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KAI RYSSDAL: A whole bunch of you sat yourselves right down and wrote us about our coverage of the strike against General Motors last week. Commentator Dan Neil said the whole thing could have been avoided if Washington had made it more attractive for car makers to keep all their manufacturing stateside.
Erik Garzke of La Jolla, California, maintains the problem isn’t with the government — it’s that Detroit isn’t making cars people want to buy.
ERIK GARZKE: The solution is to let them get beat up a little bit by the market, and see which ones are smart enough to adjust and survive.
Adjusting in the retail world sometimes means bringing in the big guns — the undercover buyers. Commentator Moira Manion spoke about her showdown with mystery shoppers a couple of weeks ago.
John Swinburn had to write when he heard Moira’s thoughts about her up-and-down performance reviews. Swinburn runs the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, and he points out his people are paid for objectivity:
JOHN SWINBURN: They report what happened — so it’s simply a matter of informing her these are the areas that you need to pay some attention to in the future.
A couple of quick corrections before we go on: Last week, we told you about “no match” letters, they are something the Social Security Administration sends to companies when the numbers the government has on file don’t match with the SSN a new employee offers.
I said that number’s noted on a W-2 that you fill out when you start a new job — it’s actually a W-4.
And in reporting on the financial effects of the credit crunch on big Wall Street banks, I said Bear Stearns lost money last quarter. Not true: They were in the black, just not as far in the black as they thought they’d be.
Many of you tuned in to Bob Moon’s three-part series on the music industry last week, and its efforts to stop illegal downloading. Opinions on the series ran the whole spectrum — some who support fighting aggressive lawsuits from the music industry. One musician wrote in to say file sharing pilfers his profits. And one person in the music business said downloads aren’t all bad.
Jessica Morris works with independent artists at OurStage — that’s a Boston company that hosts a “battle of the bands” online. She said at least those downloads generate some free publicity:
JESSICA MORRIS: It might be hard to see the value in letting somebody, quote, “steal” your music. But if you look at it from a marketing perspective, it’s a way for you to get your brand out there.
But Tony LaBruna from Bronxville, New York, says: File sharing? Bah! What with the noise record labels pass off as music these days…
TONY LABRUNA: Quite frankly, if I had to listen to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” or “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt,” I would want them to pay me.
I’m not quite sure the last time you tuned into the Top 40, Mr. LaBruna… They’re singing about umbrella-ella-ellas these days.