He who giveth can also taketh away -- our parents used to use that line when threatening our young lives, but in the case of manufacturing giant National Semiconductor, it also holds true for iPods. You'll recall that in a
transparent bid for publicity genuine show of appreciation for its employees last month, the company "gave" all 8,500 of them a 30GB iPod to celebrate record profits from the previous year -- although spokespeople were careful to only say that National Semi was "equipping" staff with the players, and apparently refused to speculate on whether or not terminated employees would be able to keep their "gifts." Well as it turns out, 35 workers recently laid off from the company's Arlington plant were in fact asked to hand in their 'Pods as they walked out the door, and those folks who had given theirs away were charged a "fair market value" to be paid from their soon-to-be-non-existent wages. Now we're no experts in public relations, but it seems that if you're going to make a big deal about how much your company values its employees, you'd want to do your best to avoid the sort of seemingly hypocritical behavior that publications such as ours just love to cover.