Boycotts We Support
A friend observed today that some of my better articles may well have come from my temper, as in when I've lost it over some example of tyranny. After the events that inspired this particular rant, I guess she was right. And, while I've been hearing for years the quiet rumblings about the mega-corp known as Wal-Mart, I've got to say that this time, they've just gone too far.
Picture this: Having noticed that the family mini-van has a flat tire, I calmly jack it up and remove the tire so that I can take it to be repaired, toss it in the back of DOT (Dad's Old Truck), and head for the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Center to get it plugged. This scenario is reenacted probably five hundred times a day across the nation, so there's certainly nothing sinister about it, right?
Well, this morning I would have agreed with that statement, but not now. You see, when I got there, and unloaded the tire and carried it to the guy who would fix it, another fellow came out to me and began asking questions. He asked for my telephone number, and I gave it to him, understanding that this is how they track their customers. Then he asked my name, since I was not in their database. Then he wanted my address, and although I sighed in frustration, I gave it to him.
Then he asked for the color of my van, and its tag number, and alarm bells went off in my head. I can think of no reason for Wal-Mart to need that information, and I said so. The clerk replied that he needed it "for the warranty," and that if I did not provide it, then Wal-Mart could not work on my vehicle. "You're not working on my vehicle," I replied, "my vehicle is at home! You're plugging a hole in a tire I carried in, why do you need all that information in order to plug a tire?"
He reiterated that if I did not provide the information then they could not proceed with repairing the tire, and I agreed. "Then tell the guy to just stop, and I'll take it somewhere else! I am NOT going to give you my license number just to get a tire repaired!" The mechanic stopped what he was doing, and handed me my tire which was now off the rim. When told why I was refusing to let them complete the repair, he said, "Well, man, I'm sorry you feel that way." "No," I answered him, "I'm the one who's sorry that you DON'T feel that way!"
This was a minor incident, but it brought to a head something that's been bothering me for some time now, namely Wal-Mart's increasing control over the lives and freedom of its customers. In many ways, the encroachment is even more insidious than that of our government, since their goal is merely the restriction of our liberties; Wal-Mart has a much loftier goal, as evidenced by such things as the scene described above.
Did you know, for instance, that Wal-Mart now averages nearly a billion dollars a day in sales? That it has put more than a hundred thousand long-established local stores out of business by undercutting prices until they control the market?
Did you know that in various cities, Wal-Mart is experimenting with new forms of marketing, and new products never sold in retail stores before?
Let me give you some examples.
In Dallas, Texas, starting soon if not already in progress, Wal-Mart will be selling new cars of various brands. That's right, rather than go to the nearest Ford dealer, you need only drop by your friendly neighborhood Wally World and pick your new Taurus "off the shelf." No test drives needed. After all, they're all alike and Wal-Mart has that wonderful exchange policy, so if you don't like the one you get, no big deal, just come back and exchange it for another one.
In another large city, each item in the store carries an electronic tag, and if you're one of many customers who have registered their Visa or MasterCard with Wal-Mart and received the little electronic keychain tag or wallet card, you can simply load up your cart and breeze right on out of the store between two special upright scanners. Your purchases are automatically totaled, charged to your card, and stored in their database where government employees of some alphabet agency can see exactly what you bought and what you paid for it. I'm told there's even going to be a self-service bagging station, so you can bag up your goodies if you like.
How about "lifestyle-appropriate marketing"? This term is being kept under wraps, and no one seems to want to explain it to me, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out what it could easily mean. Care to step over to the Gay & Lesbian Department for some of our latest new products for your alternative lifestyle?
And how about those Wal-Mart Gift Cards, the ones you load money onto at the register and use as gifts? You'll soon be able to use them just about anywhere in the world, and even take some of your cash back off of them at most ATM machines. Since Wal-Mart will cash your paycheck, why not just go completely cashless and let them credit your pay to your Wal-Mart card? If you need some of that old fashioned green stuff, you can always drop by the 24 Hour Teller, but since everything you need can be bought at Wal-Mart, what's the point?
Wal-Mart has long been known for coming into a community and ruthlessly cutting out the local merchants that were already established there, the local merchants who can't make billion dollar purchases and get $20 blue jeans for less than five bucks each! Sam Walton's dream of having a store that everyone could shop at has turned into America's nightmare, as Wal-Mart comes closer to its goal of being the only place to get what you want or need because there won't be anywhere else to buy it. The company is now so large, and so powerful, that congress rolls over to its demands as fast as your local chamber of commerce, and recently passed legislation that would allow Wal-Mart to offer services that were formerly reserved only for banks!
Now, with the advent of "customer-tracking policies" that require you to be identified every time you make a purchase, this behemoth of commerce has become the eyes and ears of Big Brother, in a country where it is nearly impossible to do your regular weekly shopping without making at least one stop at a Wal-Mart store!
And, as a Wal-Mart employee asked me this morning: "What are you going do about it?" If Wal-Mart is necessary to your daily life, as it is for most Americans today, then there is little you can do. The lower prices will keep you shopping there even though you know it is hastening the day when you can no longer move from your own home without being watched by some arm of the government every moment, because the other stores in town can't supply your needs as cheaply.
On the other hand, have you paid attention to Wal-Mart's quality lately? Of the things that my family has bought from Wal-Mart in the past two years, fully a third of them have been defective or imperfect when purchased. The electronics department has become a standard joke; "The stereo doesn't work, it must have come from Wal-Mart."
Where is the Wal-Mart that sought out American manufacturers, and made sure that their products were available in the stores? Where is the Wal-Mart that put its neighbors first? All I can find is the one that caters to illegal aliens and disregards the will of its customers unless those views are in line with what Wal-Mart envisions for the future, with products made in countries where what we call a day's wage buys a week or more of labor from those desperate to eek out a bare living.
Not surprisingly, several of the corporation's directors are also connected to the Council on Foreign Relations. I say not surprisingly since Wal-Mart is now poised to be the "state store" of a socialist state, the very goal of the CFR, and with its now international marketplace, it is difficult to see how any such goal can be attained worldwide without Wal-Mart's full and complete cooperation.
As for the clerk's question, "What are you going do about it?" I have a suggestion.
Boycott. Every dollar, in fact every red penny we spend at Wal-Mart is now considered a vote FOR the policies they implement, since spending at Wal-Mart can be easily interpreted as supporting them in their business decisions! Let's take our votes elsewhere, and even if it means we pay a bit more, let's let Wal-Mart and the elected leaders who bow to them know that we are sick of it! Let's let them know that we will not be herded like sheep, we will not be tracked, and we will not have our privacy so invaded that any Wal-Mart employee can look up any detail he wishes to know about you and your private life! Do you read the Christian books that Wal-Mart sells? Or do you go for the cult-films in the video section? And whose damn business is it if you do?
I don't have anything against computers, and I know firsthand what a boon they can be to business, but there is a limit to their usefulness, and when they become a tool of tyranny, even in the hands of a private business, then that limit has been reached and passed!
I call now upon every American to let your local Wal-Mart know that this has gone far enough, that when we are subjected to such tracking and privacy invasions then we are more than willing to forego a few dollars in savings in order to protect our liberty and privacy! I am taking that step, and I sign my name proudly below. I urge all of you add your names, and then forward this on to everyone you know.
Boycott KB Toys For Misleading the Public About Bush's Military Record
We, the undersigned, vow to boycott KB Toys until and unless the toy marketed as "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush - US President and Naval Aviator - 12" Action Figure" is removed from their inventory.
With REAL military personnel dying almost daily in Iraq, we find it disgraceful that KB Toys would seek to capitalize on the very real human toll caused by Bush's war, while promoting the very false notion that George W. Bush is or ever was a fighter pilot.
We find this toy as disgraceful as Bush's performance on the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, when he wore a uniform he hadn't earned, claimed a victory he hadn't won, and delayed the return home of troops whose respect he doesn't deserve.
We are, in short, thoroughly disgusted.