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2007-12-25
North Pole, China. A Christmas Message From Shenzhen Province

No, it's not a geographic mistake. According to our Global Positioning System, which we purchased at a Big Box store recently -- -- but now its broken -- Santa's workshop in the North Pole is actually in Shenzhen China, where most of the world's toys are made. Santa's elves are Asian teenagers who work 16 hours a day, and his sleigh is an 18 wheeler barreling down Route 66 with the words "We Sell For Less" over its brake lights. According to the national news media in America, bargain-addicted shoppers "in the waning hours before Christmas," gave the nation's retailers a last-minute "surge of shopping" (Americans like that word: surge) that helped meet their modest sales goals this year. American shoppers, already setting records for credit card debt, went out and purchased $9.36 billion worth of goods on Saturday alone! We had an extra full weekend before Christmas this year, and last night -- Christmas Eve -- was expected to be a bigger shopping day than in previous years, because many employers gave workers the day off! The unpredictable swings of the market were good news for Wal-Mart. The Associated Press said that "financial concerns clearly affected how consumers behaved throughout the season, forcing more to trade down to discounters such as Wal-Mart." What could be more patriotic than trading down? We do it when seeking political leaders -- why not do it when searching for cheap Chinese underwear? For the past several years, Sprawl-Busters has featured a Christmas wish to Wal-Mart from Dee Brantley, of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Dee calls herself a "Prisoner of Wal-Mart" (POW) because she has a Wal-Mart supercenter in her back yard. Dee's home has dropped 28% in value over the past four years since the wooded area behind her property was clear-cut for a big box store. Here's Dee's 2005 Xmas greeting to her unwanted neighbor. To avoid the excessive repetition of this song, we jump right to the last day of the lyrics:

Wal-Mart's 12 Days of Christmas

On the Twelfth day of Christmas
My Wal-Mart gave to me,
Twelve diesels idling,
Eleven workers screaming,
Ten forklifts beeping,
Nine 18-wheelers,
Eight vendors crashing,
Seven sirens wailing,
Six cruisers flashing,
Five squealing breaks...
Four car alarms
Three drug busts,
Two loading docks,
And the lights glaring constantly.

What you can do: If you've been to that big box store with the everyday low prices this past week, you know that Santa has just returned from China with a sleigh-full of special gifts made in sweatshops for you and your loved ones! If you think the spiritual side of Christmas has been buried by shoppers -- the worst is yet to come. Analysts say the week after Christmas will "determine the holiday season." A full picture of how the holiday season fared for Big Box retailers won't be known until mid January, when the business media will focus once again on the final December same-store sales figure reports. Over the next few days, millions of Americans will take their Wal-Mart gift cards to the Big Box, seeking redemption. Regardless of the financial status of the American shopper, we know that the spiritual status of the American psyche has hit an everyday, low mark. The meaning of Christmas can be found in Aisle 12. The Story of Christmas has been voided of its religious content, and replaced with a Wal-Mart gift card. Next season, leave a little note for Santa by the chimney with some cookies: "Whatever gifts you bring me, don't bring them from Wal-Mart or Target." Merry Christmas to Wal!










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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