Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Furniture Row Debacle: An Update OR Lola's very clear position...since it clearly wasn't clear before.

UPDATE: Someone anonymously (and respectfully, and intelligently, and eloquently - hm, imagine that) commented on my previous post, and I completely agree with what they had to say. I hadn't thought of it that way, but upon reading it, find that I agree. Go to the comments section of this post to read more. (I definitely recommend it.)

Hi friends! I have recently received an email from Furniture Row's National Marketing Director, Bill McKendry. He was concerned that maybe I had been given false information. But I am fairly certain that I have not. HOWEVER, if he thinks so, I feared that perhaps many of you may think so as well, so I thought it best to make his position, and mine, VERY clear.

In a nutshell, MY position is this: Firing a newly signed American Soldier (even if he is a totally lazy turd/waste of space, and I am NOT asserting that Chris Hendry was said "turd" in any way. - not. asserting. that. at. all.) is a stupid thing to do. That's my position, in a nutshell. For my position in a gigantic (like, cruise ship sized) nutshell, (come on, you know you want it) read on.

But first, to be fair, this is what Bill had to say:


I noticed your blog entry and have posted the following statement because you seem to have been given incorrect information...

Unfortunately, there seems to be false accusations being perpetuated about the dismissal of Mr. Chris Hendry from Furniture Row Companies employment.

This issue has been investigated by the Executive Director, Idaho Committee from the office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. This is the office Mr. Hendry contacted and is responsible for reviewing potential employer discrimination cases. Furniture Row has been cleared of all charges related to these false accusations.

Furniture Row does not believe it is in the best interest of former employees to discuss issues surrounding their performance with our company. Beyond that, Furniture Row Companies only wishes the best for Mr. Hendry and is in full support of his service and continued service to our country.

Furniture Row Companies is honored to work with reservists and veterans alike and has always welcomed military personnel into all ranks of our company. Matter of fact, the founder of Furniture Row is a former military person himself, as are many of the top level executives within the company. Our company's strong record for honoring and employing military personnel was recognized in Mr. Hendry's report by Guard and Reserve officials.

We can only hope this additional information brings some clarity and perspective to this unfortunate situation and events.

With the deepest respect,
Bill McKendry
National Marketing Director
Furniture Row Companies

Hi Bill, (Can I call you Bill?)
What part of the information that was presented on my blog was false? I said that Furniture Row fired Chris Hendry shortly after he informed them of his boot camp date.

Is that false? I don't think it is.

Chris Hendry told his superiors that he had signed up for military service, and then was fired.
In that order. Right? That then, is a fact, right?

I didn't say that he was fired unfairly or without cause.

I also didn't say that his choice to give military service was the reason he was fired, though the situation begs that very question, doesn't it? And I asked that question in my title. It has a question mark at the end of it (which is how I know it was a question rather than a false statement).

dumb people Pictures, Images and Photos

{and no, Bill, I'm not calling you guys Morons, I just thought this sign was awesome.}

The MAIN premise of my blog was not so much about whether or not Chris Hendry was fired unjustly, as it was about "whether or not firing a guy the day after he tells you he's joined the army" is a smart thing to do.

For the record: I'm asserting that IT. IS. SO. NOT. a smart thing to do.

Dumb People Pictures, Images and Photos

If Chris had been sitting on a lovely leather couch in the show room eating "Cheetos" and watching football all the live-long day, I still wouldn't have fired him.

"What are you, nuts? Why on earth not?" (You may ask.)

Well, because then he might send out a mass email to everyone he knows (which is a LOT of people) about how he got fired the day after announcing the fact that he's joined the military, and then those people would get really mad and send an email to everyone they know, and then those people would get really mad and send it to everyone they know and…well you get the idea. Before any of us know it, people in Germany and Hong Kong are having a good laugh about that idiot manager from Furniture Row who lacked enough sense to know that firing an newly signed American soldier was a really bad idea.) That's "why on earth not."

It’s hardly worth the bad publicity that would inevitably ensue. Even a pregnant, stay-at-home-mom (who spends half her day throwing up, and the other half of her day doing laundry, watching Oprah, and eating Chili Cheese Fritos, which somehow magically seem to soothe - rather than irritate- her crazy/picky stomach) can see that.

for dumb people Pictures, Images and Photos

I, personally, (being the savvy business woman that I clearly am…) would have, oh I don’t know, TALKED TO HIM about his poor performance. (A method which, upon further investigation, does not seem to have been used since Chris seemed to be rather blind-sided by the whole thing and has been left scrambling to figure out how he is going support his family between now and April. Not a very nice situation for a young father, and newly signed American Soldier to be in.) How is a guy supposed to fix something he doesn’t even know is wrong? Ri-ght? Right. That's just poor (and seemingly passive-aggressive, but hey - I don't want to speculate) management.

Anyway, all of the “he said/he said” aside… the fact is, abruptly firing a newly signed soldier is just bad form. If I were you, (and frankly at this exact moment in time, I am certainly glad that I’m not) I would have quite a bit more firing to do before the day was through (starting with the PR/management genius that thought firing Chris Hendry was a good idea in the first place.) Yeah, as far as I'm concerned that guy would be sittin’ in a fairly huge doghouse at this point. Well, honestly, who am I kidding? He wouldn’t be sitting anywhere other than the curb.

I like smart people. Maybe to a fault. Smart people don’t get themselves (or their employers) into messes like the one Furniture Row currently finds itself in. Is it Furniture Row’s regular policy to employ (and promote) bad employees for upwards of two years and then abruptly fire them when they sign on for military duty? Because if it is, I would highly recommend changing that policy. It sort of looks bad...sort of.

If that’s NOT the policy, I would highly recommend firing the guy who let a bad employee continue to work (in a management position) for months (and possibly years) on end, only to fire him once he signed on for duty. It looks sort of extremely bad, and really not very smart at all.

Ladder Pictures, Images and Photos
So, let me make my statement crystal clear for anyone who thinks that I (or most Americans) care about every minute detail of the “he said/he said” game – which is really a “spin game” in and of itself, no?

I don’t care about how Furniture Row wants to spin it. I don’t care about how Chris Hendry wants to spin it. If I get into that, we will all be here forever, and I do not believe for one second that at any point between now and eternity we will get any closer to the truth. So let’s cut the mustard and call it what it is.

The “smart PR people” gospel according to Lola is very simple. And it is this:

“Firing a newly signed soldier (who has has worked for your establishment for two years and also has a young family that depends on him) the day after he announces his military sign on, is a stupid thing to do.”

There it is. There’s nothing else to argue about. It looks bad. Period.

Not because his employment record was stellar, but because America loves its soldiers, and we are still losing soldiers overseas every day, and this very sudden termination will totally hurt and affect his family, and it just looks BAD!

Bad! Bad! Bad!

And just to put “Things looking bad…even though they aren’t always what they seem…and Funriture Row had a really really good reason for firing him, really, they totally do...and you just don't understand... we are innocent... even though this looks really bad...” into perspective, let me give you a little example.

My mom just bought a 5 bedroom cabin (okay, my lawyer daddy sort of helped too). It is a second home. She has NO FURNITURE for this new home. She had a day planned next week to go to Furniture Row in Draper with my Aunt (who has shopped at, and loved, Furniture Row in the past) and literally find and purchase an ENTIRE house full of furniture. (Can you say $20,000 to $30,000 dollars in one afternoon?) She will now be taking her business elsewhere. You want to know why?

She likes dealing with smart people.

Firing soldiers (whether they work like champs, or sit around spilling “Cheetos” crumbs on showroom couches all the live-long day) is not "smart people."


Hmmmm, how much would Furniture Row have spent paying Chris Hendry’s salary for an additional 6 weeks? (ANSWER: I seriously doubt it's anywhere around 20-30 thousand).

So, was that smart? (ANSWER: nope.)

And that's just ONE person's business lost. Just one. There are 400 contacts in my email account. (and yes, I sent a simple, FACTUAL email to every single one of them.) Because that firing was a stupid thing to do. Have fun scrambling to pick those feathers up, boys. It would have been a lot less work to talk to Chris, and ask him to improve his

We like smart. Period.

The dumb is ringing so loudly in my ears that all of the “We have tons of Veterans working here-s” and all of the “We love America-s!” in the world can’t penetrate it.

That’s the problem with bad managers making bad decisions without consulting smart people (like you, Bill.) first. Let the rest of your management team know that they’re welcome to consult me next time they think they need to fire someone lest they make a similar, grievous error in the future, kay? (And just for the record, large bags of Chili Cheese Fritos are my preferred method of payment for consultant services.) I’m no genius, but even I can see that that was BEYOND well, um, you know, not to be rude or anything, but... dumb.


With Love,

(P.s. Bill – no offense to you, of course. You’re obviously a lovely guy. I’m just sorry that Furniture Row chooses to employ people that you clearly have to clean up after. Sorry if this letter comes across as unprofessional and sassy, the unfortunate fact is, I happen to be both :)

Best wishes.


Preemie Miracle said...

Kudos!! And I am also impressed with the fact you did not use the R word. Cause again, you are smart! :)

Ashley Thalman said...

Boom schucka-lucka! Wow.
I couldn't have written something this amazing ever. in my life. I love it!

Heather said...

LOVE IT!!!! That was amazing! I tried to send an e-mail last night to the address you linked, and guess what? Delivery status failure. Huh. That's weird, I wonder why ;)

C Stevens said...

You are always so go good to stand for what you believe in even when The "National Marketing Director" try's to hush the situation.
I find it interesting that he is in marketing. If he is truly a follower of your blog, I'm surprised he has not asked you to model for them yet.

Anonymous said...

Lola (I hope I can call you that):

For the protection of Mr. Hendry (primarily his privacy rights), we can not disclose any information surrounding his employment or his performance.

But your assertions and understanding of the circumstances are simply incorrect.

My point of writing you is that you appear to be someone who wants to support our troops and those who serve in the military. And you should know that Furniture Row's record on that front is stellar. (That fact was even noted in Mr. Hendry's report from the Guard and Reserve Office.)

An example of that is when Furniture Row established in 2004 a very unique company policy to pay any Guard and Reserve employees who are called to active duty in a combat zone their average earnings prior to their deployment over and above whatever compensation they receive for their military service while they are deployed.

I could give you many more examples of how this (Vietnam) Veteran-led and managed organization has gone out of its way to work with and provide special consideration for military personnel.

That's not spin, those are facts. And, again, your assumptions are not based on ALL the facts.

We do appreciate your defense for members of the military, but your attacks on Furniture Row and its management aren't based on the same solid footing.

Best regards,

Bill McKendry
National Marketing Director
Furniture Row Companies

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