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It's ironic that retailers and restaurants live or die on customer service, yet their employees have some of the lowest pay and worst benefits of any industry. That's one reason so many retail experiences are mediocre for the public.
Howard Schultz - Earnings - Employee - Customers - Retailing
 

Quote # 5

  "Some men see things as they are and ask 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'"            ~Robert F. Kennedy, 1968 
Update: Wal-Mart no longer seeks money from disabled ex-worker



Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 6:26 PM PT
By Rich Gardella and Lisa Myers, NBC News

On Saturday's Nightly News, NBC News Senior Investigative Correspondent Lisa Myers reported on Deborah Shank, a former employee of Wal-Mart permanently disabled in a car accident eight years ago. Wal-Mart's health plan had moved to collect some of the settlement money she won in a lawsuit against a trucking firm in order to reimburse itself for the more than $470,000 in medical expenses it had paid for Shank.

Although it had just contacted Shank's attorney to begin the process of actually collecting the money from Shank and her husband, Wal-Mart announced Tuesday it had reversed its decision and said that it no longer will seek any reimbursement from the Shanks.

Wal-Mart had won its case in several courts over the past few years. Recently, the Supreme Court declined to hear Shank's appeal.


Both CNN and NBC News broadcast Shank's story last week, generating a large viewer response.

"We have decided to modify our plan to allow us more discretion for individual cases, and are in the final stages of working out the details," Wal-Mart's statement, released Tuesday, reads. "Wal-Mart will not seek any reimbursement for the money already spent on Ms. Shank's care, and we will work with the family to ensure the remaining amounts in the trust can be used for her ongoing care."

Wal-Mart ended its statement with an apology "for any additional stress this has put on the Shank family."

Jim Shank, Deborah's husbnad, released a statement in response: "I am grateful that Wal-Mart has seen their error and decided to rectify it. I just wish it hadn't taken them so long, this never should have happened. I sincerely hope no other family ever has to go through this.

"My thanks go first and foremost to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for the strength to bear up under all this. Thanks also to the citizens of the United States - it wasn't me who made this happen, it was the outcry of the people, and if there's a lesson in this story it's that 'we the people' still means something."

Let's look at the little picture......

There are two of about a hundred expressions that I'm sick to death of:

"It is what it is." and "Look at the big picture."

The biggest problem with looking at the "big picture" is that it tries to hide or overlook the suffering of one person.

I posted a news article about the possible suffering of one family.

A woman, of fifty-three years, a wife, a mother of three, was in an unforeseen traffic accident with a truck.

She is now unable to work for the rest of her life and will need nursing home care.
She worked for retail chain store.
She signed on for the company's medical benefits before her accident.

In the fine print there is a clause that stated that if the employee should be awarded a money settlement in the case of an accident that the retail chain store should be paid back for all that the medical plan paid out.
(Makes you wonder what is in all our medical plans that we sign up for out of the need for employment, doesn't it? Better get out those handbooks and take a look.)

The woman's family did sue the trucking company.
She was awarded a judgment of about one million dollars. After paying legal fees and/or her portion of the above mentioned medical bills she had about $417,000. This was put into trust for her long term care and her children's possible college money.

Now the retail chain wants the $470,000 it paid out.

Oh and to top it all off, her oldest son was killed, in the war, a week or so after the court awarded the judgment to the retail chain store.

Now can anyone out there look at the small tragedy that has happened to this family and have the grace to feel a bit of empathy.

This could happen to you.
This story just blew me away. I can't explain in words how outraged I am by this story. Pass it on if you feel the same.


Wal-Mart Sues Disabled Ex-Employee

JACKSON, Missouri (March 29) - Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq. The 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral, but she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money.

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.

Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie."

"Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her what's going on because it will just upset her.



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Quote #4

"Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity than straigthforward and simple integrity in another. A knave would rather quarrel with a brother knave than with a fool, but he would rather avoid a quarrel with one honest man than with both. He can combat a fool by management and address, and he can conquer a knave by temptations.

But the honest man is neither to be bamboozled nor bribed.



-----C. C. Colton

Quote #3, Leadership:

“The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants them to do, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

-- Theodore Roosevelt

Quote #2, Think about this for a moment:

Myrlie Evers: When you hate, the only one that suffers is you because most of the people you hate don't know it and the rest don't care.

Quote of the Day (#1)

"A man (or woman) is accurately judged by how he treats those

who are not in a position either to retaliate or to reciprocate."


- Paul Eldridge - Novelist (1888-1982)

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