NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I'm in regular communication with many of the companies I write about. Even the ones I hammer on, including Best Buy (BBY - Get Report).
To a person, I tell media/public relations people, VPs and CEOs that they do themselves, investors and consumers a disservice when they classify most -- and sometimes all -- of what they say as
off the record
. While an off-the-record talk might help "inform" what makes it online, it ultimately leaves far-too-many narratives out of a company's control. When you're as unsuccessful as Best Buy has been, that becomes a problem; it's not as if you can simply point to a track record of results.
Often, when a company talks, it's worthless. You get little more than the company line. However, by and large, an executive office open to challenging writers such as myself --
one the record
-- ends up making my work -- be it bullish, bearish or something in between -- much better. For example, I would rather have Best Buy's take on what I learn via some digging, and the opinions I form as a result, than not have it.
As it stands, I can only use the counterpoints of a colleague, as I did in
Jim Cramer: 'Hopelessly Old,' But Is He Crazy for Being Bullish Best Buy?
That's fine and good -- and often more informative than hearing from companies directly -- but the best companies take stands against assertions they consider preposterous.
I finally received an on-the-record comment from Best Buy this past Friday. In response to my recent thoughts on its future, as it relates to the current board and management structure, I was told that my view amounts to ...
a conspiracy theory. And, like most conspiracy theories, it has no value.
You tell me if this summary of how I see things playing out qualifies as conspiracy theory. I will tell you this -- of the hundreds, if not thousands of Best Buy employees who read this article -- a considerable number do not share the company's official statement. And several former employees certainly don't.
Just as many would give me chest bumps and fist pumps in person as they would bitter scowls and right hooks.