Last Friday the Mississippi State University Reflector published an Op-Ed piece by Melissa Harper under the headline: Wal-Mart hassle is avoidable. Harper opined about the hassles of shopping in a mega-box. Among her observations, she wrote:
If you are lucky enough to find everything you needed, including 100 things you didn’t need, you head to the checkout. Big mistake. You are now surrounded by 45 families and 12 trashy couples who are arguing whether to buy Miller Lite in a can or bottle.
Big mistake is right.
Nancy Wall (no relation, I’m sure) let Harper have it with it (original paragraph breaks were retained) both barrels this morning.
In regards to [Melissa Harper's] recent article in the Reflector “Wal-Mart Hassle is Avoidable,” I took your opinion as a personal attack on Wal-Mart, elderly people, mothers or parents with children and defamation of character of people in general. Your article, or shall I say opinion, was very extreme and uncalled for. People shop at Wal-Mart because they choose to, not because they are somehow forced to shop there; it is a personal choice. Wal-Mart does not discriminate because of age, gender, race or religion. As you have pointed out, the woman with five children, the man with the case of Miller Lite and as you have also stated the “trashy” people, spend their hard-earned dollars the way they choose and are just as good as the dollars you spend. Wal-Mart appreciates their patronage as well as yours. Now, for the parking lot issue, that was once again your opinion and obviously no research was done to back up your comments. Here are the facts: Wal-Mart had to seek litigation against the construction company that originally built the parking lot because of poor workmanship. The pot holes came about because of the substandard construction of the lot. It took approximately two years in litigation to settle this claim. New construction was begun in the summer while the majority of the students were gone, hoping to be completed before school began. Unfortunately, a small portion still remains to be completed, but the problem is being corrected. Wal-Mart has its problems just like any other retailer, and when these problems arise there are avenues that can be used to address them. Talking to management, calling 1-800-WALMART or requesting a form (Letter to the president) to fill out at the service desk, which is required to be responded to. As for the Door Greeters’ job, it was created for elderly or retired people who wanted to work and supplement their income and insurance. I am very confident when you get that age you might understand. The reason your receipt was checked is because (1) that is a part of their job and (2) there are people who would rather steal merchandise than pay for it. They do stop a lot of merchandise that has not been paid for from going out the door. How many times have you shopped at Wal-Mart? Has there not been any occasion in which you had a positive experience or have all of them been negative? Was your written opinion an attempt at humor at the expense of the local Wal-Mart? As a long time employee of the local Wal-Mart, I personally do not see the humor in your article. It is very obvious that you are not aware of the many things we do for our community. Would Starkville be better off without Wal-Mart? I don’t think so. We appreciate all of our customers and are very sorry that you personally had a bad experience while shopping at our Wal-Mart. But if you dislike shopping with us so much, as your opinion clearly stated, you do have the option to shop elsewhere. You certainly have the right to your opinion as do I. Unfortunately, that right also allows, and in this day and time promotes, unprofessional personal attacks on people, businesses and oftentimes anything else that can be debated. I have been an employee for over 32 years and also a customer. There are things about Wal-Mart that I don’t like, but overall the good outweighs the bad and I feel very fortunate to live in a community that has a local Wal-Mart with home town people who have a good place to work.
I have no doubt of why they call it Starkville.