Since 1961, St. Louis-based grocer Schnucks has hailed itself as “the friendliest store in town.” Apparently, someone forgot to tell its PR department.
As the chain recently prepared to sell its Memphis locations, PR rep Lori Willis sold the company line—that they weren’t going anywhere—to the local paper, The Commercial Appeal
Days later, the store was on its way out of town and Willis is the star of an unflattering Commercial Appeal article
. Rather than giving a “no comment” when asked about Schnucks' impending departure, Willis told the paper it was staying put, despite her knowledge of a deal that was in the works.
In an interview with The Commercial Appea
l just eight days before the company announced the sale and shuttering of stores, Willis said:
“Typically, we would not comment on rumor and speculation, but I will acknowledge these rumors have gotten to a point with the media where I feel I need to tell you there is no truth to those rumors … It's business as usual at our stores … Most questions have come from The Commercial Appeal. We have not had any questions outside that."
She also said: “There is no deal regarding any sale or purchase with regard to the Schnucks company.”
The Commercial Appeal
goes on to cite sources who believe she acted unethically, and who ultimately insinuate that she’s a liar and her pants just might be on fire. Willis argues that’s not the case. She explained to the paper that offering a “no comment” wouldn’t work because it could have been misconstrued.
"I did not lie to you," she told a reporter. "I gave you the best information I had at the time...
"Whenever you're working on an agreement of this type, nothing happens overnight. But it's not a deal until it's a deal. Discussions beforehand can be very detrimental when you are trying to make arrangements."
What do you think? Does her explanation hold up, or are her pants aflame?