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"[Wal-Mart] demonstrates a clear pattern of deception."

Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio).


July 13th, 2016
Filed under: Citizen Groups,Customer Satisfaction,GLBTQ,Politics,Target
[Because this issue is important, this post is stuck to the top of the blog. Newer stories do appear below. JH]
Let Walmart know that you think Target (and others) are right in not discriminating against transgender customers' use of their bathrooms and that you support Target's stance by informing Walmart headquarters---via email or phone: 800.925.6278---that you intend to shop at only GLBTQ-friendly retailers. In other national news on the story:
  • Yale introduces gender-neutral bathrooms amid national debate
  • A message to bathroom legislators: trans people... not up for debate
  • Bathrooms as Battlegrounds: A Closer Look
  • walmart keef nc 160509
  • Transgender rights legislation coming 'very shortly'
  • Obama: public schools allow transgender students access to restrooms
  • Oregon outlines sweeping protections for transgender students
  • Sweeping protections for transgender students welcomed in Chicago
  • Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 8th, 2016
    Filed under: Citizen Groups,Despoilment,Groceries
    I can't begin to count the number of stories I've read about citizen groups failing to stop a Walmart being built in their community. Stopping a Walmart is like stopping a Tsunami. So much so that I have given groups that have contacted me about how they might be successful little to no hope for their fight. Reading about Walmart's decision to cancel a development despoilment in Wheat Ridge (a suburb of Denver), Colorado, this morning, therefore, gave me a lift. Joe Vaccarelli, reporting in Walmart pulls out of Wheat Ridge development for The Denver Post, writes:
    A planned development in Wheat Ridge will no longer include a Walmart grocer after the developer informed the city on Wednesday that the company was pulling out of the project. The Corners at Wheat Ridge Project at West 38th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard, a 15-acre site with a mix of housing, retail and a grocer, had an agreement with Walmart to anchor the development. The plan had drawn the ire of residents who did not support the planned Walmart Neighborhood Market. The developer, Quadrant Properties, told the city about Walmart’s decision on Wednesday. Quadrant partner Bob Turner said in a statement that his team is “committed to working on an alternative plan that we believe will complement the surrounding neighborhoods and fulfill the city’s mixed-use vision.” Walmart public affairs director Josh Phair did not immediately return calls for comment, but said in the statement that this was a business decision based on the company’s long-term strategic goals. He added: “However our commitment to our Wheat Ridge customers has not changed and we look forward to working with the city to identify other appropriate sites where we can provide our customers the convenient and affordable shopping experience our stores have to offer.”
    Sadly, I expect that Walmart pulled out not because of citizen protests, but rather because the deal the Bentonvile Behemoth wanted was not forthcoming. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 8th, 2016
    Filed under: National,Politics,Protests
    walmart trump 160708 Who could doubt that Walmart has made financial contributions to the campaign to elect Donald Trump the next President of the United States? I have no doubt that Walmart made contributions to all the Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and maybe, just maybe, even Bernie Sanders, but I would imagine that Bernie would have sent that money back. Nationally the question has morphed into: Is Donald Trump, despite his steamroller campaign, too toxic to risk the push back from voters? Maybe. Patricja Okuniewska, reporting in Ditch Trump and GOP convention, Midtown protesters tell Walmart; retail giant donating to Dems too for The New York Daily News, writes:
    A group of protesters has a “yuge” problem with Walmart. About 40 people gathered in front of Trump Tower on Thursday urging the retail giant to drop plans to support the GOP convention, where Donald Trump is on track to be nominated for President later this month. Reps from groups including Walmart Free NYC, The Black Institute and a commercial workers union passed a petition calling on Walmart to take back $15,000 it has donated to the Republican National Convention and boycott the July 18-21 Trumpfest in Cleveland. “Walmart and Trump, everywhere they go, they create injustice and unfairness,” said Brendan Sexton, political coordinator for UFCW Local 1500. “Walmart’s silence is Trump's pleasure.” Cleveland plans to beef up security for 2016 GOP Convention Amid rounds of chanting — lines included “Walmart, Walmart, you don't care. Fire Donald if you dare!” — protesters said they hoped to reach 25,000 signatures for their petition. They added it had more than 14,000 as of Thursday. Similar protests were taking place in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
    Of course, Walmart has already profited far more than $15,000 from the Trump campaign. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 7th, 2016
    Filed under: Capitalism,China,Communism,Employees
    If you're going to hang the greater part of your very existence to selling cheap plastic crap from China to Americans then cutting out the cost of shipping by selling cheap plastic crap from China in China makes perfect sense. That has been part of Walmart's strategy for 20 years. There have been bumps in the road, but on balance, the concept continues to work. The latest bump comes as Walmart workers in China try to figure out how to deal with Working the Walmart Way vs. Working The Union Way, a challenge American workers have dealt with for decades. Joe McDonald, reporting in Wal-Mart in China faces employee protests for The Associated Press, writes:
    Wal-Mart faces protests by employees in China over what they say is a drastic change in work schedules as the company overhauls its struggling business amid an economic slowdown and competition from e-commerce. Weakening demand for traditional retailers has added to trouble for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has had slow and uneven growth since its first China outlet opened in 1996. It tried to expand into online retailing but sold its operation last month to China's No. 2 e-commerce operator. Its labor tensions reflect rising expectations among workers to share in China's prosperity and a shift by the ruling Communist Party away from treating them only as a source of labor toward trying to create a consumer society. Employees said Wal-Mart wants them to work 11-hour shifts on weekends and as little as four hours on weekdays under a system it started to roll out in June. Some said that might result in lower pay and interfere with their ability to work second jobs.
    Silly workers, that's not how the system works in a capitalist economy. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 6th, 2016
    Filed under: Employees
    There are people at Walmart that customers actually love. In a worlds where underpaid and overworked employees don't have time to be cordial or even helpful, those who make the effort to smile and make the shopping experience not so horrible get noticed. Workers like Frank Swanson come to mind, but there are many others. Perhaps the best known are the men and women, often retired from other jobs and looking to stay active, the Sam Walton wisely decided to put at the front of his stores as greeters. Change happens. David McBride, according to Becca Habegger, reporting in Popular greeter leaving Walmart amid store changes for WBIR in Knoxville, Tenn., is one greeter feeling the change.
    A change in the way Walmart is greeting its customers at some stores is putting one Knoxville man out of a job. WBIR 10News first introduced you to David McBride last week. For nine years, his bright smile has greeted shoppers at the East Knoxville Walmart. His neighbor and close friend Sandy Wells tells 10News, however, McBride is not mad about his changing employment situation. Rather, he has faith something new and good will come along. "If life gives us lemons, we'll just make some lemonade," Wells said. "God has a plan for us, and maybe this just going to be an experience for David to grow from, spiritually." "God has it all worked out," McBride said. "I do not know what He has for me, but I am not worried about it." Friday is McBride's last day working at Walmart.
    Is David a rarity? Perhaps. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 5th, 2016
    Filed under: England,Whole Foods
    [Update on 13 July @ 0600: Suzanne Goldenberg, writes Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests.] While I was in college I volunteered at the local food co-op once a week in exchange for a discount on food I bought there. I stocked shelves, sliced and wrapped cheese and performed many other needful functions during my four-hour shift. The students, and many townies as well, shopped at the co-op for the lower prices and access to organic and locally grown produce. I used to see some really strange looking produce there. The local farmers weren't growing the odd looking fruits and vegetables, the co-op simply chose to not discard the odd two-pronged carrot or apple with a small puncture mark because we understood that such blemishes had nothing to do with the safety or nutritional value of the food. That's the point being made by Jordan Figueiredo and EndFoodWaste and Figueiredo hopes to convince Walmart to start selling ugly fruits and vegetables. Alexander Kaufman, reporting in 100,000 People Have A Message For Walmart About Its Food for The Huffington Post, writes:
    A petition demanding Walmart start selling ugly fruits and vegetables hit 100,000 signatures on Friday, and the effort could put pressure on the superstore chain to tackle the country’s food waste crisis. Nearly 26 percent of all produce grown in the U.S. gets thrown away because supermarkets refuse to stock misshapen or dinged-up fruits and vegetables that don’t meet stringent cosmetic standards. A decision by Walmart---by far the nation’s largest grocer---to sell such produce could send ripples throughout the industry. “It’s very exciting to see 100,000 signatures,” Jordan Figueiredo, the California-based food waste activist who started the petition, told The Huffington Post by email. “It’s a milestone that says Walmart’s customers are ready for an ‘ugly’ produce offering.”
    In the Internet Age, where stupid-cat videos get millions of likes and up-votes, 100,000 signatures is nothing to really celebrate, but Figueiredo's campaign is spot on nonetheless.
    About 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten each year, a particularly appalling statistic when you consider that one in seven American households struggles to afford regular, healthful meals. Worse, that food waste mostly ends up in landfills, where it rots and emits methane, the most potent greenhouse gas warming the planet and changing the climate. Plus, wasting food is expensive. The U.S. spends a total of $218 billion each year growing, shipping and disposing of food that’s never eaten, according to the nonprofit research consortium ReFED.
    In the '90s I edited several magazines focused on municipal solid waste and how to deal with commercial food waste, foods too cosmetically damaged to sell, was always a topic of conversation. Walmart's dominant position in groceries makes any moves in this are big news. So too, are such moves by Walmart's competitors.
    Whole Foods last month expanded a pilot program selling deformed mandarins otherwise rejected from supermarket shelves. Two venture-backed startups---including San Francisco-based Imperfect Produce, which is behind Whole Foods’ trial program---sell rejected fruits and veggies through subscription services and retail partnerships. Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain by revenue, uses its excess food waste to create energy to power its warehouses. The movement is already on Walmart’s radar. Asda, the company’s U.K. supermarket chain, already sells boxes of “wonky” vegetables for about 30 percent off regular prices. The program proved so successful, the company expanded the offer from 250 to 550 stores in March. Earlier this week, Walmart said it has considered importing a similar pilot program, but insisted U.S. shoppers may be less likely that Brits to buy aesthetically imperfect produce because they’re used to purchasing loose fruits and vegetables. British shoppers, by contrast, often buy their produce in boxes and bags, putting less emphasis on the individual foodstuffs.
    Oh those crazy Brits with their bad teeth, mad cows and xenophobic referendum votes. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 4th, 2016
    Filed under: Economics,Employment,Legislation,Politics,State
    There are two tasks that all politicians like to be able to boast success about: making the lives of voters safer and making the lives of voters more prosperous. The latter often involves the promise of jobs. Lots of jobs. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo made such a promise and as New York Times reporter Vivian Yee writes in Cuomo’s Start-Up Program, Meant to ‘Supercharge’ Economy, Has Created 408 Jobs, one flagship program has worked all that well.
    One of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s most highly promoted economic development initiatives has produced just 408 new jobs across New York State in the past two years, even as the state has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting it, according to a delayed report released on Friday afternoon
    Yeah, that kind of sucks for Cuomo, but what does that have to do with Walmart? Enter Tim Worstall. Writing in Cuomo's NY Job Program Creates 408---Around And About One Walmart Store, Forbes contributor Worstall, compares the 408 jobs created by the program to the number of jobs Walmart likes to tout in story after story about the new hires when a store opens. To be fair, in a reply to a comment by John Reagan, Worstall writes: The contrast is with the 400 people that Walmart employs at the average store. That is, Worstall is using jobs at a Walmart store (which seems a little high to me but I won't quibble) as an example, a scale for readers to compare with and he makes no claims as to the quality of the jobs compared. Fair enough. Reagan, however has a point:
    Walmart probably isn’t the best choice to contrast against Cuomo’s efforts. Walmart job creation is a myth: Wal-Mart store openings kill three local jobs for every two they create by reducing retail employment, killing mom and pop businesses and causing remaining retail to suffer sales declines of 10 to 40%. Wal-Mart has thousands of associates who qualify for Medicaid and other publicly subsidized care, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Chain stores, like Wal-Mart send most of their revenues out of the community, while local businesses keep more consumer dollars in local economy.
    Yes, Cuomo's job program is a dog. The implication, intentional or not, that Walmart does a better job of creating employment, however, doesn't take home any medals either. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 3rd, 2016
    Filed under: Litigation,Organized Labor
    On Thursday, 30 June, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Eight found in favor of Walmart in the case of Walmart v. United Food And Commercial Workers International. From Court Documents:
    In September 2014, the trial court issued a permanent injunction barring defendants United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart; collectively the union) from conducting demonstrations inside stores owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and affiliated companies (collectively Walmart). On appeal, the union contends the trial court had no jurisdiction to enter the injunction because the matter was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 151, et seq.; NLRA). We conclude the NLRA does not preempt Walmart’s trespass action. [Emphasis not in original, JH] FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND In 2011, the union began organizing and conducting demonstrations at Walmart stores across the United States, including in California. The demonstrations were part of a union campaign designed to induce Walmart to provide its employees better working conditions and pay. The campaign also sought to pressure Walmart to reinstate employees the union alleged Walmart had discharged or disciplined for exercising their rights under the NLRA. In March 2013, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In the charge, Walmart alleged defendants violated Section 8, subdivision (b)(1)(A) of the NLRA (Section 8(b)(1)(A); 29 U.S.C. § 158, subd. (b)(1)(A)) by “planning, orchestrating, and conducting a series of unauthorized and blatantly trespassory in-store mass demonstrations, invasive ‘flash mobs,’ and other confrontational group activities at numerous facilities nationwide . . . by which the UFCW restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights (which includes the right to refrain from supporting the UFCW) by attempting to impose its will on local facility management in front of facility employees through the sheer force of a mass of moving bodies despite requests and direction by local management to leave.” In May 2013, Walmart filed a complaint in the Los Angeles superior court for trespass, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the union.* The complaint alleged the union trespassed inside Walmart stores to engage in “unauthorized activities.” *Walmart filed similar suits in other states. It secured a permanent injunction in Arkansas, and prevailed on preemption arguments in trial courts in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. Walmart has informed this court that least some of these rulings have been challenged on appeal. As discussed in greater detail below, a Washington state court found the NLRA preempted Walmart’s claims. A state appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l. Union (Wash.Ct.App. 2015) 354 P.3d 31, review den. (Wash. 2016) 367 P.3d 1084 [table] (Walmart Stores).) While this case was pending, Colorado, Maryland and Florida appellate courts affirmed lower court orders finding Walmart’s trespass claims were not preempted. (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l Union (Colo.Ct.App., May 5, 2016, No. 14CA2061) [2016 WL 2605737]; United Food & Commer. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Fla.Ct.App., May 20, 2016, No. 5015-1434) [2016 WL 2943255]; United Food & Commer. Workers Int’l Union v. Wal-Mart Stores (Md.Ct.Spec.App., June 1, 2016, No. 376) [2016 WL 3070949].)
    No word yet from the union as to what, if any, the next step might be. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 2nd, 2016
    Filed under: Sam Walton
    Forty-four years ago, on 2 July 1962, the first Walmart store, in Rogers, Arkansas, opened the doors for customers. Rogers, population ~6,000 in 1962, is also the home of Daisy, maker of the iconic Red Ryder BB gun. Happy birthday Walmart. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 2nd, 2016
    Filed under: Alice Walton,Christy Walton,Helen Walton,Jim Walton,John Walton,People,Robson Walton,Sam Walton,Wall Street,Walmart Family Foundation
    Years ago I worked as executive editor of a small, family owned publishing house. I learned a lot there from the owner who, while he did not match his financial success, did share what I think of as many of the good qualities of Sam Walton. I remember a conversation we had once regarding Wall Street and investments. My employer had been approached by a representative of some firm seeking capital to invest in a certain scheme (and, of course, fatten his pockets with the commission), but my boss turned down the offer saying simply that if he had any money to invest, he would invest in his own company. That was an attitude that I'm sure Sam Walton would have agreed with. All of that makes me wonder, after reading the two stories this morning---Wal-Mart Founder's Children Sell ~$309 Million In Wal-Mart Shares and Waltons' trust sells stock for $103.5M---about the attitude of Sam's heirs. (The Waltons were not the only ones selling stock: According to Market Digest:
    Rosalind G. Brewer, executive vice president of Wal Mart Stores Inc sold 10,794 shares on Jun 29, 2016. The Insider selling transaction was reported by the company on Jul 1, 2016 to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were sold at $71.65 per share for a total value of $773,390.12, the company said in a SEC Form 4 Filing.
    Are there other shoes about to drop?) So, why did the Waltons sell nearly half-billion dollars worth of stock? In the first story, Andrew Efimoff writes:
    Wal-Mart Stores Founder Sam Walton's children Jim, Alice and Robson each sold over $103.52 million worth of Wal-Mart shares on Wednesday night between $71.2 and $71.8 per share. The complete sale amounted to 4,350,000 shares total, 1,450,000 for each of the three Waltons.
    Efimoff further added that the sale follows on a number of recent events including: the filing of a counter suit Visa in the ongoing dispute over the use of PINs vs. signatures for chip-enabled debit cards; and recent dealings with JD.com regarding Walmart's online business in China. At the end of the story Efimoff noted that Sam Walton wrote in his autobiography that his greatest fear was that his children would sell their Walmart stock. Like I said, Sam Walton was a very smart man. In the second story, Robbie Neiswanger writes:
    Members of the Walton family sold 1.45 million shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stock from a trust established to trim the family's ownership stake and fund its charitable interests. The stock sale took place in three separate transactions over a two-day period this week, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The transactions netted about $103.5 million for members of the Walton Family Holdings Trust, which includes Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's children Jim, Alice and Rob Walton. In addition, the SEC filing indicates that Rob Walton made a charitable gift of 940,000 shares of stock from his personal holdings. The filing did not provide any specific details regarding the gift.
    Charitable gifts at this level, while accomplishing many good works, are more about tax breaks and positive publicity, else the gifts would be made quietly and, when possible, anonymously. Nearly half-a-billion sounds huge to the 99 percent, but when you're the richest family in America worth an estimated $130 billion, that's less than pocket change. Maybe some of the money is going to help out mom? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 1st, 2016
    Filed under: Alice Walton,Christy Walton,Helen Walton,Jim Walton,John Walton,Robson Walton,Sam Walton
    When Los Angeles Laker Coach Pat Riley trademarked the phrase---coined by Shooting Guard (and future Lakers coach) Byron Scott---Three-Peat, he associated the term with the team's remarkable effort, but ultimately failure, to win three successive NBA championships. The recent distinction of the Walton family to top Forbes' list of wealthiest families in the United States, however, comes with not such air of struggle or merit, simply the knowledge that your father made a shit load of cash. Can it be any wonder why the Walton spend more money in one year fighting the evil inheritance tax than other families make in three or four generations? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    July 1st, 2016
    Filed under: Alibaba,Amazon,Competitors,Internet
    Two stories popped up this morning that relate to Walmart's continuing battle to figure out how to transform dominance in bricks-and-mortar retail sales to the same kind of crush-the-competition success in the virtual world of online sales. First up is this report by Madeleine Johnson headlined Walmart's Unoriginal ShippingPass is Still No Match for Amazon Prime. Johnson writes:
    America’s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores recently announced the expansion of its ShippingPass membership program that promises free, two-day, no-minimum deliveries of products purchased on Walmart.com. Members pay an annual cost of $49 after a free 30-day trial for new users. Sound familiar? Well, that’s because it’s an almost exact rip-off of America’s largest online retailer Amazon's popular membership program Amazon Prime. With Prime, members also get free, two-day, no-minimum deliveries on its products but at a price of $99 per year, or $10.99 per month.
    Johnson continues at length, but in summary: she ain't impressed. The second story, focused on recent events in China, comes from Jack Foley in E-commerce Is Becoming The Achilles Heel For Wal-Mart. Foley writes:
    Sometimes in business, you have to succumb to market conditions and just decide to walk away or change your plan of attack. There is no point in consistently trying to make an impact in a market because ultimately the balance sheet (and shareholders) are going to suffer. This is why I see Walmart's new alliance with JD.com becoming successful in the long run, because it will mean that JD.com can concentrate on what it is good at (improves its presence in important product categories online) and Walmart can focus on building sales in its offline stores (which has been the hall-mark of this company since day one). Some analysts have stated that this new deal is an act of resignation regarding its online aspirations in China but I don't see it this way. Yes, the sale of Yihaodian to JD.com will reduce its risk (and potential reward in China some may say) with regards to e-commerce sales, but Walmart has come out of this deal with some distinct advantages.
    Foley is impressed, so we'll call this duo a tie. Peter Cohan, writing in Why Walmart's Free Shipping Is No Threat To Amazon for Forbes, offers a tie-breaker:
    Walmart---seeking to upstage Amazon Prime day---just announced a free shipping offer. Should Amazon shareholders be quaking in their boots? By comparing customer reviews of Walmart and Amazon I believe the answer is not bloody likely.
    That's too the point. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    June 30th, 2016
    Filed under: Litigation
    Europeans have been using chip cards for more than 10 years and you would think that the bugs would have been worked out of the system by the time the cards were introduced in the United States this year. Not so. Walmart has been haggling with Visa over the question of PINs vs. signatures---I get why Walmart prefers PINs since the signatures people use today are no more than electronic marks---and now VISA has countersued Walmart. Reuters in Visa countersues Wal-Mart in debit card PIN vs signature case reports:
    Visa filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores on Wednesday, claiming the retailer secretly began testing a protocol that eliminated the need for signature verifications for transactions paid for with a Visa debit card. The lawsuit comes about a month after Wal-Mart had sued Visa saying the payments network operator was resisting the use of personal identification numbers by customers for purchases made on debit cards at Walmart stores. Visa said Wal-Mart did not disclose the PIN-only policy to Visa and noted a significant drop in debit card transactions at Walmart stores as well as customer complaints on their inability to use their debit cards at Walmart stores without a PIN, according to a filing in a New York court.
    Any lawyers out there want to explain what this is really about? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    June 30th, 2016
    Filed under: Citizen Groups,Crime,Guns And Ammunition
    Walmart sells more bananas than anyone else in the United States, but I've never read a number, or place in the hierarchy of sales, for how much ammunition Walmart sells. I'll go for a shit load and move on. The reason I'm writing about ammunition is a piece by Mike Adams for Townhall headlined: The Wal-Mart Rule. Before getting into the bang of Adams' Op-Ed, let me say that there is a part of the nation's population---sometimes referred to as preppers or simply crazy fucks---who have watched too many dystopian/end-of-the-world movies over the years and have lost the ability to differentiate between fiction and reality. One of the bits of irony in this is that these same people believe that Climate Change/Global Warming is a conspiracy. Go figure. So, Adams writes:
    As a conservative criminologist, I get a lot of questions about gun ownership. People often ask me how to go about building a good firearm collection just in case things start to go south quickly. [Adams is not talking about Dixie here---see crazy fucks, above. JH] I usually respond by telling them to follow the Wal-Mart rule. It is probably the best way to make sure you are prepared when the republic finally disintegrates into utter lawlessness. The Wal-Mart rule involves three basic steps.
    I'll be blatantly honest here. I cannot tell if Adams is serious or not. (He could even be moonlighting as a flack for the civilian arms industry writing a piece sure to boost sales, but I have no evidence of that.) In a universe where Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party telling the difference has become harder and harder. In a nutshell, here is the Wal-Mart Rule as articulated by Adams: Step One---Go to your nearest Walmart and make a list of the different kinds of ammunition in stock. Step Two---Buy all the guns needed to fire all the ammunition on your list. Step Three---Buy one box of ammunition each and every time you visit a Walmart. Adams leaves out an important step, however, which is simply: Step Four---Prepare yourself to answer this question on your deathbed: Why the fuck did I spend all that money on ammunition I never used? People who worry about this kind of (possible but so improbably as to be meaningless) event---Y2K was only 16 years ago---have a lot in common with religious folk who use the end of the world as their guiding principle like Laura and Michael McIntyre (hat tip to Mano Singham). Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    June 29th, 2016
    Filed under: Advertising,International,Made in the USA,Marketing,Public Relations,Vendors
    As a child in the early '60s, at a time when the label Made In Japan was looked upon with scorn, I remember a meme (almost certainly malicious and false) that those wily Japanese had renamed one of their cities Usa so that they might flood our markets with cheap (mostly tin rather than plastic) crap Made In USA. For a time Sam Walton attempted to appeal to mostly rural Americans with a Made In America campaign, but Sam quickly discovered that his customers preferred even their American flags to be made in China, if that meant shaving a few bucks off the retail price. Fast forward to the present when a second wave of Made In The USA fervor, that thanks to groups like Truth In Advertising (as if that ever really existed) has also faltered, has gripped Walmart. Laura Heller, reporting in Walmart's Made In The USA Claim: Fact Or Fiction? for Forbes writes:
    Made in the USA is a big program for Walmart which made a pledge to source $250 billion in products by 2023. The initiative is expected to create 1 million new U.S. jobs with 250,000 in direct manufacturing and 750,000 in support and services, according to the company. Last year, Walmart scrubbed the “Made in the USA” labeling from its website following allegations from the nonprofit group Truth in Advertising that found more than 100 examples of items that did not adhere to that label’s requirements. To claim “Made in the USA,” all of the components must be manufactured and assembled in the United States. The findings prompted the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation. Walmart pointed to its vendor partners and said it had relied on them to provide manufacturing information, some of which was incorrect or outdated. Walmart carries hundreds of thousands of products, so it’s not outrageous to count on the accuracy of provided information, but it is against federal regulations. According to Truth in Advertising, Walmart’s disclaimers that “displayed country of origin information may not be accurate or consistent with manufacturer information” do not suffice.
    Imagine how we might feel if we discovered that an American company employed a workforce consisting of mostly illegal aliens and attempted to use such an excuse when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents knocked on the doors? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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