Saturday, November 29, 2008

Walmart Wounds

On Black Friday, one Walmart worker died from a shopping stampede. Seriously!

"In the first, a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in a rush of thousands of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, store at 5 a.m., police said."

Really, if there was going to be a death over merchandise, does it shock you that Walmart is the venue? One of the interesting things about being a writer in this day and age is that bloggers (like what I'm doing now) will link and comment to other stories. I wrote for the State Press at Arizona State University during the summer 2006. I wrote about two experiences I had at Walmart. Sure I was a big tongue-in-cheek, but it was an accurate representation of my experience. After writing the column, I got a bunch of emails telling me how funny the story was, how inaccurate it was, how cool I was, how nerdy I was. These emails were from all over the country. It wasn't until I did a google search and noticed that an anti Walmart website linked the story. While I don't agree with most of Walmart's policies on virtually everything, I don't consider myself anti Walmart.

Looking back, here is one email I got in regards to the story:

"loved your piece on walmart. i happen to work at the one on mckellips and greenfield and know that you dont know how right you really are about the place. i stock shelves overnight and see the freakshow on a daily basis. last night was a prime example - it started with a crazy man out in the parking lot harassing customers. was he on drugs or was off his meds? unknown, but he was loud and irrational. i guess he was making so much noise that no one noticed the dead body by the front door. no, really, i shit you not here. an employee was found dead behind a planter when one of my colleagues went out for a smoke break at midnight. rumor is that he offed himself after he got off of work, the revolver lying on the ground next to his cooling corpse being the prime evidence thereof. but wait, thers more! as the police, the police SWAT team, the fire department, and the entire walmart management team is standing around scratching their heads, a meth-head starts tweaking hard right in front of them. this particular lady was (literally) bouncing off of walls and sales counters while rearranging items on shelves when the police noticed that something was possibly amiss with her. so they then areested her and her friend (who was also higher than the proverbial kite and was running around the store filling up shopping carts).
so there you have it, just another night of crazies, drug addicts, and self-induced gunshot wounds at walmart. be glad you got out alive!"

And on the completely opposite side of the spectrum:

"I seriously doubt there was one, much less two, attractive females in your "group". IF that had been the case, you would not have been at Wal-Mart for Scrabble. Your article draws a shadowy picture of a bored geek whom, having nobody to play with, tries to make himself feel better by picking on imaginary inferior creatures. More shadowy still, you probably are trying to sell WMT short and so are angry at 'the market', not the shoppers. Wow, you really seem to have hit a nerve (mine) with that article - maybe because I shop Wal-Mart and am long on the stock. :) So if that was your goal, good for you. But that article portrays, no - betrays - you, the writer, as an immature, superficial, non-substantive idiot. But what do I know? More than you - sometimes that's enough."

It's stories like the Black Friday one that just reaffirms my story. Though I do agree with one point from the reader who nailed me in the email. The story was immature. I did go for the jokes. Sure, it was easy, but what did we learn from the story that we didn't already know?

While I was google searching for the anti Walmart link, apparently another blog published my story.

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