Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wish We Had a Wegmans

Wegman's supermarket in the Northeastern U.S. ranked #1 on FORTUNE magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Wegmans has been on the list every year since it began in 1998.

Shoppers love it. They come from far reaches of the county to shop there, skipping Wal-marts and Targets. They can buy Cap'n Crunch and Doritos and fine Italian cheeses and German Reislings all in one stop. The customer service knocks the heads off of every other retailer within a hundred miles. And the prices are low.

Maybe the customer service is so genuinely good because the employees love working there. Many start in high school, go to college (with help from Wegman's), then come back and work their way up. The atmosphere is collegial, steeped in mutual respect, and inspiring. Employees challenge each other on the best way to prepare porcini-mushroom salad or butcher lamb. Some are sent on overseas trips to find out how the French prepare their geese.

The chairman of this privately held, family-owned business is Robert Wegman, who started by stocking shelves generations ago.

What a role-model outfit in this world of corporate puffery and blandness.

And their employers have never wanted a union.

Hmmm. I wonder why. Is it because they were treated fairly? Yup.

This beckons this question: If Wal-mart is as great as it says it is, why do so many of its employees fight for unions? And why did Wal-mart allow one in China, but would rather shut down a store in Canada than allow unionizing there?

I'm a capitalist. I think capitalism works. And I go back and forth on unions.

But if you don't treat your employees with respect, make sure their wages and benefits are fair, and ensure their work environment is healthy and welcoming, you will eventually fail. No matter how big you get.

Plus, it would help if Wal-mart made sure certain parts of its stores didn't smell like urine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you base your statement that so many of Wal-Mart's employees fight fot unions? They have over 1 million employees. If they wanted a union, they'd have it.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only bible thumpers shop at Wegmans. They are too overpriced and have nothing better than the little local store.

10:39 AM  

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