Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Early in January, store manager Don Watson chased a thief who had fled an Alabama Walmart with over $1,000 worth of goods. With the help of security personnel at a nearby apartment complex, he stopped the culprit, getting a punch in the nose for his trouble.

A month later, Watson got a second, figurative punch in the nose: he was fired. For violating protocol.

Walmart thinks he should have stayed put, sticking to the rules rather than sticking his neck out.

“I thought I was protecting the company,” he says.

I can understand a policy requiring employees to avoid unnecessary risks; it’s motivated by the desire to prevent lawsuits and prevent harm to employees. But to fire the man for violating this policy in the heat of the moment and acting heroically — especially when they’ve asked him to keep theft down? Come on.

That’s just wrong.

Higher-ups could instead have taken Watson aside, reiterated the what and why of the fine print, and advised him that although they appreciate his actions, he must stay put if something similar happens. They didn’t.

So, what statement is Walmart making by firing Mr. Watson? What is the company saying to other employees, customers, and, for that matter, potential thieves?

It’s not just “we care about the lives of our employees,” but also “we have no sense of proportion” and “we discount courage and initiative in the defense of our property.”

The store can still make this right, though.

Re-hire the guy. At least.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Bill Smithem says:

    What are they saying? They’re declaring open season on Walmart.

  2. Drik says:

    Since Sam Walton died, Walmart has just gone down the tubes.

  3. Messrs Jacob, Smithem and Drik are all pretty well spot on here, today.

    Doesn’t matter what kind of hierarchy it is – every one suffers the same fate. Be it a church, an airline or any other kind of corporation, a once its founder’s passion is gone, the bean counters soon take over and not long afterward morph into socialists.

    And before you know it there’s that pesky Professor Peters picking on the place and pounding on its portal!

  4. William says:

    Do we know all the details of the firing. Was manager already on watch or probation for acting rashly? Were there other problems with the manager that caused this incident to tips the scales against him? I would hesitate before saying that it was this incident alone that got him fired.

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