FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tear Down That Wal-Mart

If any of you have connections to the folks who produce “The Simpsons,” I have an idea for a great opening sequence. Marge hears that the local discount store is offering DVD players for $29 so she gets on line with a zillion others to wait for the store to open at 6:00 am. In fact, she’s first in line. When the siren blares, Marge is trampled by the frenzied bargain-hunters behind her and is found lying unconscious on top of a DVD player. Marge is airlifted to the local hospital where, after she recovers from a seizure, she’s told that the owner of the discount store has offered to put a DVD player on hold for her.

All right…so I didn’t just make that scenario up. It actually happened to Patricia VanLester at an Orange City, Florida Wal-Mart SuperCenter on November 28, 2003.

“She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants,” said VanLester’s sister, Linda Ellzey. “I told them, `Stop stepping on my sister! She’s on the ground!’ All they cared about was a stupid DVD player.”

Apparently, VanLester and her sister also cared enough about those stupid DVD players to be on line at 6:00 am to buy one.

Wal-Mart is America’s largest employer. General Motors used to be America’s largest employer but GM is too busy being Mexico’s largest employer nowSso it’s up Wal-Mart to keep consumerism alive and trampling.

Wal-Mart was founded by the late Sam Walton. Forget John-boy, these are the real Waltons and their story is a far more accurate illustration of the real American Dream. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based behemoth claims that more than 93 million Americans shop in at least one of its over 4,400 discount stores in the US. Those tens of millions have helped make Wal-Mart the single largest seller of pop music in America but you won1t find anyone trampled during a sale of rap music with “explicit” lyrics because Wal-Mart doesn’t sell those kind of CDs. Rifles, knives, handcuffs, or handgun ammunition? No problem.

With roughly half of their employees-I mean, “associates”-eligible for food stamps, the Waltons remain steadfastly anti-union. As an internal Wal-Mart document explained: “Wal-Mart is opposed to the unionization of its associates. Any suggestion that the company is neutral on the subject or that it encourages associates to join labor organizations is not true.” To drive this policy home, Wal-Mart has become the world’s largest importer of Chinese-made products and, the subsequent sweatshop-level prices have been know to cause a stampede or two.

“We are very disappointed this happened,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk said after the VanLester incident. “We want her to come back as a shopper.”

Ms. Burk needn’t worry. As Louis Uchitelle explains in The New York Times (“Why Americans Must Keep Spending,” December 1, 2003), despite a tough economy, “Consumers will keep spending anyway, going deeper into debt to do so if they must. They have too many needs, some that were luxuries only yesterday.” Doing his part to promote holiday shopping (and predatory capitalism), Uchitelle says, “Consumers in America spend because they feel they must spend.”

MICKEY Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet. He can be reached at: mzx2@earthlink.net.

 

More articles by:

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail