Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas not so Merry for Walmart!

Wal-Mart said on Tuesday that it would pay at least $352 million, and possibly far more, to settle lawsuits across the country claiming that it forced employees to work off the clock. Several lawyers described it as the largest settlement ever for lawsuits over wage violations.
After years of being embarrassed by lawsuits over its wage practices, the company agreed to settle 63 cases pending in federal and state courts in 42 states. The workers and their lawyers will receive at least $352 million, and the payments could reach $640 million, depending on how many claims affected workers submit.
Union critics of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, saw the settlement as proof of their view that the company achieves its low prices in part by cheating workers. But the company rejected that characterization, saying it had already corrected wage practices that it has long attributed to local managers acting without authority. “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago, and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today,” Tom Mars, general counsel and executive vice president at Wal-Mart Stores, said.
The settlement — which wipes out all but 12 pending wage-and-hour lawsuits against Wal-Mart — also gives the company a cleaner slate as a new administration enters the White House. President-elect Barack Obama has indicated he will make wage-and-hour enforcement a priority, and groups critical of Wal-Mart suggested that the company had reached the settlement to avoid becoming a target of stepped-up enforcement.
“Wal-Mart is scared with what they’re going to face in an Obama administration,” said David Nassar, of Wal-Mart Watch, a union-financed advocacy group. “You clean up your house before the in-laws come over. That’s what they’re trying to do.”
Wal-Mart officials say that in recent years, they have taken strong steps to reduce wage violations, ordering managers not to demand off-the-clock work and threatening to fire employees who work off the clock or do not take their designated lunch and rest breaks. Wal-Mart has even programmed its cash registers and other equipment to stop working when employees are not on the clock.
Robert Bonsignore, co-counsel in nearly 40 of the cases, said that as a result of the settlement, “Wal-Mart can now say that it has taken action to make its stores a great place to shop and work.” Wal-Mart said it would take a charge of $250 million, or 6 cents a share, in this quarter to help finance the settlement.

Ghajini: Hope the audience dont emulate Aamir and forget the movie in 15mins!

Its christmas eve and party time... Red coloured santa claus caps is a common sight and how could anyone undermine the Christmas Carols...Well in today's world festivals such as christmas have more than just the tradition attached to it.. Infact it is festival time that many business make merry and the Entertainment industry is no exception. Movie releases for festivals are lined up.. Moreover we have seen some of the biggest movies release on festival days - from 'Veer-Zaara on Diwali to Shakespeare in Love on Christmas'!

So this Christmas when you talk about the buzz in the Indian movie scene.. Its undoubtly Aamir Khan's 'Ghajini'.. Ghajini is a remake of a tamil movie staring Surya. It is about this man who loses his capacity to remember anything for more than 15minutes as a result of a tragedy!
The expectations from Ghajini is over the roof, infact more than any Aamir Khan movie till date..

Well, the buzz about the movie has worked to good effect. Infact it has had all the ingredients of a good buzz campaign. Moreover the buzz has created such a hype around the movie, that it has to be exceptionally good, else people would find it unsatisfactory. The reason being that the expectation levels have been raised to such an extent that people now expect something extraordinary. Moreover, Buzz campaigns would be of no use if your product itself isn't good. 

So will the movie live up to its expectations??
Guess we gotta wait n watch.. Coz only time can tell.... :)!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Innovative Insults...

Well in today's world playing the blame game is pretty common and sometimes it results in a argument that would further end up in a verbal abuse!
I was talking to this friends of mine working with a leading MNC in Gurgaon and he told me how people in his workplace vent out their anger. It was interesting how innovative people get when they have to abuse someone else in a very polished manner. So here is a quick sneak preview:
  • Are you always this stupid or are you making a special effort today
  • Brains aren't everything. In fact in your case they're nothing
  • If your face had "Welcome" written on it, it would make a perfect doormat
  • Hi there, I'm a human being! What are you?
  • You should learn from your parents mistakes - try using some birth control!
  • Well, they do say opposites I sincerely hope you meet somebody who is attractive, honest, intelligent, and cultured.
  • You are proof that God has a sense of humor. 
Here comes the best of them all, it was told in an intent of mocking this employee keeping in mind the job market:
  • I heard that you went to the haunted house and they offered you a job
So the next time you think about abusing someone... Be innovative! lolz...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Striking Balance!

Well I was flipping through few old newspaper articles today and I came across this interesting one. It was titled 'Divine Justice'. Thought I shud share it with you people, so here it goes:

God was in the process of creating the universe, and he was explaining to his subordinates "Look everything should be in balance. For every 10 deer there should be a lion. Look here my fellow angels, here is the country of United States. I have blessed them with prosperity and money. But at the same time I have given them insecurity and tension. And here is Africa, I have given them beautiful nature. But at the same time, I have given themclimatic extremes... And here is South America, I have given them lots of forests. But at the same time, I have given them lesser land so that they would have to cut off the forests... So you see fellows, everything should be in balance".
One of the angels asked, "God, what is this beautiful country here?". God said "Ahah....that is the crown prince of all. India. My most precious creation. They have understanding and friendly people. Sparkling streams, serene mountains, A culture which speaks of the great tradition that they live. Technologically brilliant and with a heart of gold. The angel was quiet surprised, "But God you said everything should be in balance".

God replied, "Look at the neighbours I gave them!"

lol.. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Will the Santa Claus story have a makeover this year?

A lot of us in our childhood have recieved gifts from the fictional Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. It was a nice game played in most of the households irrespective of their faith. The story behind the fictional character was that Saint Nicholas in the 11th Century used to distribute gifts and later he was called Santa by children.
A cute lil story for kids.. Parents go shopping weeks in advance to buy gifts for their children. Infact same time last year the festive mood had set in and was in full swing. But this year is a very different from other years.
The economic recession in the world economy seems to have hindered the Christmas preperations. The US market used to filled with toys manufactured in China, and this used to be shopping time for every household. But this year, you would find empty malls, very few shoppers etc; all thanks to the economic condition.
But what about the kids?? Well, many couples in the US have started decided to buy a Christmas Tree with a concocted story about a letter from Santa. In it, he warns kids that he may have to cut back on gifts because many babies were born this year. Hoping that kids would buy into that story. This would then mean that kids have taken the socialist approach, as they seem to know that they have to share toys with other kids around the world.
Well a few might say its exploiting the innocence of children, but atleast it keeps 'The Santa Myth' going and doesnt children being dissapointed and having self-doubts.

Anyways lets all hope things settle down asap and I'd like to wish everyone of you'll a Merry Christmas in advance. Have a fun-filled christmas in your own small way! :) cheerzzz and renkindle the festive spirit!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The CALL that could've resulted in a BRAWL!

Rumour Rumour Rumour Rumour!!!

Well, with all the rumours floating about the mumbai attacks. Including an amazing one about a woman in burkah supposedly open firing in chowpati beach here comes the best of the best.

Pakistan President Ali Asif Zardari claimed that the Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee supposedly called him on last friday night(November 28th) and threatned to declare war on Pakistan. Well as a common man I think this is a great attempt at diverting attention of the whole world away from Pakistan following the attack in Mumbai by Pakistan nationals. Reasons for this would be:
  • The call was from a local Delhi number
  • I havent heard of calls being transfered to the President of any country without verification and other security measures
  • Apparently, Indian itself had found out about this call from the US which has been seeking to lower tensions, and had sent messages to Pakistan assuring it that no such call was made
Well, in the middle of all this, the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked to intervene to stop what the U.S. at that time may have considered a deepening slide in Indo-Pakistan relations leading to war and convey a message to Mr.Mukherjee that the Pakistanis were "extremely worried that they were on a conflict escalation ladder with India which could provoke an all-out war." 

Now a lotta questions are being raised against the credibility of this so called threatening call which was proved to be a hoax later on. 

Do you really think a hoax call was ever made? I still have my doubts.

But yeah whatever it is, it was a good attempt at using rumour as a tool to create a buzz around the world. Intentionally or not this is an attempted PR exercise by Pakistan! :)

Well if your wondering why the rumour dint work! According to me this rumour too had the following components as any rumour:
  • Originality - Well this rumour seemed to have meet this criteria very well
  • Fear - To a certain extent fear was created among locals in Pakistan and the rest of the world about a possible war among the Nuke-enabled countries
  • Status - You could'nt as for a person with a status higher than the President of a country
  • Contacts - Well, the newspapers and media in todays world would take care of this criteria for you in no time.
But it lacked one major criteria
  • Believability - In this case it was a little too much to digest or believe.
So guess now you know why a lotta people are humming "Liar Liar Pants on Fire!"