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Walmart Grapples With Guns: CEO Daily

August 8, 2019, 10:41 AM UTC

Good morning.

Keep an eye on Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. He wrote a heart-felt post to his employees after a visit to the store in El Paso where a tragic shooting killed 22 people. “It is difficult to find words strong enough to describe the way we feel,” he began. At the end, he wrote:

“We are a learning organization, and, as you can imagine, we will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence. We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.”

Thoughtful and deliberate are both words that apply to McMillon, in my experience. But the paragraph above sure sounds like prelude to a new policy on gun sales.

McMillon is in a tough spot. On the one hand, his stores are at the heart of red state America, and many of his customers believe learning to use guns is part of a moral upbringing. They believe folks on both coasts are plotting to take theirs away.

On the other hand, Walmart already has shown a willingness to take action on guns—stopping hand gun and assault weapon sales, and raising the purchase age to 21. Would it now move to a total ban?

Some employees are urging McMillon to do so. One of them posted a memo urging a “sick-out” strike to support the effort. Another circulated a petition calling for the company to stop gun sales.

As the nation’s largest seller of guns (but not the guns used in the recent shootings) any action Walmart takes will have a profound effect. Stay tuned.

More news below.

Alan Murray



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Ireland's Housing Crisis  

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Was E-Mail a Mistake? 

The expansion of big offices gave rise to the need for "asynchronous messaging"—messaging where the receivers are not all participating at the same time—and so, e-mail was born. But in the earliest days, it was not a given that this was actually good for work or productivity. Now, researchers say e-mail can be useful—for delivering this newsletter, for example—but for collaboration and reaching conclusions, it's largely a bust. New Yorker 

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.