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1999-12-25
Manchester, CT.A Wal-Mart Christmas Story.

Several days before Christmas, Theresa Delzatto, a severely disabled woman who is paralyzed from the neck down, received a check for $570 from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. If this is all you knew of the story, you might think it was just another of those sweet stories you see on Wal-Mart TV commercials. But, no, there is a darker history behind this particular Wal-Mart check. According to the Hartford Courant, on December 3rd, Theresa Delzatto boarded a van with a chair lift for her motorized wheelchair, and went to Wal-Mart to do her Christmas shopping. Once in the store, the Wal-Mart Courtesy Desk assigned an 18 year old Wal-Mart "associate" to help Delzatto shop. The Wal-Mart employee used Delzatto's debit card to make her in-store purchases -- but she never returned the card. Instead, with the help of her 17 year old cousin who also worked at Wal-Mart, the two Wal-Martians "went on a spending spree" with Delzatto's debit card, debiting up more than $430 on Delzatto's bank account. Delzatto only has a monthly income of $500, which comes from her Social Security Disability check. She did not learn of the card's theft until several of her checks -- including her rent check -- bounced. Delzatto found herself running out of money for food. Delzatto turned to Margaret Drumgoole, a victim advocate for the Salvation Army, to help her get her money back. On December 16th, Drumgoole contacted Wal-Mart, but she told reporters later that the retailer was slow to respond. Drumgoole then turned to the media to try and draw attention to what had happened to Delzatto. Only after media reports of the incident started to appear, and with public pressure mounting -- on December 22nd Wal-Mart decided to cut a check for Delzatto. Six days after Drumgoole brought the pathetic story of their employees' actions to Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart check was enough to cover the lost money, and the bank fees for the checks that bounced. Back at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, AR, an apology was given to Delzatto through the media. "We apologize if there was any delay in responding to her," one Wal-Mart spokesman told the Courant. "We really want to help this person and make it right."

What you can do: The aftermath of this story is that the police have arrest warrants out on the two Wal-Mart employees who financially wiped out this disabled thirty-five year old woman. In addition, more than 30 people have called to offer to donate money to help Delzatto. For herself, Delzatto has said that any money she receives above what she lost, she will donate to the Salvation Army's victim assistance program to help other people who suffer what she went through. The next time you see one of those "feel good" commercials about how Wal-Mart helps the community, remember the Xmas story of Theresa Delzatto. How could Wal-Mart ever repay Delzatto for the suffering, aggravation and embarassment she suffered at the hands of their employees, and the delayed justice she sufferd at the hands of Wal-Mart management? Will $570 cover it? Peace on Earth, goodwill towards shoppers.










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

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