Monday, December 27, 2010

27 DEC 10: Goodwill Toward None?

Shopping centers in Columbus reportedly were packed Sunday. Some people took advantage of half-price year-end clearances. Others probably had nothing to better to do, with the Atlanta Falcons playing tonight.

We received an e-mail about one group of locally-owned stores the other day -- a group that's become a big issue here this year. But we've edited this message, for reasons which will be explained:

I would like to take this time through your blog, if you are willing, to wish the big wigs and board members at Goodwill of the Southern Rivers a Merry Christmas. With their firing of several managers at the holidays for no reason to save money, they have no doubt made their goal of padding their pockets even more. I was the manager at the Valdosta, Ga store and.... among others we were terminated for no cause. Of course, when it came to talking to the department of labor they lied and told them something totally different. Funny thing is.... won our appeals because.... Goodwill could not provide any prove at all that we had not performed our jobs right. They have yet to replace.... us after months either, even though there are tons of candidates with the economy the way it is. Why you ask?To save money. I can tell you the company is in financial disaster, are bleeding money, and their financials are going down the toilet. They are in a hole so big they can not get out of it, and in fact, they just closed two more stores because of financial problems. The whole company only does about 14 million in sales, yes the whole company, yet they have more people working in corporate and on the board than companies over ten times their side. They are also not suprisingly losing market share in donations becaused people are notcing what is going on. The big wigs are only interested padding their pockets and unlike their company premise they do not care about people. This is proven in their treatment of their own people.

I any event, have a great Christmas, and I am sure you will as you pad your pockets more and neglect the truth and others. Hopefully people will see your true colors and stop supporting you. You have ruined enough lives with your greediness.


Derek Faircloth

Oh dear -- this grieving process seems to be taking a bit longer than usual....

Derek Faircloth also wrote us in November about his dismissal from Goodwill Industries [15 Nov]. Some people would be thankful for their unemployment checks and move on. This man may be ready to slap some executives across the face with it.

But this e-mail raises some questions about Goodwill's operations. I asked Derek Faircloth to name the stores which "just closed." He could name only one - and indeed, the store in Americus closed in mid-October. Managers explained not enough donations were received to maintain the store. And in Americus, some potential donations may have turned into insulation for Habitat for Humanity houses.

What about that "financial disaster"? Goodwill Industries posts the data on its website, so it's easy to review. In the first six months of this year, the nonprofit charity had a net loss of almost two million dollars. Maybe this former manager won't be happy until all the managers are in the career center with him.

Goodwill's financial report shows retail sales in the first half of this year totaled almost six million dollars. The now-departed Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop brought in more than $117,000 -- but it had a net loss of more than $63,000. If selling ice cream leaves you with nothing but a "rocky road," it's time to make a change.

The "net worth" of Goodwill of the Southern Rivers as of 30 June was down almost 15 percent from one year before. There was a big drop in the amount of "long-term investments." I'm not sure at what point in the spring ice cream turns from long-term to short-term....

We left a message at Goodwill Industries last week asking for the company's side of all this. We received no response, but a November news release noted Goodwill met its 2010 goal of placing 2,830 people in jobs. I'm going to assume Derek Faircloth isn't using the Goodwill Success Centers to add to that total.

Oh yes - we edited part of this e-mail because it named another former Goodwill employee. That employee did NOT want to be part of what Derek Faircloth wrote, explaining to us: "I do not share his seemingly deep seated dislike of GWISR." Many current employees apparently don't, either - because I haven't seen any picket signs outside stores.

Perhaps Derek Faircloth wanted to get in one last slap at his old employer, before moving on with his life. Carrying grudges around can be a dangerous thing -- especially in 2010, when your potential next boss knows how to search for your name on Google.

Speaking of an icy condition, let's review the weekend news....

+ The Sunday high temperature in Columbus was only 35 degrees F. It was so cold that snow which fell on Callaway Gardens Saturday didn't melt -- and no one wanted to step outside an organize a "flash mob" snowball fight.

+ WRBL reported at least five flights from Columbus Airport were canceled due to snow in other cities. Atlanta had its first measurable snowfall on 25 December since 1882 - which I think was the last time Republicans lost control of the state legislature.

+ Georgia Tech's football team announced three players will be barred from the first half of today's Independence Bowl, for violating curfew. That old World Football League team wasn't called the "Shreveport Steamer" for nothing, I guess....

+ New Orleans nipped the Atlanta Hawks 93-86, one day before the cities clash in pro football tonight. Hmmm - come to think of it, does Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez want to make a little extra money from February to May?

+ Instant Message to whichever neighbor decided to turn up Christmas music at 4:40 a.m. Saturday morning: Aren't both of you older than I am? And retired? You really can't use the "what did Santa put under the tree" excuse for that at your ages.

2010 IN REVIEW CON'D: July was a political month in the Columbus area. Johnny Ford brought Al Sharpton to East Alabama, but lost a State Senate race. Rep. Sanford Bishop brought Shirley Sherrod to Columbus, and he wound up with a narrow win. So why doesn't Sherrod have her own radio talk show yet?

A sobering campaign ad before the Georgia Primary included the mother of Kenneth Walker. Her candidate lost the Democratic race for Attorney General. Then the man Emily Walker opposed then lost in November. I'm not sure if that's earned her tickets to Sam Olens's inauguration next month or not.

It wasn't decided through an election, but William Rumer was named a Superior Court Judge in July. I saw him on WRBL last week wearing a bow tie - which seemed to be passed along to judges with a gavel, but certainly doesn't get as much attention.

One of the strangest criminal cases of the year developed in July, as Columbus Police captured the "Gumball Bandit." Yet somehow, officers still haven't arrested the teenagers who ate food they were supposed to be selling from city park concession stands.

Travel issues made news in July, when Orbitz settled a lawsuit with the city over unpaid taxes. Orbitz may now be the only travel website which realizes Columbus Airport began flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Travelers visiting Columbus received reassuring news, as the Hyatt Place hotel near J.R. Allen Parkway was named the best Hyatt hotel in the U.S. I can't wait for the statue of Richard Hyatt to be erected there next year....

The River City Report joined the Columbus media mix in July. While I haven't seen proof of it, The Courier reportedly has declared the website racist. That's strange - the only mug shot posted there right now is a white guy.

July also was a month for championship sports in Columbus. The Lions won the Southern Indoor Football League title. The Northern All-Stars won a state Little League baseball title. And Larry Mize won a Champion's Tour golf tournament - hopefully remembering not to offend anyone in Montreal by bringing up the Expos.

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