Hello Yank Ale Drinker, and welcome to the SS forum website.
It must be pretty unbelievable for you to read some of the postings, they are all sadly a pretty accurate reflection of what is happening.
As an ex SS employee I can say without contradiction that I have experienced many of the things that people are reporting here.
Sam's do NOT have an official website, Mr. Smith does not have to answer to share holders, he is, in business terms virtually a "sole trader", albeit an extremely wealthy one, he seems to shun ANY publicity be it good or bad.
They spend virtually nothing on marketing budgets for the UK, they probably DO spend quite a lot promoting their pruducts in the US...maybe you can confirm this because I do know that certain Sams products are well known in the states.
I can only describe Humphrey's approach to business as "Dickensian"...(at best), in fact he was recently quoted in an emploment tribunal to comment that many of his bar staff only work for "pin money"..you may not be familiar with this term but it could translate as "pocket money".
Doubtless, some bar staff will be the younger generation perhaps paying their way through university, but in the main you will find that lots of people rely very heavily on subsidising poor primary incomes with the minimum wage that SS pays.
You would fully expect a large company to value their long serving staff and cherish their experience in the middle of this world recession.....Do you know what Humphrey has done?
He has either sacked or edged out scores of long serving management couples, who knows why...only him, like much of the issues on here, only Humph knows the real reason, we are only left to speculate.
Some will say it is to save him paying out on lump sums on retirement, if so it wouldn't take a genius to work out that the money he is currently wasting taking on managers who cannot and will not ever be able to do the job..(and that is NOT all of the new managers,) will pale into insignificance in comparison... there is plenty of evidence on here to prove that he is getting it wrong.
It is very difficult to try and explain exactly what is going on, the managers are as mystified as us all, he had a good food trade across the UK, he has almost completely ruined that and is not even big enough to admit he's f--ked up, instead he prefers to re-introduce another menu that on the face of it looks an improvement from the microwaved rubbish but is virtually the same thing again.
No one knows where this will end, Humph is around 60/65 years of age I think, so isn't about to pop off just yet, some say he has got mental health issues, could be true, and maybe the reason for this eccentric behaviour.
What I do know for a certain fact is that Sams products are fantastic, they have some very wonderful and quirky lold English pubs and also had an army of enthusiastic and loyal workers, it would seem he will only be content when he totally wrecked it all.