Words From The Man and words from the man

Now Playing, “Right In Time,” Lucinda Williams. “I stand over the stove in the kitchen, Watch the water boil and I listen, Turn off the television, Oh my baby, The way you move it’s right in time, The way you move it’s right in time, It’s right in time with me.”

As I was reading the top business stories in the state this morning (on www.BusinessNC.com – Shameless Plug Department), two items struck me.

Words From The Man: Hanesbrands made $36.5 gazillion in the first quarter. More power to ’em. That’s what they’re supposed to do. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, here’s how The Man, Hanesbrands Chairman and CEO Richard Noll, explained the jump from a $19.3 million loss during the same quarter last year: “We are off to a strong start to 2010 as a result of our investment in our brands and in our supply chain during the recession.” By the end of 2010, the supply chain labor breakdown will be 58 percent in the Caribbean Basin, 34 percent in Asia, 7 percent in the U.S. (down from 22 percent in 2006) and 1 percent in Mexico.

Here’s what The Man meant: We laid off a bunch of people in the U.S. and sent work to countries where we don’t have to pay squat in wages.

OK, on one level I get it. Noll is paid very well to maximize return for shareholders. He did it by outsourcing two-thirds of the company’s domestic jobs. Pretty disturbing, if you ask me. Next time you see Michael Jordan or Charlie Sheen in a Hanes commercial, just think about it.

Which leads us to …

words from the man: I saw them from an article in The Mountaineer, in Waynesville. The article was about the pending purchase from bankruptcy of Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley. As often happens in a bankruptcy, most creditors will get only a fraction of what they’re owed. Particularly hard hit in this case, according to the Mountaineer, will be Ghost Town employee Randy Bryan, who loaned the park $250,000 from his retirement account when things started going bad. Here’s what Bryan had to say (according to the article): “There’s a substantial amount of money owed to me, but that’s just one of them deals. I will make the best of it. I’m not leaving them. I’ll be here as long as they’ll have me because I want to see the place grow. That’s the reason I invested to begin with. If everybody turns their back on it, it’s going to die, but I see a lot of people in Maggie Valley who will be able to live if the park stays open. There’s a lot more to it than just money. You can’t live without money, but you can’t take it with you, either. It’s not that I don’t want it back, I do. I could buy a house with what I’ve got into it, and a real nice one. But if it makes life better, gives people jobs and puts people to work, that means something, too. It’s not just the money … I’d love to have it back, but I never questioned it when I handed it to them. I knew I might not get it back. Life is a gamble. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. …I guess it’s just me wanting to see something good in life for a change. If I can make a few things positive for people, that’s what life is all about.”

Wow! I’m tearing up again as I read it.

The Man and the man. You tell me which one we should respect.

A couple of quotes from Mark Twain:
“Let your sympathies and your compassion be always with the under dog in the fight – this is magnanimity; but bet on the other one – this is business.
“The primary rule of business success is loyalty to your employer. That’s all right – as a theory. What is the matter with loyalty to yourself?”


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