Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bastard of the Day

Word came out yesterday afternoon that JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson was fired after destroying the company in a misguided effort to reinvent it. The bastard will be remembered by many as the guy who revamped the store's pricing strategy, alienating vast numbers of former Penney shoppers.

Some say you shouldn't kick a man while he's down (at least as down as one can be after raking in $55 million in 17 months). Well, I say, "Fuck you, Ron Johnson. Fuck you on Earth and fuck you in Hell."

My mom (who surely disapproves of the language in the previous paragraph just as surely as she agrees with the sentiment) worked at JCPenney for more than 35 years. Her performance reviews were excellent, and she believed in the company enough to stay through its ups and downs despite the lousy pay. She just wanted to put in a few more years there before retiring. Then along came Ron Johnson.

Always the "company woman"—and with the optimism of a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan—at first my mom talked excitedly about the new CEO's plans to return JCPenney to its former glory. Everyday low prices, no more coupons, "stores within a store", new brands, and so forth. But the former Apple retail head was not the guru some made him out to be. Longtime JCPenney customers didn't like the changes, and not enough new customers replaced them. Following ever more dismal sales figures (same-store sales down 31% in the most recent quarter), JCPenney cut costs recently by eliminating the positions of many of its most experienced and knowledgeable employees.

Unfortunately the bastard Ron Johnson's termination came too late to save my mom's job.

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