Down To Business: A (Legit) Reason To Take Wal-Mart To Task

Note to Wal-Mart: Get your act together. You can do a lot better. But first, a clarification, as this won't be your standard-issue screed about how Wal-Mart is destroying small-town America or running a sweatshop or shipping manufacturing jobs offshore.

Companies are beholden to their customers and shareholders, not to special interests. And for the most part, customers and shareholders love Wal-Mart, as they're both richer for the relationship. At some level, I can relate to the Wal-Mart resistance, as I'd rather shop at the local grocer and movie rental store than fight the hordes and line the coffers at Super Stop & Shopbuster. But this is a choice I get to make. It isn't up to some pencil-necked politician or public advocate to decide for me that Wal-Mart or some other big-box retailer isn't worthy of my community or dollars.

OK, so much for the disclaimer. Now for how Wal-Mart is really behaving badly ... by letting down its customers and shareholders. Specifically, it's bungling e-commerce and doesn't seem all that concerned about it. That's right: The company that put RFID and inventory management and point-of-sale automation and enormous-scale data warehousing on the map can't get its Web site right.

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