrition, self-awareness, and self-control.
She got away with it once (that we’re aware of) – she’ll get away with it again.
She wasn’t held accountable for her actions by having any sort of consequences imposed upon them.
Welcome to our world…what’s left of it.
Customer service – the new true oxymoron.
What has happened to it? Where did it go? The last decade has been incredibly telling of a tide that has shifted to a very, very disappointing low.
Instead of actually communicating and working toward a satisfactory resolution (you know – acting like grown-ups), public entities are telling patrons “don’t come back” when alerted to less-than-acceptable performance matters or suggestions. Additionally, they refuse to acknowledge or take any responsibility for their mistakes. That does one thing – leads to more mistakes and absolutely no growth. It is history doomed to repeat itself.
Never in my life could I have imagined living in a time when telling a customer to not come back was acceptable behavior. Ever.
But here’s a case in point where I won’t return: my family and I patronized an establishment we’d never been to before and ordered a diet Coke. The waitress brought a regular Coke and then became enraged when we asked her to correct the drink. Seriously?
True story. After her unnecessarily copping some serious attitude and us determining that the situation best be escalated to a “manager” (a term I use extremely loosely); not only did we receive no amenable response from him, but were ignored at our table for the rest of the evening by the wait staff. I believe that it goes without saying that we’ll never patronize that establishment ever again.
A seemingly innocuous event, and something so easily rectified and forgotten, turned into an incident where a business proved themselves to be very undesirable. And they lost several patrons and their money.
Was it worth it?
No professionalism, integrity, or accountability.
Recently, I noticed that my publisher unfriended and blocked me from Facebook where we had been connected. Not only had he distanced himself from me on social media, but he had removed links to my books – those which he contracted to sell – from the publisher’s website.
He didn’t reach out to me first. He didn’t indicate anything amiss, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what apparently displeased him.
Several attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful, actions on his part that reflect some juvenile tantrum when I am actually trying to resolve whatever issue I am clearly unaware of.
The only thing I can possibly assume is him having seen a Facebook post of mine, that indicating that my first publisher was a crook…which he was…but that wasn’t the publisher that unfriended me. The latter was my second publisher and he knew that.
I’m in the dark as to the entire affair but not only has this behavior destroyed a business relationship and any trust, it has also broken the law in his breach of contract.
To which I can only ask: why? What purpose did it all serve?
*For any indie authors seeking an outlet for your books, stay away from Editions Dedicaces out of Montreal, Canada.
Now…was THAT worth it?
People are self-absorbed and disrespectful.
Our next door neighbors are a lesbian couple with seven children ranging from infancy to teenage. They have three dogs that they rarely pay attention to (hell, they barely take care of the kids running out in the street in their diapers and with no supervision), one of which was barking non-stop after the entire family took off for a two-week spring break trip without seemingly having anyone to care for the poor animals.
After having endured an entire day and night of constant howling and yipping from this unsupervised dog, I called the police about 10 p.m. to find some relief. A very nice sheriff’s deputy showed up at our door only to tell us there was nothing that he could do. His hands were tied.
Texas law dictates that dogs and other animals are considered property. Private parties are permitted to own as many animals as they’d like and because they are property, “government” and law enforcement have no leverage to tell property owners what to do and not to do with their own property…
…even in situations where it’s clearly obvious that the property <dog> owners have no intention or capability of taking responsibility for their own “property”.
The law doesn’t care about we who have to suffer and endure others’ irresponsibility.
When it becomes a matter of health and wellness, it still doesn’t matter.
Grocery stores sell rotten food and then become combative, defensive, and all but invisible toward their consumers when alerted to the seriousness of this issue.
Citing my own personal experience, I have recently been “in discussion” (also tongue-in-cheek) with a local food chain and have become increasingly frustrated and confused by the lack of response or acknowledgement I’ve received from their “customer service representatives” to resolve the issue of buying rotten food I’ve had to throw away and the cost along with it.
There is no way that this should be the enormous hassle that it has become. If they didn’t sell rotten food, if they comprehended even the vaguest sense of obligation, if they cared…none of this hassle would be necessary for them or me. I have lost all faith and trust in every buying items from them again.
How can that be defended? Why is this rocket science?
I’ll cook at home, thank you.
Though my family and I are not apt to eat out or get fast food frequently, every single experience that we have had in the last year has been disastrous. Wrong orders, items left out, having to ask for silverware at a table that has already received food, watching restaurant workers messing around and doing anything but their jobs are just a few examples.
That’s not an exaggeration. It has been every single experience.
The examples of questionable and even unbelievable behavior that I could continue to present is infinite.
Has this entire world now finally found its way to the bottom of the bowl? I appreciate that humans are flawed and potentially prone to mistakes. I even expect them now and again. That’s considered a margin of error.
But why do people settle for so little from the one and only life that they have to enjoy? There is no shame or humility in satisfaction, comfort, or standing up for oneself.
Why the constant excuses and the arguments and poor relational connections?
Why are people so angry, defensive, and prone to simply ignoring a situation with the hopes that it will disappear – especially in their place of work and toward other people? Why is no one held accountable for ANYTHING anymore?
I get it. Perhaps the pendulum has swung so far, that individuals have became so rude that public industries have decided to stand up to it. People get fed up. Every one of us.
That’s fine, but only to a point and none of that serves as justification to treat other people poorly. Ever.
The adage that the “customer is always right” has never resonated with me. Customers are NOT always right, but that doesn’t mean that businesses are entitled to treat their patrons like shit.
After all, consumers are the source of the business’ revenue and paying rude employees’ salary. Apparently, that escapes a great many individuals.
They just don’t care.
They don’t get it.
And they just really have no idea what to do. They’re zombies incapable of formulating their own thoughts and instructions on what they are to do in their jobs are given to them by people just as – if not more so – incompetent than the teams they lead.
It’s ok to think for yourself. In fact, it is fantastic. Actually, being wrong isn’t bad at all. We learn far more from failures than we ever will gain from successes. Be willing to fall flat once in a while. It happens. No one is perfect.
And afterward, stand up; dust yourself off and keep doing it wrong until right shows up.
Right will never appear if you convince yourself that wrong doesn’t exist.
The dog with the bone.
I have been frequently – and will continue to be, I have no doubt – admonished, derided, sworn at, and shamed for being – seemingly perceived as – fussy, combative, picky, overly-critical, or just a downright bitch because I raise these situations to attention.
Worse yet, that I will stand up against unacceptable behavior and treatment. I have no problem calling out the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Few others will take that action – that’s conflict avoidance.
The general public view that as “Karen” mentality – that I’m difficult and demanding. I’m really not. I simply refuse to surrender my standards.
I refuse to accept mediocrity.
I guess I was just raised that way.
I remember my dad pounding into the heads of my siblings and me the importance of taking pride in everything we did – that something worth doing was worth doing well.
He never permitted us to settle for anything less. My dad, though not an educated or wealthy man, stood up for that in which he believed, regardless of those who disagreed with him.
He didn’t have to use profanity or aggression to do it. He saw no need for that. He was a simply-spoken man who laid out with reason and common sense his justification and logic for that which he did and said.
I have followed very closely in those footsteps despite finding myself the butt of ridicule, gossip, and abandonment.
And I will continue to do so. It is exhausting and heartbreaking to have every aspect of life directly impacted by continual and constant mistakes, slovenly behavior, rudeness, apathy, and defensiveness.
Yet, even more painful is to know that I have just simply stood by and permitted it.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. – Edmund Burke.
There are more questions than answers when it comes to holding people accountable for their actions, but it comes down to each of us having our voice and using it respectfully and – yes – sparingly as the situation applies.
Accountability has to come from within because integrity is how one conducts themselves when no one else is watching. That’s a tall order, one infrequently met.
Not every event requires response, not every situation is conflict; not everyone needs to be your friend, but everyone is worthy of respect until they have shown you otherwise.
Accounting for myself, I can:
- Not justify laying down with dogs just to wake up with fleas. I do not measure my worth by how many followers are on social media, nor will I fret should that number decline. That is beyond my control or willingness to expend energy on the entire affair.
- Carefully consider the situation in front of me and choose how and when to select or hold my words.
- Believe that discretion is the better part of valor and practice that daily.
- Grasp that behavior accepted or ignored is behavior that is condoned.
- Apologize and rectify when I am wrong, and caution when accused of falsehoods.
- Appreciate that we are all different and our experiences make us who we are and what we expect.
- Constantly strive for higher ground. There is always better to be had or improvement to be made in all of us. Always. The day that I believe something is “good enough” is that day that I will be put into the ground.
- Not tolerate being treated with disrespect, being ignored, being sworn at, or insulted. No one should.
- Avoid drama where I can, lessen it when possible, and maintain reason. Anger, defensiveness, and retaliation do nothing but welcome the same in return.
- Stand up for that which I believe and permit others to do the same.
- Recognize those parties opened to compromise versus those only seeking to be right. You can share information with anyone – what they choose to absorb is solely up to them.
- Take accountability for my own actions knowing full well that others simply can’t or won’t.
- Know when to quit. Battles are easy to choose – how hard and how long we choose to fight them is more difficult to decide.
And after all of this, expelling thoughts that have been bubbling in me for days, I see little hope in their worth.
That’s not defeatism – that is realism.
As a last resort, we can always trust karma to come through with flying colors.
It has no problem finding any of us…