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Tips for Xtreme Retailers: Fix the Basics First
Here are some ideas that would constitute "Xtreme Retailing" (Cover Story, Dec. 20) for the brick-and-mortar guys:
1. Don't make people wait to check out.
2. Stay in stock on items you're supposed to have.
3. Train salespeople to know the merchandise and be helpful and friendly.
4. If you have shopping carts, make sure they have four round wheels.
May I suggest that if brick-and-mortar stores returned to basics, offering such features as adequate customer service and sales personnel, they would be better able to compete with the Internet. One has only to go to a megastore such as Circuit City Stores or The Good Guys Inc. and try to buy a piece of equipment in a reasonable time to become an advocate of e-commerce. Until the large stores start staffing adequate personnel, trained in their own computer systems as well as their products, they will steadily lose business to the Internet.
Las VegasReturn to top
What Kids Want More Than a New Car
Supporting women who choose to start and grow a business is terrific. But "Mommy, do you love your company more than me?" (Working Life, Dec. 20) suggests that their young children wholeheartedly agree to the neglect that often comes with a consuming career. To suggest that a 4-year-old is clamoring for a bigger house and private-school tuition is irresponsible.
As a nation, our children should come first, but all too often they don't. We soothe our collective conscience by telling ourselves that the children are the ones who want a summer house and a new car every year. But kids' ability to be loved and love others, their moral development and intellectual growth have nothing to do with
living in a big home in the "right" part of town. It has to do with having parents who are involved in real and intimate ways with their everyday life and learning.
Until we stop lying to ourselves about what our children really want, we will destroy the spiritual and moral fiber of the next generation of businesspeople. No amount of success can make up for an abandoned, unhappy soul.
Richardson, Tex.Return to top
Begging to Differ with a Book's Review
I appreciated Paul Raeburn's review of my book Intelligence Reframed ("The brain's many mansions," Books, Dec. 20). But I am mystified by his implication that I do not address criticisms of the theory of multiple intelligences. In addition to passages throughout the book, I devote Chapter 6 wholly to a discussion of seven "Myths and Realities about Multiple Intelligences" and Chapter 7 wholly to a discussion of 18 "Issues and Answers Regarding Multiple Intelligences." Indeed, I attempted to address every reasonable criticism of the theory I have encountered; what I did not do was to pen a section called "Response to My Critics."
Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education
Cambridge, Mass.Return to top
The Airbus Deal Earned Profits without Subsidies
It should be made very clear: Airbus Industrie's recent A318 deal with Trans World Airlines Inc. was profitable ("Long odds on a short-haul jet," The Corporation, Dec. 13). We are financially pleased with the deal. While the issue of price is becoming the excuse du jour for our competitor, airlines are choosing the A318 for superior values. Contrary to the implications that price leads, it ranks well behind an attractive combination of efficiency, versatility, passenger appeal, and residual value.
Secondly, there are no "low-interest government loans" used in the development of the A318. As with the A319 and A321, development costs were covered by funds generated internally by Airbus Industrie.
David C. Venz
Airbus Industrie of
North America Inc.
Herndon, Va.Return to top