Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

JCPenney is back – JCP is out

jcpenney

Early last February, JCPenney rolled out its “Fair and Square Everyday Pricing Plan”. It didn’t take long for push back from consumers, analysts, and just about everyone with an opinion, either. The primary complaints weren’t limited to the new pricing program, because in addition to price tag changes, the department store started radically changing floor-plans and reduced product selection in many locations. Couple that with the fact that consumers weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about shopping in general due to the economy, and it was a near disastrous combination for the corporation.

While JCPenney got at least a temporary reprieve from the Martha Stewart branding debacle with Macy’s, that doesn’t come close to undoing the damage by recently ousted CEO, Ron Johnson. They can console themselves at least a little that the dismissal cost them a paltry $148,924, but in all fairness (pun intended), that number should include the 25% losses in sales, and the 50% drop in stock values. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can only wonder now why JCPenney would think that Johnson could have helped to boost their sales the same way did with Apple stores. Comparing the two is like the proverbial comparison of “apples and oranges” – Apple products enjoy a base of loyal consumers that buy products simply because they are manufactured by the electronics giant. It’s also abundantly clear that it was huge mistake to give Johnson free reign to make changes to the department store’s brick and mortar operations at will. It’s been argued that he was fixing something that wasn’t broken, and should have been focusing on online sales.

So, to rectify all of this, JCPenney may very well be making another big mistake by bringing back former CEO, Myron Ullman. Nothing says a company has learned its lesson about past mistakes like bringing back someone that failed to address problems previously, even if that person could be considered the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, the colossal mistakes made by Johnson need to be rolled back, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line at least temporarily, to appease consumers that were annoyed with the radical changes by assuring them that it will be going back to “business as usual.” But, if the future plans don’t include a sincere effort to compete in the online market, JCPenney can’t count on a long-term recovery. And that brings us to “the apology” ad campaign:

The transcript:

It’s no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.

The commercial encourages consumers to visit the corporate Facebook page, to offer their feedback. A quick review of their interactions with the public isn’t particularly encouraging though. Visitor comments run hot and cold, with quite a few consumers making suggestions about the company returning to old practices. But, this is Facebook, and it’s likely that responses would be radically different on other social media sites. Many of the comments are from older consumers, and while they are important to consider, the reality of the situation is that building a marketing plan based on feedback from age-limited niche will be yet another disaster. Bluntly, particularly if catering to Baby Boomers, that is a recipe for short-term success followed by a precipitous drop and flat-line. It can’t be assumed that JCPenney will be smart enough to avoid this either, since they’ve opted to re-hire Ullman. Only time will tell where this all leads, but if the past is any indication, consumers will get one thing they tend to enjoy for at least a little while – going out of business sales.

America: Future of Freedom or Future of Tyranny?

This is an open letter to those in America who still support, and will vote for, Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012. It is also for those who will blindly support Republicans because they aren’t Democrats. Please take time to read through this and really think about what I say. Don’t read this through the eyes of politics or party line rhetoric, read this as an American citizen.
I remember a Republican president and a Republican controlled Congress giving us the Patriot Act for our “protection”. They also gave us the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security has given us the TSA. Have you been on an airplane lately? To fly these days you have to be either photographed virtually nude or felt up by a guard who fondles people for a living. Now stay with me here, think about this. While they are busy strip searching an 89 year old, wheel chair bound, diaper wearing, woman in an airport, they are allowing millions of people to just walk across our southern border.

There is even less security on the Canadian border and Muslim terrorists have easy access to Canada. So the TSA keeps you safe on an airplane while they allow these same people, terrorists that now can’t get on an airplane, access to your homes, your churches, your shopping malls, your children’s schools. Think about this for a minute before you continue. Terrorists don’t need airplanes any longer. Our government is so focused on air travel that a terrorist can’t get on a plane with a box cutter, but they can walk across the Mexican border like they are out for a Sunday stroll in the park. And what do terrorists bring with them on these strolls? I bet it isn’t bundles of marijuana. Both parties speak of “fearing” a nuclear attack with a suitcase bomb but neither party is willing to close the main source of access for that attack they “fear”. How safe does this information leave you feeling?

Do you know what Homeland Security has “prevented” in the last few years? I know of two much bally-hoed “attacks” prevented by the federal government in recent years. Both were thwarted by alert FBI agents, who just happened to have recruited the bomber, supplied all of the information and access necessary to carry out the attack, AND supplied a dummy bomb to the would-be terrorist. This link is to a story about the Dallas incident. This has happened under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, no partisanship here. The government arrests these poor morons and trot the “terrorist” out like they have “saved” us. And the “Times Square Bomber”, a legitimate attempt, was thwarted by alert citizens not government officials.

Let’s go back a bit farther now and talk about jobs with all of the unemployed rank and file union workers who paid dues to the union, dues that got funneled back to the Democrat Party. Your jobs were shipped overseas primarily under Democrat presidents and Democrat controlled Congresses. Bill Clinton and a Democrat Congress raised corporate taxes, and gave us NAFTA and GATT; free trade agreements that made it cheaper to build items in Mexico, China, India, and who knows where else. The labor is cheaper, taxes are lower, and they can ship products back here without paying import taxes.

Republicans were all too happy to jump on board with this also. Your elected government and union officials are at fault for this, not the employer. Union hierarchy are living just fine while you sit on unemployment and scratch day to day in the hope you can hold onto the house you bought while times were good. Check into the financial status of James Hoffa and the other top union leaders. How are they doing? Are they living on unemployment? I would be curious to know if they actually pay taxes on their income or if they are exempt, as are Timothy Geithner and Charles Rangel. Who benefitted from the housing bubble and its ultimate bust? Don’t take my word for it; go look at how all of this has affected you and then look at who did what. These people, in either party, are not doing you any favors.

Bill Clinton made a bid for your 401/IRA retirement accounts and barely lost that one because there were enough Republicans opposing it. He wanted to “nationalize”, that means seize, your retirement account and lump it in with Social Security to help those who have less than you do. You work and save for 40 years so the government can give those savings to people too lazy to work, people unwilling to work, and illegal aliens. That little surprise has boiled up again. It’s not on the radar yet but is there just the same. Obama is hatching Phase 2 of this little plot against your future, kind of like Obamacare is Phase 2 of Hillarycare.

Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins came up with the brilliant idea of giving the president complete control of the internet through “kill switch” legislation. Iran and China already have this in place. How is that working out for their citizens? Here we have a “moderate” Democrat, disguised as an Independent, and a “moderate” (RINO) Republican openly plotting to give the president, any president, the right to take away internet access whenever he wants to do so. Drop that in with the mix with “net neutrality”, which is their fall back position from complete control, and you have the makings of tyranny. Democrats are openly supporting the “occupy Wall Street” bunch and some are calling for the suspension of elections, and even the suspension of the Constitution, to solve this mess we are in.

Do you really understand what that means? Do you really understand what these people are calling for? Do you see how the Republican leadership in Congress is dealing with this? Go look at the last 10 years in Venezuela. Look at how Hugo Chavez gained a dictatorship. Look and compare. Don’t take my word for it, go look it up and see for yourself.

Lobbyists, many of whom are former members of Congress or various administrations, are paid big bucks to get legislation passed that is beneficial to their clients. They buy influence with politicians of both parties. For you parents out there, do you punish your child for doing wrong or do you punish the one who put them up to it? One problem with our nation is that we have grown to make excuses for our child and blame others who were also involved. “The ‘instigator’ is at fault not my baby”, or “it isn’t MY senator, MY Congressman, it is the ‘evil corporations’. “ No, it isn’t the “instigator’s” fault; your kid didn’t have to throw the rock he was handed through the window. No, it isn’t the “evil corporation” and your member of Congress could always refuse the bribe money. Now we find out that Congress is immune to insider trading laws. Martha Stewart sat in prison, Nancy Pelosi sits as minority leader of the House of Representatives. How nice!!!!!

Those who are on some form of government assistance are also in danger. What the government gives it can take away. Look at what they have done since the 9/11 attacks. We are finding ever increasing control by one government agency or the other. Senate bill S. 679 (Thomas Congressional Library), introduced in March 2011, will give the president, any president, the right to appoint anyone he wishes to any post he wishes. It takes away any Congressional approval and gives carte blanche rights to the president. The “czars” will be even more omnipotent than they are now. No Congressional oversight, no voice of the people allowed. This is a violation of their oath to the Constitution, and to We the People. Go to the link, read the article, and share it with your family, friends, and Congress Critters. A “bi-partisan” Senate has passed S. 679 and sent it to the House of Representatives.

I just saw an article a couple of days ago that says we owe more than we can produce to pay off the national debt. Both parties have done this. We are on a fast boat to dictatorship and many are either blind to it or in denial. You don’t have to take my word for it. It is easy to see if you will take the time to look behind the campaign rhetoric, the partisan political fighting, and the posturing. Go find the true intent of what is being done; behind the scenes, out of the public eye and by both political parties.

There are more of us in this sinking ship of state than you might think. I am not being politically partisan here, I am being an American. When government takes over the ultra-rich will still be ultra-rich. Why do you think they give so much money to politicians? They are buying the future favor you and I can’t afford. Go check out the financial status of those who have been in Congress a while. See if they have “shared the sacrifice” or if they have become wealthy. Don’t take my word for it, go take a close look at how you are being manipulated into slavery.

There are movements out there who are fighting this, help them. The TEA Party is a grassroots group of citizens working to take their country back for the People. Tim Cox of GOOH is recruiting citizens to become citizen legislators to represent We the People, become a candidate if you can, if not help financially or work on a local campaign. John Dummett is running for the Republican  nomination for president. He is a common man that stands for the Constitution and the People, and he needs our help. He won’t get any help from the party machine or the media.

Take a look at your “class” in life. Take an honest look at your life, your income, the taxes you pay and your overall prognosis for the future. Now look at history. Who suffered in the French Revolution? Lots of rich people lost their heads but where did their wealth go? Did the peasants come out wealthy or did they suffer even more poverty? Go back and take a look at the Russian Revolution in 1917 and see how the poor came out on that one. Study the aftermath of World War I and the poverty that ensued in Germany. Look at how Adolph Hitler got control of Germany and how he went about his evil task. It didn’t start in 1939 with the invasion of Poland and Hitler didn’t do it by himself. He had a willing parliament, complicit media, and a desperate populace. Take a stroll through history, look the information up and find the truth. Then look at what your government has done here, just in the last 10 years. Go look at the last 10 years in the history of Venezuela. See how Hugo Chavez has taken complete control of that nation.

I am a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a veteran, and a patriot. I have seen my freedom and the opportunities for my grandchildren seep away one at a time until a nation that was once crowded with opportunity and freedom has become a very lonely place. If you look at history you can see where we are now and where we are headed.

If you are not willing to learn from history you will repeat it. Many who are trying to stop this slide to tyranny will suffer the same fate as those who can’t or won’t see it for what it is. Once our freedom is totally gone it will take generations to get it back, if that can even be done. Don’t wait until it is too late to get involved; help win the battle for freedom we now face.

Look at how both parties and individual members of Congress have affected your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren. Don’t just listen to their words. Look at how they voted and bills they co-sponsored. Gain a true understanding of world history, understand what is happening and learn what you can do about it. We don’t have to travel this road any longer. We the People have the power to once again have a voice in our nation but we have to speak up. We have to know what we are talking about factually, not with partisan political eyes (rose colored, maybe?) for or against either party. When government has control of everything we are no longer free.

The following link goes to an article I wrote that has a lot in common with this one. In it I go more into the foibles of blindly voting for a political party.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
November 24, 2011