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2003-05-31
Billings, MT. Wal-Mart Apologizes for Rude Remark At Competitor's Dying Store.

This is one of those little vignettes about the Big Company that speaks volumes about what's really behind the Mr. Smiley image. In the Billings (Montana) Gazette recently, a columnist named Jan Falstad, recounted a story of what happened on closing day at the Smith's grocery store. First understand that a Wal-Mart superstore opened in Billings Heights in January of 2000. Roughly three years later, the County Market shut down (Feb, 2003) and this month, the Smith's grocery store also closed its doors, and threw 48 full and part-time employees out of work. On the same day that the Smith workers got the axe, three Wal-Mart "male managers" visited the Smith's grocery, and walked around the store for awhile. Then, according to a Smith's employee: "When they were going out the door, they were high-fiving each other." On their way out, the Wal-Mart 'associates' said "Two down, and one to go." According to the Smith's worker, "they said it really loud." A Wal-Mart spokesman in Arkansas, when contacted by Gazette columnist Falstad, confirmed that the incident had happened. "I spoke with the store manager," the Wal-Mart official said, "and he said that had been the case. What a few Wal-Mart employees said doesn't represent the store. If that was said off the cuff, we do apologize for that." Falstad spoke with Smith employees who had been laid off, and faced an uncertain job future. "One decision for former Smith's employees is easy," Falstad quoted one worker as saying: "We all just vowed that we'd never shop in Wal-Mart, ever."

What you can do: The number of Billings grocery stores is dropping like rotten fruit. To its own workers, Wal-Mart tells the truth of their corporate culture. "At Wal-Mart, we make dust," said the head of Wal-Mart's discount store division. "Our competitors eat dust." Wal-Mart today controls nearly 20% of the grocery sales in America. That's a lot of dust to leave behind.










 
 
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