In its hour of need, TJX could use a pro

Not long ago, I noted the “Don’t worry, be happy” video from chairman Ben Cammarata was a telltale sign that things were desperate at TJX Cos. Now we find the retail giant disclosing that “while the company previously believed that the intrusion [into customer credit-card and related data] took place only from May 2006 to January 2007, TJX now believes its computer system was also intruded upon in July 2005 and on various subsequent dates in 2005.” So, 18 months after the first breach, they clamped down. That’s some security. But maybe it’s unfair to dump on the parent of venerable chains like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and Bob’s Stores. You need tube socks, where you gonna go, Niketown? You gotta be Michael Jordan just to afford the wristbands in that store. Anyhow, I know the perfect person to sort out TJX’s PR woes: Captain Peacock, the floorwalker from the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?, who brooked no nonsense in his department. None of this new-age feel-good, please-don’t-sue-us malarkey. Just grim assurance that all garments will “ride up with wear” and that cash returns will not be tolerated. Now, there’s a soundbyte you can trust. And if that doesn’t scare off the feds, Mr. Humphries can always threaten to “take their inside leg.” Where he plans to take it, to paraphrase a comedian of an earlier era, is anybody’s guess. (Sure it’s corny, but it beats TJX’s recent material.)

—Posted by David Gianatasio