Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Can I have a cookie? Please, please, please?

And it works every time.

Bao has got the art of non-verbal communication down to a science. By the time he was three months old, he knew that it's not what you say, but how you say it. The senior executives at Menu Foods responsible for distributing contaminated pet food that killed cats and dogs could learn a lot about effective communications from Bao.

It doesn't help that Menu Foods Chief Financial Officer Mark Wiens sold sold half his shares in the company three weeks before the pet food recall, especially when you consider that this was about the same time that Menu Foods executives realized they had a problem. Wiens sold 14,000 shares for $89,000 on February 26 and 27. The shares are now worth about $54,000. Do the math. It's a nice little windfall.

"He feels just awful that this link has been made," company spokesman Sam Bornstein tells us.

In that case, maybe Wiens will chip in and pay some of the enormous veternarian bills that his unsuspecting customers have incurred. But somehow, I don't think so.

It also doesn't look good that when a US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee invited Menu Foods representatives to attend the hearings they're holding into the disaster, Menu Foods declined. They sent Duane Ekedahl, president of the Pet Food Institute, instead. The Pet Food Institute is a trade association for the pet food industry. "Pet foods are safe," Ekedahl said.

Tell that to the people whose pets have died.

The non-verbal message that Menu Foods is sending is that they don't give a damn and they're not sorry. Maybe they do give a damn. Maybe they are sorry. But that's not how they're acting. People who are genuinely sorry don't hide behind company spokesmen and trade associations. People who are sorry say so. That's what Menu Foods needs to do.

The CEO of Menu Foods needs to say, We're sorry. Please, forgive us. Please, please, please!

And act as if he means it.


Blogger Betty said...

Bao could get all the cookies he wanted out of me. I agree about Wiens. He should have to use his windfall for vet bills.

Congratulations on securing an agent, by the way.

1:22 PM


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