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Astro-turf from Walmart?
November 14, 2008 3:25 PM   Subscribe

Ernest Kirschner, a 61-year-old business owner from East Haddam, is among thousands of Connecticut residents who may become the new voice of Walmart. When the Benton, Ark.-based retailer formed its own "support group," the New England Customer Action Network, Kirschner signed up eagerly. "I would stick up for Wal-Mart as strong as I can," said Kirschner, a frequent shopper. "I really think they've gotten an unfair shake." Wal-Mart Forms Customer 'Support Group' To Counter Opponents

"Here's a giant retailer doing community organizing instead of selling cheap underwear and bananas," Norman said. "A lot of people signed up for this group, thinking they were going to get information about the next sale."

Wal-Mart hired an outside company to do the recruiting, and those people were able to say they were not Wal-Mart employees. That, Norman said, led many customers to believe CAN was an independent group, not run by Wal-Mart itself.
posted by longsleeves (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The CAN website.
posted by longsleeves at 3:33 PM on November 14, 2008


Here's a giant retailer doing community organizing...

And ya' know what becomes of community organizers, don'chya?
posted by ericb at 3:43 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"They're taking a leaf from our page," said Al Norman, a Greenfield, Mass., activist

A leaf from your page? Is this some Connecticut thing?
posted by rokusan at 3:52 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


And while I'm disoriented, what exactly is on the mind of spokesman Al Norman in the same article:

"Here's a giant retailer doing community organizing instead of selling cheap underwear and bananas".

Underwear and bananas? These are the first two things that come to mind? Really?

New England is weird, man.
posted by rokusan at 3:52 PM on November 14, 2008


You put the banana in the underwear and drink 'em bo'd u-

Wait what?
posted by basicchannel at 3:58 PM on November 14, 2008


One word: Astroturfing
posted by elpapacito at 3:58 PM on November 14, 2008


I am going to take a leaf from their page and get my underwear banana shopping done in Connecticut.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:00 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Banana Hammocks!
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on November 14, 2008


Bentonville, Arkansas. Benton, Arkansas is a long way away in a much different part of the state. ;)
posted by wierdo at 4:16 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Knock knock
Who's there?
Banana pants.
Banana pants, who?
Banana pants, banana pants.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Banana pants.
Banana pants, who?
Banana pants, banana pants.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Banana pants.
Banana pants, who?
Banana pants, banana pants.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Orange.
Orange, who?
Oranges are on sale for $1.49 a pound, at a Walmart near you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps this will work as well as http://schoolyourway.walmart.com/ which used to go to a picture of a Cod.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2008


Something tells me that Mr. Kirschner, the "61-year-old business owner," does not own a retail business.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:29 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and quit picking on poor McDonalds too!
posted by horsemuth at 4:52 PM on November 14, 2008


...You know who else liked underwear and bananas?
posted by spirit72 at 5:20 PM on November 14, 2008


Count me as one of the rare liberals who thinks that Walmart gets a bad rap. Jason Furman- Obama's chief economic advisor during the campaign- authored a lit review in 2005 that examined Walmart's effect on the distribution of wealth in America.

Basically, he found two papers that studied the average effect of a Wal-mart store on employment in the local community- both found that it tends to slightly increase the number of jobs, while decreasing wages for retail workers by somewhere between 1 and 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, Wal-mart's prices are between 8 and 39 percent lower than it's competitors, and its effect on food prices alone (its own prices, and the downward pressure it puts on competitors) was enough to increase the effective income of bottom-quintile families by 6.5%. Overall, that paper argued that Wal-mart's price pressures saved consumers $263 billion in 2004, while its wage pressures cost retail workers $4.7 billion.

This shouldn't be surprising. Wal-mart is famous for driving hard bargains with its suppliers and forcing their own profit margins down. None of the papers Furman cited seemed to address this question directly, but I think its pretty clear that the marginal growth of Wal-mart decreases the total amount of corporate profit in the world, which is fine by me. You could make a moral argument that this is still unacceptable, because Wal-mart encourages sweatshop labor in the developing world, but, like Nickolas Kristof, I think that sweatshops run by western corporations generally improve the welfare of their workers and their communities, certainly more than a lot of foreign aid.
posted by gsteff at 5:33 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nicholas, whatever.
posted by gsteff at 5:46 PM on November 14, 2008


Community Organizing is the new Viral.
posted by delmoi at 5:47 PM on November 14, 2008


Im anti- WM and here is why! They are the downfall of America and I have never been in one and will never shop there. I am not one to take a stand on things but I am disgusted by them!
boo-yah
posted by femmme at 7:58 PM on November 14, 2008


"Brad, I know you mean well, but you're hurting Wal-Mart. Can't you see that? You're hurting us. Please. Wal-Mart is scared. Don't be like this."
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 PM on November 14, 2008


I would stick up for Northrup Grumman as strong as I can. I think they've gotten an unfair shake.
posted by facetious at 10:36 PM on November 14, 2008


Hey, Asda! I ain't gonna be your bitch!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2008


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