Why Do They Do That? 5 Intriguing Big Business Practices

Why does Walmart have greeters? What's Facebook doing with your photos? Here, bizarre secrets from large businesses.

By Joey Green from Reader's Digest Magazine | October 2012

Why Do They Do That? 5 Intriguing Big Business PracticesIllustration by Peter Arkle
Why does Walmart have greeters?
Because shoppers like saying hello to retirees? Well, sort of. In 1980, the manager of the Walmart store in Crowley, Louisiana, had problems with shoplifters. So he hired a woman to stand by the front door to greet customers and ask them if they needed any help. The greeter’s mere presence intimidated any potential shoplifters. After visiting the Crowley store, company founder Sam Walton quickly instituted greeters as a trademark of all Walmart stores. The benefit to customers? Less shoplifting means lower prices, which help you “Save money. Live better.”

Why does Facebook encourage me to post my photos online?
Because pictures are prettier than text? While that might be true, that’s not the reason. By posting your photos on Facebook, you’ve granted the company the license to use it. Theoretically, they can use them any way they want, whether it’s for corporate promotional material or advertisements, unless you know to opt out. They also allow businesses that you’ve “liked” to use your profile photo on ads shown on your friends’ pages. Most people fail to read the user agreement, which clearly says that “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP [intellectual property] content that you post on or in connection with Facebook” (… snore! Is it any wonder people skip this?) unless you and everyone with whom you’ve shared your photos deletes them. Occasionally, third-party advertisers have used photos without the user’s or Facebook’s consent. A few years ago, a man logged on to his account and stumbled upon an ad for an online dating service. Who was the star of said ad? His wife! Awkward! Turns out the service lifted her profile photo from her page.

Why do we have to add milk, oil, and an egg to pancake mix?
So pancake eaters can work off some calories before indulging? No. If you buy Aunt Jemima Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix, you merely add water. The Original Pancake & Waffle Mix makes you work a bit more and actually crack open an egg. The company decided to keep “The Original” around once they realized that some customers were clamoring to flex their inner Mario Batali and add real ingredients, rather than just water, to the mix. Besides, many prefer the taste of real milk and eggs over their powdered cousins. So Aunt Jemima was happy to oblige.

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  • Your Comments

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O6G67G774GP5DNMSK5FUXIH6Z4 Southlight

      Walmart is no longer using greeters and shoplifting is up!

    • Mcoyewole

      More should be said about the fluid used in dry cleaning. The fluid can also affect those w/allergies and other respiratory problems, not to mention more wear/tear on clothes. Most of us “dry clean” far too often. Wearing a suit once, then tossing in “dry cleaning” bag just ludicrous. Suits not worn withou a shirt/blouse, so even if a sweater, suit jacket doesn’t touch underarms.

    • Egesa2005

       This is invaluable information that will enable us to be a bit more cautious in giving out personal details.