Another Insensitivity Rap for Wal-Mart

Yesterday, March 17, 2010, The Huffington Post ran a news article titled “Wal-Mart Investigating Source Of Racist Announcement In NJ Store” written by Bruce Shipkowski. He began his piece with, “A Wal-Mart store announcement ordering black people to leave brought chagrin and apologies Wednesday from leaders of the company, which has built a fragile trust among minority communities.”

Shoppers in the store at the time of the incident became upset and called for an investigation. A lot of people wrote in to The Huffington Post complaining about Wal-Mart’s policies ranging from putting the little guy out of business, poor work climate, bad community relations, etc. Many chastised Wal-Mart for not selling American goods, saying that they never stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in their area because of this policy. The writer’s opinion that the incident was a prank did not sit well with any of the tweeters or Huffington devotees, they loudly cried racism.

I agreed with the writer – someone with way to much time and self-esteem thought that he’d get his 3 seconds of fame and grabbed a phone and made the anonymous prank. Yeah, I could certainly see that happening – we have a lot of ignorant people all over this country that will probably follow suit. And if a disenfranchised, prejudiced Wal-Mart employee made the call then when he’s is identified there will be one less redneck to worry about working in the store. Apologies all around. Everyone is welcome at Wal-Mart; money is a great equalizer in our economy.

However, what I can’t understand are the negative comments about “Wal-Mart not selling American” and never shopping there because of that fact. I am a weekend shopper, my time is too short weeknights for grocery, pharmacy, or paper goods shopping. I usually get home between 4 and 5:30 depending on how many assignments I correct, parents I correspond with, or ed plans I research and write. I shop at Wal-Mart because it’s close, fast and less expensive. I also shop at a local grocery store as well at Shaw’s and occasionally Stop & Shop (Dutch company).  To round out the shopping trip I shop at BJ’s for big multi-item stuff like 42 pounds of cat litter and the extra large bag of cat chow (4 cats). I do not check for the Made-in-America label, not even once. The only labels I check are the unit price, fiber/care instructions, and take into account store-brand vs. national brand before I put an item into my cart.

Let’s be honest, most of the nay-sayers shop this way too. Why do I know this? Because you can’t buy toilet paper at a farmers market, at least not in my area, and really, since America doesn’t manufacture that much anymore, where are these anti-Wal-Mart people shopping? They can’t take their business to Target (British company) without being hypocrites, K-Mart sells the same type of goods as Wal-Mart, Sears doesn’t sell toiletries, and for the most part it’s coffeemakers and wastepaper baskets, window blinds and LCD TVs all carry the same manufacturing tags. These tags say China, clothing comes from Sri Lanka, China and Vietnam; manufacturing is diverse and trade is global.

If you don’t shop at Wal-Mart and shop at CVS or Walgreens or Rite-Aid for assorted housewhole items most of their labels say China, too. Mom & pop stores sell the same goods (at a much higher price) – so where in the world can you just buy American? And why would you want to waste all that gas looking for American brand tags? Just for the record I own a recently purchased American made vacuum cleaner – lets hope it lives up to it’s promise.

I’m sick and tired of the holier-than-thou “I don’t shop at Wal …” routine denouncing Wal-Mart: grow up, eat in moderation, get 6+ hours of sleep at night, don’t play around, use gas wisely, fill out and mail the census, and shop on a budget. Oh, and some of you out there may want to use church time to examine your consciences and check your white lie meters because I’ve seen you in line at Wal-Mart. While you are shopping, please keep an eye on your husbands, we don’t want any repeat open-mike performances.