By now, you might have heard that Nazghul, Wisconsin governor, and presidential hopeful Scott Walker appears to have received $1.5 million from businessman John Menard Jr. While this raises all sorts of campaign finance related issues, what I find fascinating–in a Charles Manson sort of way–is Menard. His disdain and lack of respect for his workers is, well, something (boldface mine):
Menards managers must sign a work agreement in which they consent to pages of rules and penalties: They are fined $10 if there are more than 15 carts in the parking lot, $100 a minute if a store opens late, $10 if a customer doesn’t pick up a special order within 10 days. With military-like discipline, a manager’s absences are tightly
controlled, and suggestions to a superior are not welcome….
Managers are prohibited from building a home, even if they purchase the construction materials elsewhere. It’s a measure to prevent employee theft, John Menard once told the media. The penalty is termination.
Even minor building projects concerned him. On numerous occasions, former managers say, Menard hired private investigators to take photos when an employee added a deck or addition, then had internal examiners cross-reference the materials in the photos with items the employee had purchased, looking for products that had been stolen.
The most infamous casualty of this policy was Eldon Helget, a lumber yard manager for Menards’ Burnsville, Minn., store. Helget’s daughter was confined to a wheelchair and the narrow hallways in the Helget home made it difficult to get around. She was getting too big for her mother Linda to carry her up the stairs, and because the bathroom couldn’t accommodate her wheelchair, the girl had no privacy. When the Helgets could find no home that met their needs, they decided to build from scratch.
But Helget’s boss, Larry Menard, said there were no exceptions to the company rule. Helget, who had a stellar 13-year record with the company, could resign his post and take a lower-level job, Larry said. That meant a $15,000 cut in his $40,000 salary, but Helget still agreed.
The Helgets hired a contractor to build a ramp-equipped home, using building materials from another company. When John Menard heard about the deal, he fired Helget. The company notified Helget that if he ever showed up on its property again, he’d be arrested for trespassing.
Then there’s this delightful tale:
Bropst recounts horror stories of how other employees were handled.
One involved a North Dakota Menards store manager. The manager’s wife had triplets that came early and required special attention at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The manager spent a small fortune on plane fare commuting back and forth. He still worked 35 to 40 hours, but his contract required a minimum of 55 a week, so his weekly pay dropped from $1,000 to $500 or $600, Bropst says. “Two of the babies didn’t make it, and John (Menard) fined him $2,000 [out of his bonus] because he had to bury two of his kids and didn’t put in 55 hours those two weeks.”
wealthyrich employers might have tried to help these guys out. But not Scott Walker’s BFF. Instead, Menard crushed them. It shows a complete lack of empathy, and a boatload of moral degeneracy to boot.
This sociopath owns Scott Walker (though birds of a feather….). And Walker just might become president.
I don’t think there’s that much ruin in a nation….