They’re the only ones reap­ing

Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

Re “Buy­out’s bit­ter fruit,” Busi­ness, Sept. 19

As a long­time cus­tomer of Harry & David, I’ve en­joyed the won­der­ful pears many times in spite of the in­creas­ing cost per bite. Now I be­gin to un­der­stand why the prices have in­creased so much in re­cent years.

Thanks for the ex­cel­lent story, which is, un­for­tu­nately, a fa­mil­iar one. The ap­par­ent recipe? Use highly lever­aged credit to buy the com­pany, loot it and walk away from the wreck­age, in­clud­ing the em­ploy­ees. The new Amer­i­can way of do­ing busi­ness.

Paul Coo­ley

Cul­ver City

It’s an­other clas­sic case of how pri­vate eq­uity firms de­stroy prized brands to en­rich them­selves. Didn’t any of these guys go to busi­ness school? Or per­haps they did.

Bruce R. Feld­man

Santa Mon­ica

To the loyal, hard­work­ing em­ploy­ees of Harry & David:

I feel your pain. It’s not just the down­siz­ing, lost wages and dis­ap­pear­ing ben­e­fits you’ve had to en­dure while watch­ing your new bosses col­lect ob­scene salaries as the com­pany hem­or­rhages money.

That’s Cor­po­rate Amer­ica 101. But that de­mor­al­iz­ing “Cul­ture Prom­ise” you had to sign? Can this man­age­ment team re­ally be that con­de­scend­ing and clue­less? Well, maybe not so clue­less. They’re not both­er­ing to re­lo­cate.

Ob­vi­ously they know ex­actly where this is go­ing, and it won’t be “de­liv­er­ing hap­pi­ness” to any­one ex­cept them­selves in the form of big fat pay­checks while they run this ven­er­a­ble com­pany into the ground.

Anne Mad­den

Venice

It doesn’t seem quite right to thank you for your dis­turb­ing ar­ti­cle about the buy­out of Harry & David, but what a great ex­am­ple of a ma­jor thing wrong with Amer­ica: greed.

So the new chief ex­ec­u­tive, mak­ing $9.7 mil­lion— up from the $1.4 mil­lion his lo­cal pre­de­ces­sor earned — works from near his home 2,000 miles away, while em­ploy­ees are laid off and pen­sion plans are slashed. The com­pany is on the hook for $20 mil­lion in in­ter­est a year.

The last thing I want to do is hurt the em­ploy­ees more, but I can’t in good con­science buy any­thing from a com­pany us­ing those kinds of busi­ness prac­tices.

Linda Richards

Red­lands

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