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"... The Writing On The Wal should be on your radar for at least an occasional visit. Think of it as slightly more relevant than keeping abreast of political campaigns. If you have as much political and economic power as most Americans, it likely is."

Angela Gunn Tech_Space, USA Today.

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

Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio).

TARGET IS RIGHT ON TRANS CUSTOMERS…

May 27th, 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
  • CAN YOU HEAR CUSTOMERS NOW WALMART...?
  • 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
  • walmart keef nc 160509 Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    WHO YOU GONNA CALL…?

    May 21st, 2016
    Filed under: Banking,Customer Satisfaction
    This is exactly why I leave very little money on any card that has electronic access to my reserves, and that's on my bank card. I can't imagine being at the mercy of cards controlled by retailers not under the jurisdiction of the FDIC and bank regulators (yeah I know, don't laugh to hard, but at least there are regulations, even though they get shredded regularly). I can imagine this is a particular kind of hell (no, not this hell) for users. KTHV writes:
    On Saturday, Robert Turner says he transferred hundreds of dollars from his bank account to his Walmart Prepaid Moneycard. "It's convenient. I can run in at the checkout, or when I'm doing a little grocery shopping. I want to put this on my card as well. They swipe it. It's rapid reload”, Turner said about the card. Only, for the last three days his money card has been anything but convenient. Sunday, Turner explained he got a notification that there would be a system update overnight. Since then, he hasn't been able to access his account information or his money
    Oh those pesky software updates. Well, I've never been a fan of Walmart's cards anyway. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    WILL THEY GO OR WILL THEY STAY…?

    May 20th, 2016
    Filed under: Employees,People
    Two weeks ago I mentioned that Walmart is making changes to the front-end of the store, but this morning I read a post from The Answer Man at the Rochester, Minn., Post-Bulletin that seems to tell a different story.
    Dear All Knowing and Extremely Wise Answer Man, I have it on very good authority that the greeters at both Wal-Mart stores in Rochester are being told that they're being replaced by security officers. Their last day of work should be July 8 or thereabouts. Many of them are disabled and/or elderly and certainly need these jobs. Please check into this for me. Thank you. ---Sharon Schultz I consider myself the Post-Bulletin greeter — may I help you find something? — so it's painful for me to report that yes, it appears changes are ahead for greeters at the local Wal-Marts. A reliable source tells me that employees have been informed that greeters will be replaced by security personnel to control "shrinkage," also known as shoplifting. According to some reports, Wal-Mart loses about 1 percent of U.S. revenue, or about $3 billion a year, to employee and customer theft. This source also tells me that greeters may be offered jobs elsewhere in the stores, but as Sharon notes, many greeters are elderly or have disabilities that may limit their ability to take other jobs.
    Hmmm...? So, which is the real story? Are greeters coming back or going away. Inquiring minds want to know. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    IS FLORIDA BECOMING THE CENTER OF HELL…?

    May 19th, 2016
    Filed under: Amazon,Employees,Internet
    walmart circle of hell 160519 Earlier this week I speculated that Walmart's decision to build eight new distribution centers directly purposed for the expansion of the Bentonvile Behemoths online competition with Amazon was like adding eight rings to Dante's Inferno. This morning I read the news from Brevard County, Florida, that the county commissioners there voted a $3.74 million tax break for Walmart to build one of those centers. That however was not the bit that really caught my attention in Brevard Times' story. This was:
    Wal-Mart has been increasing its number of distribution and fulfillment centers while closing retail locations [Emphasis mine, JH] across Florida, along with the rest of the United States, as the retail giant evolves its brick-and-mortar business model to more online shopping and shipping.
    How many of these centers will the Sunshine State (yes, the irony is intended) get? As we repeat at Pesach, that would have been enough, but a second bit also made me sit up:
    Wal-Mart's distribution center is expected to create 239 jobs over the next three years with an average annual wage of $42,421.
    I suspect that Walmart is playing the mean vs. the median game here, but either the top end has to be really up there or the drones on the warehouse floor are getting paid a lot more than their counterparts in other warehouses. Even working 40 hours a week at $15 an hour, the paychecks would only show a gross of a little more than $30,000 and I find that very unlikely. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    CAN YOU HEAR CUSTOMERS NOW WALMART…?

    May 18th, 2016
    Filed under: Customer Satisfaction,GLBTQ,Video
    The fight for basic human rights expanded in Connecticut when a woman, with short hair, glasses and wearing a baseball cap, was asked to leave a Walmart bathroom. The bathrooms, particularly women's bathrooms (so I'm told) all have stalls. Nobody sees nobody's genitals. The ignorant bigots need to get a grip. For those of you who don't think Facebook is too weird, you can follow Aimée Toms. She's also expanding on YouTube. Bradford Richardson, reporting in Woman wrongly accused of being transgender is kicked out of Wal-Mart bathroom for The Washington Times, writes:
    A Connecticut woman with short hair says she was mistaken for a transgender woman and told to leave a Wal-Mart bathroom. Aimee Toms, 22, posted a video to Facebook on Friday recounting the incident, saying a woman confronted her in the restroom and told her to leave. “She said, ‘You are not supposed to be here. You need to leave,’” Ms. Toms said. “So at first I was like, ‘Does she think I work at a different store, and I shouldn’t be in this bathroom?’ So I said, ‘Yes I do,’ and then she flipped me off, and she was like, ‘You’re disgusting,’ and stormed out. “She just thought I was somebody who was transgender, and she thought I was a dude who was hiding in the women’s bathroom,” she said. Ms. Toms, who has glasses and short brown hair, also said she was wearing a baseball cap at the time. The nation is in the middle of a heated debate about transgender access to restrooms. In response to a Charlotte city ordinance, North Carolina enacted a law regulating public facilities on the basis of biological sex.
    So, are people going to need to give blood or hair sample before being directed to the appropriate bathrooms?
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    BAD GOVERNMENT, BUT GOOD BUSINESS…?

    May 17th, 2016
    Filed under: Health Care,Vendors
    Way back in 2006 Walmart fired a serious shot across the bows of the Bentonvile Behemoths pharmacy competitors by announcing $4/month prices on a wide range of generic pharmaceuticals. Of course there were twists and turns, but the company pushed ahead. Now Walmart seems intent on taking a further step in the price war for drugs. Reuters reports:
    Retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores and U.S. drug distributor McKesson said on Monday they would expand an alliance for jointly procuring generic medicines in an attempt to lower costs. Walmart, which has been sourcing generics with McKesson for several years, has been looking to strengthen its health-related business as well as cut costs in its pharmacy operations, which emerged as a significant drag on earnings last year. The deal is aimed at “using our combined size and scale to drive efficiencies,” George Riedl, senior vice president and president of the health and wellness division at Walmart in the U.S., said in a statement.
    As long as the Food and Drug Administration keeps a close eye (and that may be a lot to ask in today's environment of regulatory budget slashing) this could be good for consumers. What I find fascinating here is that this use of size and scale to drive efficiencies is precisely why many have been urging congress to repeal laws specifically preventing the government from doing just than and drastically bring down the cost of drugs for all Americans. That would be federal overreach, of course. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    MORE REPORTING ON WALMART’S TAX-THEFT…

    May 16th, 2016
    Filed under: Crime
    In the world of journalism, a television station repeating a story from the local newspaper is rare. The opposite is far more likely to happen. Occasionally, however, a team of reporters go deep---a rare occurrence in broadcast media---and uncover a story that resonates across a region, indeed stories that can have repercussions across the nation. I think the coverage by the Tampa Bay Times of the disproportionate demands made by bay area Walmarts on already stretched safety forces is one such story. Here's what the WTSP staff had to say:
    Police officers and sheriff deputies risk their lives every day, responding to calls from burglaries to domestic abuse. But many of them are also responding to bay area Walmarts, called to investigate thefts for items as inexpensive as a bottle of soda. Those calls end up costing taxpayers in the long run. 10 News Investigate's Noah Pransky recently talked to Tampa Bay Times reporter Laura Morel about the Times' search through thousands of police calls at local Walmart art stores---to find out just how much those calls are costing all of us.
    Look for other newspapers to start looking into police calls at their local Walmarts.
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    SO, WHAT INTERESTS MY READERS…

    May 15th, 2016
    Filed under: Employees,Employment,National,Politics
    Occasionally I like to look back and see what readers of The Writing On The Wal find most interesting. The list below shows the top of the list for the past five years. I always get a chuckle at No. 1. Does Walmart do such a horrible job of letting employees know about company policies that they have to come to TWOTW for an answer? The other two stories with five-digit reads don't surprise me at all. Read the comments (the fullest on TWOTW) on these two posts and you'll see why. walmart twotw stats 160515 If you run down the list, you'll see that these stories have been been around for a long time, often years, with one exception---HILLARY’S WALMART PROBLEM GETS BIGGER…, published less than a month ago---has, as of this morning, been read 1,223 times Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    WALMART BUILDING EIGHT RINGS OF HELL…?

    May 15th, 2016
    Filed under: Amazon,Employees,Internet,Technology
    Over the last few days the news feed has been filled with stories regarding Walmart's decision to offer a two-day shipping subscription service in the Bentonvile Behemoth's quest to take down Amazon. This morning, reading Here's How Walmart Plans To Take On Amazon Prime I came up short at the first sentence of the second paragraph: Based on its current plan, Walmart will have eight additional massive warehouses around the U.S. by the end of this year. These kinds of Warehouses are why I like Amazon less than I do Walmart. Four years ago Mac McClelland went undercover for Mother Jones to work in an Amazon warehouse. Her story, I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave
    "Don't take anything that happens to you there personally," the woman at the local chamber of commerce says when I tell her that tomorrow I start working at "Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc." She winks at me. I stare at her for a second. "What?" I ask. "Why, is somebody going to be mean to me or something?" She smiles. "Oh, yeah." This town somewhere west of the Mississippi is not big; everyone knows someone or is someone who's worked for Amalgamated. "But look at it from their perspective. They need you to work as fast as possible to push out as much as they can as fast as they can. So they're gonna give you goals, and then you know what? If you make those goals, they're gonna increase the goals. But they'll be yelling at you all the time. It's like the military. They have to break you down so they can turn you into what they want you to be. So they're going to tell you, 'You're not good enough, you're not good enough, you're not good enough,' to make you work harder. Don't say, 'This is the best I can do.' Say, 'I'll try,' even if you know you can't do it. Because if you say, 'This is the best I can do,' they'll let you go. They hire and fire constantly, every day. You'll see people dropping all around you. But don't take it personally and break down or start crying when they yell at you." Several months prior, I'd reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who's spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down. "We want you to go work for Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc.," they said. I'd have to give my real name and job history when I applied, and I couldn't lie if asked for any specifics. (I wasn't.) But I'd smudge identifying details of people and the company itself. Anyway, to do otherwise might give people the impression that these conditions apply only to one warehouse or one company. Which they don't.
    The work goes downhill from there. There are lots of links to related stories in Mac's piece. Follow them around and maybe you're come to the same conclusion I have: you shouldn't feel so good about the money you save buying on the Internet. If Walmart workers feel put down when they're working out in public, imagine the experience when they're hidden away in some massive warehouse. This will not end well. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    TIME TO STRIKE THE BANNERS AT WALMART…?

    May 14th, 2016
    Filed under: Amazon,Doug McMillon,Wall Street
    The business world is all abuzz over Walmart's announcement of a two-day shipping subscription service targeted directly at Amazon's Prime service. I don't like buying from Amazon anymore than I do from Walmart for a variety of reasons, but the main reason focuses on the company's use of ginormous warehouses in obscure communities where workers struggle to get through one more day of stuffing dildos (no really, dildos) into shipping boxes without incurring the wrath of a supervisor. Chasing Amazon's tail is a losing strategy because of one of the most basic of business realities: if you want to steal customers from a competitor then you must be better enough to justify the hassles for those customers to make the change. You must overcome the inertia the customer feels in resisting any change. Being the same as your competitor is worthless. Walmart must get ahead of Amazon, not simply become a clone. Dana Blankenhorn writing in The Revolution At Wal-Mart Failed agrees:
    [Walmart CEO Doug] McMillon's efforts seem squarely aimed at one company---Amazon---and the flailing about demonstrates just how difficult his task is. It comes down to breaking bulk. Wal-Mart's technique for doing this was state of the art 20 years ago. Using bar codes and cash register data, the company could know when a store was getting low on an item and re-order it directly from the manufacturer, cutting warehouse costs. The boxes were opened and stocked by low-wage "associates" overseen by career-oriented managers. The hope was that some associates would grow to make the leap. McMillon did. He began on the shop floor in college, getting onto the management track after graduation. What Amazon has done, over the last 10 years, is invest billions of dollars in warehouses that can break bulk directly. Workers use technology on the warehouse floor to prepare individual items for shipment. Amazon automated selection through its Web site, automated the warehouses, and is constantly working to cut delivery costs.
    Blankenhorn continues:
    The "Walmart Express" concept has been shelved, and many Neighborhood Markets closed, while some others have been announced for opening. The changes at the SuperCenters have been subtler - there are more efforts to keep shelves clean, floor employees are making a little more, in-store pick-up has improved. But there has been no revolution, and it seems there won't be. Meanwhile the e-commerce effort is being re-focused on opening more warehouses around the country, copying Amazon. This has been met by hosannas from a business press that fails to understand that Wal-Mart is merely copying Amazon's back-end, and is missing what makes Amazon great. What makes Amazon great is Amazon Prime. Customers with Prime accounts, 54 million by last count, already get free shipping, along with other benefits, and Amazon has moved to make the video component stand alone. Because of Prime, an advantage of a few dollars in price on an order placed at Walmart.com isn't going to make much difference to these shoppers.
    Walmart needs a difference that makes a difference. McMillon needs to discover how to make Walmart better enough or accept the slow death of the almost good as. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    WALMART INSUFFICIENTLY GUILTY FOR JUDGE…

    May 13th, 2016
    Filed under: Crime,Litigation,Mexico
    Walmart is guilty, just not guilty enough, according to Chancellor Andre Bouchard of the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Delaware. Bouchard. Bouchard dismissed a lawsuit by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shareholders who accused the board of the world's largest retailer of trying to cover up bribes paid by company executives in Mexico, according to Tom Hals writing in Wal-Mart wins dismissal of Mexico bribery lawsuit for Reuters. In explaining Bouchard's ruling, Hals writes:
    The litigation stemmed from a 2012 New York Times investigation that found Wal-Mart had engaged in a multi-year bribery campaign to build its Wal-Mart de Mexico business. According to the newspaper, Wal-Mart sent investigators to Mexico City and found a paper trail of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. However, top executives shut down the internal probe and did not notify U.S. or Mexican law enforcement until after the newspaper had informed Wal-Mart that it was looking into the issue. The Delaware lawsuit sought to hold Wal-Mart directors liable for damages they caused the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, in what is known as a derivative lawsuit. Successful derivative cases usually result in corporate governance changes. While the Delaware shareholders were fighting for company documents to bolster their case, a federal judge dismissed a parallel derivative case in Arkansas for failing to prove the board was too conflicted to investigate itself. That ruling has been appealed. In his 60-page decision, Bouchard said the Arkansas plaintiffs' strategy "does not rise to the level of litigation management that was so grossly deficient as to render them inadequate representatives" of Wal-Mart shareholders.
    So, Walmart executives were bad boys, just not bad enough. (I don't usually comment on the choice of art with stories, but this case has to be among the strangest I've come across, particularly for an organization like Reuters. Is there a hidden message here, or was no one simply paying attention?) Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    YET MORE OF WALMART’S CORPORATE WELFARE…

    May 12th, 2016
    Filed under: Crime
    walmart tampa 160512 [Update at 0800 on 15 May: If Walmart security had had the presence of mind (or the equipment and training to photograph this woman, the end of the story might be better for Walmart.] We've written much here at The Writing On The Wal about how the Bentonvile Behemoth sucks at the public tit, draining tax dollars into the corporate coffers and saving the company millions in expenses that would have otherwise damaged the bottom line. (Others, naturally, like Tim Worstall who I mentioned last week, argue the opposite.) We've written only occasionally, however, about how Walmart farms out store security to local police departments. The Tampa Bay Times yesterday published a report on just how much time and money local Walmarts are costing tax payers. In Police Are Called To Walmart More Than Anywhere Else; You Foot The Bill Zachary Sampson, Laura Morel and Eli Murray write:
    Police come to shoo away panhandlers, referee parking disputes and check on foul-mouthed teenagers. They are called to arrest the man who drinks a 98-cent iced tea without paying and capture the customer who joyrides on a motorized shopping cart. The calls eat up hours of officers’ time. They all start at one place: Walmart. Law enforcement logged nearly 16,800 calls in one year to Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis. That’s two calls an hour, every hour, every day. Local Walmarts, on average, generated four times as many calls as nearby Targets, the Times found. Many individual supercenters attracted more calls than the much larger WestShore Plaza mall. When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes. “They’re a huge problem in terms of the amount of time that’s spent there,” said Tampa police Officer James Smith, who specializes in retail crime. “We are, as a department, at the mercy of what they want to do.”
    Police, facing budget cuts, are fighting back.
    Some overworked agencies have demanded that Walmart make changes. The police chief in Beech Grove, Ind., once deemed the local Walmart a nuisance and threatened it with fines of up to $2,500 for every small shoplifting call. About three months later, calls had fallen by almost two-thirds. [Emphasis mine, JH] “At what point do you say, this one individual is taking enough resources that it is interfering with other functions?” said Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina law professor and former Tallahassee police officer. “There are other jobs that we could be doing, and we need to change the way that we respond.” In Port Richey, population 2,700, the department’s handful of patrol officers fielded more than 450 calls in a year from the one Walmart in its jurisdiction, nearly three times as many as their next busiest commercial location, a WaWa gas station. Those calls led to about 200 arrests. In August, a Walmart employee called the department after a 33-year-old man stole a $6.39 electric toothbrush. The officer arrived in three minutes, talked to a Walmart employee, arrested the man, and then made the 19-mile trip to the Land O’Lakes jail. After finishing the paperwork, the officer was free to take another call. Total elapsed time: 2 ½ hours. Port Richey Assistant Chief William Ferguson calculated that the arrests chewed up nearly 500 hours of officer time, at a department that sometimes has only two officers on patrol. That doesn’t include all the other calls that didn’t lead to arrests.
    Maybe if Walmart stopped making all those tax-deductible donations and channeled the funds toward making stores less dependent upon tax-payer funded security, the police could focus on serious crime instead of fiddling time away over $3 thefts. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    IF ONLY WALMART CONTROLLED THE MESSAGE…

    May 11th, 2016
    Filed under: Nazi T-Shirt,Public Relations,Wal-Marting Across America,Working Families For Walmart
    The wet dream of any individual in the public arena, or any corporation desirous of only good press, is to own a media outlet that people trust: think NBC and General Electric or Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. Over the years Walmart has attempted to broadcast a friend vibe, but that hasn't always worked as in the cases of Walmarting Across America and Working Families For Walmart. The Bentonvile Behemoth doesn't give up, however.
    At some point last year, Walmart’s senior director Chad Mitchell noticed that the only way the world’s biggest company spoke to its customers was through a stale website that was only updated once or twice a year. That’s a problem for anyone, but doubly for Walmart as it deals with persistent brand problems: Walmart routinely ranks at the bottom of the retail sector when it comes to reputation, mostly due to reports of underpaying its workers, relying on goods from China and driving mom-and-pop stores out of business. “A static corporate website doesn’t do much to foster a conversation,” said Mitchell. What was required was a full-on messaging blitz.
    Now there's an image that I bet Mitchell is going to want to roll back real fast. Can anyone think of a positive image associated with the word blitz? Too historical? How about this take on blitz? Still not local enough? Then there's this... Back to the wordsmiths, and while you're there, think about the fall out from this episode in public relations. Good luck with that. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart
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    WALMART OUT SHINES THE HEAVENS…

    May 10th, 2016
    Filed under: Citizen Groups,Despoilment,Energy,Environment,Western U.S.
    walmart pagosa 160510 I attended Colorado State University back in 1975 and I have fond memories of the brilliant night skies once you got away from the light pollution of Fort Collins. Seeing those stars gets more difficult with each coming year and, some residents of Pagosa Springs believes, each coming Walmart. A Walmart parking lot is a brightly lit place, as it should be, for the security of customers, employees and the store itself. The level of light pollution produced, however, can be extremely annoying if you happen to live adjacent to, or across the street from the store. Residents in Pagosa Springs, Colorado are very annoyed. Pagosa Springs Daily Editor Bill Hudson writes in Town Council Set to Hear Walmart Appeal Tomorrow:
    Back in the days of the Great Recession — back when Pagosa governments were laying off employees, and local businesses were wondering if they’d be able to remain in business — the world’s largest retail corporation, Wal-Mart Inc., filed a building permit application with the Town of Pagosa Springs, in hopes of opening a 93,000 square foot store in the Aspen Village subdivision, across the highway from Pinon Lake. The application was approved, after considerable public debate and controversy, on August 21, 2012. The store opened officially on April 22, 2015, and many of us have been running our credit cards through the Wal-Mart scanners ever since — while remaining blissfully unaware that something might be amiss with Wal-Mart’s exterior lighting. Before the store had even opened its doors, however, residential neighbors living to the south of the new store had begun to complain about (possibly illegal) lighting glare emanating from numerous light fixtures mounted on and around the building. Petitions and letters were submitted to the Town, suggesting that Wal-Mart Inc. had failed to meet Land Use and Development Code “dark sky” and “light trespass” requirements.
    Pagosa Springs town council has taken up the challenge:
    Due to the challenges with the recently completed Tractor Supply Company Store parking lot lights, prior to the issuance of the WM building permit, the Town Planning Director [James Dickhoff] discussed the proposed LED lighting Fixtures for the parking lot with Mr. Ryan James of Galloway, expressing concern over the visible light source issues the Town experienced at Tractor Supply. Mr. Ryan James expressed that the parking lot light fixtures designated would meet the Town’s standards because of the new lighting technologies being used and the back shields that are used in the actual fixture. The Town Planning Director reminded Mr. Ryan James that the Town would inspect the lights for compliance with the LUDC visible light source regulations once installed. In January 2015, The Planning Director conducted three physical site inspections, specifically to inspect the installed exterior parking lot lights. The Director inspected the installed lighting in accordance with the approved illumination plan, as to location number of pole/fixtures, height of poles and visible light source. During these inspections, the visible light source was determined to be non-complying with the Town’s [Land Use and Development Code] regarding visible light source.
    Hudson has been covering Walmart in his home much better than most. There's a lot to read there. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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    WALMART HAS ANOTHER ASK FOR VENDORS…

    May 9th, 2016
    Filed under: Amazon,Vendors
    When Walmart needs to slash costs the Bentonvile Behemoth turns first to the serfs who till the fields vendors that supply product for the company's shelves. Why divert any of the stockholders' profits when others can be made to pay? Why indeed. In the ongoing struggle with Amazon for online parity, if not dominance, Walmart has an ask: develop, pay for and give us for free, web content about your products. Sounds like The Huffington Post. Robbie Neiswanger, reporting in Suppliers told by Wal-Mart: Get Web-wise for ArkansasOnline writes:
    Eric Howerton has a good understanding of what Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to accomplish with its call for suppliers to provide data and website content on all items sold in its stores for use at Walmart.com. Howerton, the chief executive officer of retail-marketing firm WhyteSpyder, is hopeful that suppliers for the Bentonville-based retailer can understand it as well. "Wal-Mart is tearing down the Berlin Wall---so to speak---between the store and dot-com," Howerton said. "This is serious business." It's a message Howerton tried to emphasize as his Fayetteville-based company hosted an April 27 conference in Bentonville, less than a week after Wal-Mart informed noncompliant suppliers that they had until the end of this month to provide the retailer with material like pictures, videos and product descriptions. The "Store Assortment Online" initiative is part of Wal-Mart's ongoing efforts to create a seamless shopping experience for customers and, according to Howerton and others, represents a big opportunity for suppliers as the retail landscape changes. No longer should they think of Walmart.com as a separate entity reflecting only a small percentage of their sales, according to Howerton.
    Go back and reread that sentence. Did a shiver run down your back? That advice, along with the earlier create a seamless shopping experience for customers; seamless like the boundary between an amoeba and a bit of food, do have a certain someone just stepped on my grave quality, no? Make no mistake, becoming a supplier of Walmart can make a company successful. That success, however, comes with Faustian costs. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.
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