Friday, January 24, 2014

1283 McTarget

Awhile back, McDonald’s tried to teach its minimum wage workers how to make ends meet on a McPaycheck.  The suggestions were either naive or painfully out of touch with reality.

McD underestimated to cost of everything, then based its little how two on a two-income household.

They could have titled their memo on the subject “How We Think You Can Live on the Pittance We Pay You and Without the Benefits You Don’t Get.”

Now Target proves by example that losing touch is either genetic or viral.  As you probably have heard, its computers were attacked and hackers collected personal information on millions of customers’ credit and debit cards.

Target tried to do right by its “guests” as people who shop there are called.  But it didn’t hit the … um … target.

The store apologized profusely. And so far, the damage seems bad, but not THAT bad, at least so far.

Then, comes the letter from Target’s chairman, president and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel.  In it, he offers customers a year of free credit monitoring from one of the major services.

Gregg gets points for frank admission about the hack, and for trying to do something mostly meaningful for affected customers.

He balances that with gratuitous statements about how to protect yourself against credit card fraud.

First reaction:  Where’s the part that says “Don’t shop at Target while we’re being hacked?”  Of course, we -- and evidently they -- don’t know when that is until after it’s over.

The barn with the locked door and the missing horse comes to mind.

Further harm: he apologizes for the inconvenience.

Identity theft is not inconvenient.  It is disruptive. Sometimes it’s devastating.

You have to walk around an obstacle, that’s inconvenient. The phone rings just as you turn the lights down and settle in for an evening of romance.  That’s inconvenient.  You have your data stolen… well, no need to repeat what that is.

It’s like a doctor saying “You have liver cancer.  Sorry for the inconvenience.”

The Target hack is only the latest and we’re fussing about it because we know about it.  The TJ Maxx hack some years ago was much worse.

Part of it is because companies don’t keep up with technology improvements.

A recent report said an overwhelming number of ATM machines run on a nearly obsolete computer program which is relatively easy to hack and expensive to replace.

There are more than 2 million ATMs presently operating. There is one for every 3,000 Americans. The average user visits seven and a half times a month.

Do the math.

So thanks for the handy tips, Gregg.  Now go spend some money and fix your swiss cheese point of sale system.


--Justin Bieber, 19, arrested in Miami, charged with DUI, booze, pot and pills and with resisting arrest and with drag racing in a 35 mile per hour zone. Miami police said “aw c’mon, he’s just another underage kid with a $400,000 Lamborghini who had a couple of shots, a joint, some pills, a heavy foot and a big mouth.”   Which talk show will Bieber do first, “Nancy Grace” or “The Today Show?”

--A Rutgers poll shows Chris Christie’s popularity plummeting by 22 points to 46 compared to election day when the real poll was taken and before the Bridge follies. Good thing he’s lost a little weight.  Bigger they are the harder they fall.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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