Now bear with me, I don't know exactly how this works. But I think I've got a pretty good idea. And once again, in theory, it's a good plan. In practice however ...
1. Wal-Mart is notified that they're selling the Gravy Train of Death. Or Ol'Roy's Six Feet Under Special.
2. Wal-Mart's Bentonville drones place a "sales restriction" on the item(s) in question. This is done by looking in a computer and seeing which of the products the company is selling, finding the appropriate UPC(s) and blocking those UPC(s) from being scanned at the register. Any register. Anywhere there is a Wal-Mart. Yes. The computer in Bentonville has tentacles all over the planet.
3. The Bentonville drones send an e-mail to the Dept. 8 manager and some other people, including the Service Desk (because customers can of course return their recalled items) telling them to pull the merchandise from the sales floor.
4. Oh wait. There isn't a #4.
Yes. Wal-Mart's corporate responsibility pretty much stops after a single e-mail is sent. I know. I have seen the e-mails saying "DEPT. 05 RECALL NOTICE - PULL AND HOLD XXXXX" And then there's a lot of retailese about the product and why it has been recalled and so forth. And instructions on how to contact the vendor/manufacturer and get credit for the store.
Which really, e-mail is great for an educated, white-collar workplace with Blackberries, computers, WiFi, laptops and all that jazz. This do be the Wal-Mart people. We don't have a Pets Deptartment Manager. Pets, with the fish and the sacks of dog food, is a place that NO ONE wants to be.
We have one Dept. 8 (that's Pets) associate -- a high-school dropout single mother with a 16-year-old kid struggling to pay her bills and keep her junk-bucket car running. She doesn't get the e-mails because they only go to the Department Managers. What a system!
The Assistant Manager who is responsible for overseeing Pets is also responsible for the Garden Center, Cosmetics, Health & Beauty Aids, Pharmacy, Hardware & Toys. He probably gets about 20-30 of those e-mails a day. "Dog food?" Whatever. And that's how that went.
So I'm not shocked that the stuff is on the shelves. Remember the infamous "He can cry or he can burn" post? People seem to think that just because it is on the shelf, they are entitled to it. Well, NO. Maybe it just got recalled 10 minutes ago. Which could happen. Maybe it got recalled yesterday and we're finding out about it now. Maybe Elvis appeared in a rhinestone jumpsuit and sang "Love Me Tender" while the associate was trying to get it off the shelves.
But anyway. Customers think that once an item is in the buggy, it is THEIRS. So saying, "I'm sorry, I can't sell this to you" is like saying "Hi, I kidnapped your mother, shot your father and implanted your sister with an alien baby. Paper or plastic?"
Really. People get so upset when you try to uphold the law. And selling a recalled item is against the law. You want me to sell you something that will kill dear old Bingo? Here. Have a case. And drop another case on your head while you're at it. And the first thing they say is "Well, why are there still so many of them back there on the shelf?"
What I want to say is "Really, I don't know and I don't care. You want to work here and worry about it?"
But now you do know why there are still so many of them back there on the shelf. Tell your friends.