Alex Blaze

Everyone has to do the Wal-Mart cheer now

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 09, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: shoplifting, Walmart

Do walmart-evil-2.jpgyou still shop at Wal-Mart? If you do, you might want to read this story about two gay dads getting kicked out.

Thomas Hitchcock and Joe Paolucci were there buying groceries, and Hitchcock used the self-scan lane. As he was leaving, a security officer approached him and accused him of stealing about $15 worth of lighters. People started shouting, the kids started freaking out, and the police were called. They promptly put the gays in squad cars and the kids were taken to a detention room.

The police reviewed the security tape and found that they hadn't stolen anything. The Wal-Mart manager then presented the two dads with a letter saying they were banned for life for "being uncooperative." Wal-Mart is also asking them for $150-some dollars, not for stealing, of course, but for creating a scene.

The local police said there's no case against the Wal-Mart employees, and the couple probably won't be suing since Wal-Mart is an unfeeling behemoth that is generally above the law and knows it. The kids are wetting their beds and having nightmares now.

Anyway, if that story doesn't make you mad enough to stop shopping at Wal-Mart (as if there weren't enough of those horror stories), then just think about the fact that it could happen to you. These people did nothing wrong, and they were traumatized, fined, detained by police, and banned for life.

It's a disgusting story on several levels, but the worst has to be the "uncooperative" part at the end. The couple says that they did everything they were told (except go to the detention room with the security, and who can blame them for not wanting to go in private with those folks), but, of course, that's not what "uncooperative" means anymore. Now we're expected by authoritarians of all stripes to submit without saying anything, to never question authority, or else then there'll be consequences.

Learn to be subservient or pay the price, folks. This gay couple happens to be two power attorneys from Chicago, which is probably why we're hearing about this at all. Who knows how many people this has happened to who've just decided to pay the fine and hope it all goes away.


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I feel a $50,000 donation to HRC or NGLCC from Wal-Mart coming really soon...

Just goes to show, you can't even go about your life without the bigots interfering. Hopefully the couple doesn't have to pay the money Wal-mart requested.

J. P. Minsinger | November 9, 2009 2:05 PM

First of all, I can't believe that Walmart is stupid enough to not immediately apologize to this couple, and reprimand the employees who mistreated them. BUT, if it is as reported, the couple should go after Walmart & the local police with gusto. The worst part of this fiasco is the trauma it has caused the couples children.

I've never liked Wal-Mart and refuse to go there for any reason as of about 5 years ago. I've never found any reason to make me want to go back but every day I'm given more reasons why not to.

And if anyone hasn't seen The High Cost of Low Prices you should definitely check it out.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 9, 2009 7:07 PM

Do I still shop at Walmart? I've never shopped at Walmart, on principle. They are emblematic of the trend toward suburban mega-stores that destroyed America's Main Streets, and led the trend toward low-wage, no-benefits, non-union, exploitative labor.

I don't understand why anyone shops there. And if someone argues, "Low prices," my response would be, "Not all costs can be measured in dollars."

I agree.

I say that, first off, because I want to raise a point that is, in fact, somewhat questioning of that.

I live on a grand total of 400 dollars a month.

That's it.

I have, available to me locally, a Safeway, A Fry's (Kroger), an Albertson's, a Wal-mart, and a Walgreen's.

Fry's is generally pretty low in Prices. Wal-mart, locally, intentionally undercuts them. The difference between the Wal-mart for a loaf of bread and the Safeway for a loaf of the same bread (already hard to do) is about $1.50.

It is even greater when you turn to the "store brands".

When my total budget as to pay for everything, how do I justify that $1.50 that I can use to buy more food, or maybe a piece of clothing at the second hand store, or shampoo, or... ?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 10, 2009 12:12 AM

Antonia, I don't mean to be insensitive to your plight. The terrible thing is, it's a vicious circle: Walmart undercuts living wages, then eventually, a large number of Americans can't afford to shop anywhere else but Walmart.

It seems to me that there was a window of opportunity when Walmart and the other mega-stores first started to grow, during which Americans had the chance to say, "No. I believe everyone, the baggers, the checkers, the janitors, the pickers, the farmers, the factory workers, the teachers, the bus drivers, the daycare workers, the unemployed. Everyone deserves a living wage, even if it means I have to pay a bit more for what I want."

Instead, Americans chose cheap goods and to look the other way when workers and the vulnerable were exploited. Now we're in it up to our necks in this country and I don't know what the solution is. But as long as I'm able, I will refuse to shop at Walmart.

Brynn,

No sweat on the plight, lol. As I said, I agree, so I'm not too worried about it.

You said don't understand why anyone shops there. I was hoping to help you with that little bit of understanding.

Right now, I have a wal-mart gift card sitting in my purse. It's for 75 bucks -- a nothing to sneeze at amount.

It was gained by doing a workshop on trans issues -- and was one of the most important perks to the folks who attended.

It's going to be donated to an organization I work on behalf of, instead of going to me.

You see, I do agree. But I know why people shop there. I understand it. I also know why people work there, having done so myself in the past (for a not too horrific 12 bucks an hour).

I'm just not one of them.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 10, 2009 10:36 AM

$12 an hour?! I didn't know Walmart paid that.

It's possible that I'm basing my opinions on old information. Like everything in the world, Walmart is constantly evolving to meet the demands of a changing world. Maybe I need to update my viewpoint.

Thanks for your comments!

Not really.

I had a position in what they call "claims". It was an overnight position, so there was a shift differential, and the position was one a typical wal mart employee might take 5 years to get to.

The average person on the floor and the typical cashier make minimum wage plus one dollar, typically. And part of their review is based on how many items they scan per minute as a cashier.

Being banned for life from WalMart is like being excommunicated from the Catholic or Mormon Church. It would be an honor to me.

As to the stupid fine, I would countersue WalMart for false arrest, embarrassment and assorted other crimes they were guilty of, and let a jury settle the matter.

That is what I would do. In two seconds flat. I refuse to be a victim, nor to enrich those who would treat me with less than civil dignity.

Folks, This response to the ills of Corporate Big Box will be long I forewarn you. It covers my thoughts for this day and this place in my time line. Do as I climb up on my Soap Box once again to comment on the subject at hand here at BILERICO you can read on or just plain skip this as ranting. So I shout loudly that when it comes to Wal-Mart Inc. I have to say that I was personally aghast at how this bunch of corporate YAHOO's thought of nothing but themselves when it came to coming into and building on the West Coast here in the State of Oregon. This place of wonderful summers and rainy winters isn't total utopia; we have many things to work on it is more than true. The Wal-Mart motto mentality back then or still is, "Buy it suckers see how much money we saved on the labor"! Well I am here to tell you that I thought to myself....WITH WHAT? If they could unapologetically do this to America with little to no remorse how long would it be before everyone fell in line? It was then as I looked back to my all time and forever AMERICAN HERO Henry Ford. How he created the first car company on an assembly line. I am sure that his bargaining with the unions had him kicking and screaming that he would have gone broke but in the end he raised his workers wages to an unprecedented $5.00 a day. What this did for the American working class was to ensure that his workers were on time at their jobs everyday. You could then split your income in 4 directions (Daily living expense in basic housing, Savings, Other Services, and Taxes). It could have stayed that way but no we had to get greedy. It sounds so simple to say that this ushered in the middle class working heads of the household, momma stayed home with the kids in a home that they bought, a car that H.F. sold to the family (painted any color in Black), a garden, and a dog. US Manufacturing brought on a new prosperity in this country it actually was the catalyst for the creation of something that was not there previously. "NEW MONEY" within the community at large to be spent in support of nearly everything going around and around before it left that community up to 11 times for each dollar earned. What Wal-mart did was take all those new dollars which had been earned and spent at home wrote a check to some far off 3rd world nation that probably didn't even have electricity and didn't need it. Resulting in a simple mentality of what some sort of savings on the labor. Manufacturing began leaving in droves. The American Worker was left to devise other means of purchasing their "#$D D@#$%D CRAP". Today we find whole shiploads of so called cheap labor products now sitting in the Santa Barbara Bay six weeks out for unloading in bulk. Unseen commodities in trailers fanning out across America. In some sort of fashion resulted in leaving the American Worker to basically trade the remaining dollars by upping the use of easy financing on credit cards and any other means of paying for what was needed. I was witness to the level of education that Wal-Mart ushered in at low wages. If you could save on labor why not save on delivery too. Thus it is no wonder that they are so anti-union. It is no wonder that the Walton Sisters giddy with delight having their $5 Billion (each) gift from Daddy bought and built their country club mansions of 20 bedroom French Chateau homes in Columbia, Missouri. Yes I visited Columbia with a then boyfriend I picked up at ARPERCEN (Army Personnel Center St. Louis yes I am a military veteran retired). In the days previous to December 1994 I personally had been to Wal-Mart 4 times (Nebraska - Hayward California & 2 x's to Woodburn, Oregon). The super center location in NE I cannot remember but it was somewhere along I-80. Once in California I took that first purchase back for a refund. Turned out that it was a piece of crap. Had to deal with the store manager but in the end they gladly refunded my purchase after wrangling a bit. Third visit to buy an air mattress (my idea of camping was the Conrad Hilton ;

I know several people from our community who work for Wal-Mart. I have never heard anything but praise for their employer from them. I know several people who are inn my class (retired) who have part-time jobs at Wal-Mart. They, too, are supportive of their employer. I don't relate to them about this while they're on the job, but while I'm relating to them socially.

According to my sources, their wages are similar to those of similar employers in the area.

What's the big outrage? My first-hand information leads me to believe that Wal-Mart employees are treated quite fairly.

Could we be using the same tactics on Wal-Mart as we accuse the public, in general, of using against us? "I've heard that Wal-Mart does [such and so]."

Right.

And everyone knows, by the same source, "Everyone", that GLBT people are mentally ill, child-molesting abominations to whatever god they believe in.

Can we hear from some people with first-hand knowledge of the situation, please?