By Brian Tracey Business Editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

RadioShack Corp. followed through this week on its announced plans to cut about 400 jobs, but the electronics retailer is under fire for its nerdy management style, as it decided to notify laid-off employees via e-mail.

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters received an e-mail earlier this week telling them they were being dismissed immediately.

"The work force reduction notification is currently in progress," the notice stated. "Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

No word if message-delivery receipts were requested.

Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday's e-mails.

Management experts expressed surprise at RadioShack's use of electronic notification instead of face-to-face meetings with supervisors.

Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees.

"If I put myself in their shoes, I'd say, 'Didn't they have a few minutes to tell me?'" D'Souza said.

Laid-off workers got one to three weeks pay for each year of service, up to 16 weeks for hourly employees and 36 weeks for those with base bay of at least $90,000, the company said.

We're guessing the severance pay was direct deposited.

Not so bad ideas

  • Toy manufacturer Mattel has created a new pet for Barbie — a dog that chews, then poos.

According to Britain's top-selling newspaper, The Sun, the $14.99 Barbie doll and dog set features a canine called Tanner that can be fed fake dog food, which it then discharges from its backside.

Mattel has armed Barbie with a magnetic pooper-scooper and trash can to clean up the mess. (The ersatz kibble must contain a lot of iron.)

One Amazon.com shopper posted this review: "The dog eats 'dog biscuits,' then expels them through a hole below the tail. Then the dog 'eats' the expelled dog biscuits again. What is this supposed to teach? That dogs eat their own excrement? This is gross."

We're just happy Barbie's little sister Kelly is out of potty training.

  • Japanese banks have long had a reputation for poor service, but at least one is trying something new — wooing customers with an opportunity to try their hand at Lady Luck.

A roulette wheel pops onto the screen of automatic teller machines when customers of Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank finish transferring funds. A lucky spin and the customer wins 1,000 yen ($8.50).

"Using ATMs is impersonal and lacks communication," said a spokesman for the bank which is based in Gifu prefecture, central Japan. "We wanted to add some fun."

The roulette game is Ogaki Kyoritsu's second shot at jazzing up its ATM services. It launched an on-screen slot machine game last August, in which customers can win prizes of an ATM fee waiver or 1,000 yen after withdrawing money.

"Our customers enjoy it very much," the spokesman said.

We think clients waiting in line during their lunch hour may beg to differ.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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