Wal-Mart Gift Wraps Me Another Reason to Hate Them (March 18, 2010)

walmart_bingo_card_1

I have been calling this retailer “The Evil Empire” for years. I know they have everything, and they have it on the cheap, but I won’t shop there.

Let’s leave aside the unfair business practices, and predatory assault on regional Mom and Pop stores the chain unleashed in the 1980s and 90s. Let’s forget about their sweat shop labor practices: the abuse of needy seniors, the unfair pay raises awarded to men over women. I can even try to overlook some of their most glaring PR gaffes, say two Christmases ago when a man did a nice thing and bought hundreds of $10 store gift cards to pass out at his local outlet, only to be kicked out of the place by management, worried that the benvolent gift might decrease recipient spending.

On the whole, no matter how many lovey dovey ad campaigns they launch, Wal-Mart appears to me to be the very eptiome of the heartless corporation. Daley and I don’t see eye to eye on much, but I for one am thrilled he has thus far kept Wal-Mart out of City limits. May it always remain that way. I would rather spend an additional five cents on my body wash at the far more civic minded Target.

Incidentally, if you doubt the veracity of any of my claims thus far, feel free to take to the Web. The truth is out there, as Mulder might say.

However, last evening while watching CNN, and again this morning, when I booted up my computer, I came across a story that managed to shock me, though I had long given up on Wal-Mart having any shame:

Black people must leave, NJ Walmart announcer says
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Black-people-must-leave-NJ-apf-1749619349.html?x=0

Now, before any of you jump on my back, yes, I know this was one rogue employee, and this behavior is not explicitly condoned by corporate. Wal-Mart execs are falling all over themselves to snuff this PR mess, vowing to get to the bottom of the “unacceptable” behavior. That’s wonderful, except this is nowhere near the first time complaints of racism have been leveled at the retail giant. This latest example, perhaps arguably the most egregious, is just one of many.

1. November 16, 2009

Arrest at Walmart triggers charges of racism
Incident with white customers and workers could land black teacher in jail
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33963193/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/

2. May 2009

Wal-Mart Charged with Racism…Again, and Other News
http://www.racewire.org/archives/2009/05/walmart_charged_with_racismaga.html

3. December 2, 2005

Racism alive and well at your neighborhood Wal-Mart
http://www.thoughtcrimes.org/s9/index.php?/archives/380-Racism-alive-and-well-at-your-neighborhood-Wal-Mart.html
If we expect the President of the United States to be held accountable for the direction of our nation, down to the smallest detail, then we must hold the chiefs of Wal-Mart to the same standard.

I bet New York wishes it could create some literal distance between itself and the white trash Garden State right about now.

I refused to be dazzled by dollar bargains when my social conscience knows better. As I detailed, it’s more than just systemic racism that irks me about the company. But this pattern has to be fixed, and fixed now. And “yes, we can” shop at another store until Wal-Mart cleans up it’s act – recession or not.

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