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2000-12-17
Kent Island, MD. Wal-Mart's "Community Hotline"

In my book, "Slam-Dunking Wal-Mart", I describe the campaign tactics Wal-Mart uses when trying to lobby for a store in a local community. One of the classic Wal-Mart touches is to advertise a "Wal-Mart Hotline" to collect community "opinion" about their store. In the case of Kent Island, Maryland, the courts recently upheld the ruling of Queen Anne's County Commissioners that rejected a Wal-Mart supercenter. But obviously they couldn't translate that message back in Arkansas, so the company has advertised in today's papers a toll-free "Community Hotline". But before you get the chance to deliver your opinion about the store, you have to sit through Wal-Mart's "opinion" about their own superstore. Here's the recorded message Wal-Mart produced: "Welcome to the Wal-Mart community hotline. We want to thank you for calling to express your opinion about the proposed Wal-Mart at Kent Commons on Kent Island. A new Wal-Mart means more tax revenue for Queen Anne's county, which can be used to help schools, police and firefighters. Also, the new store will add many new jobs in our community. Everyday low prices,and a great selection of merchandise, make Wal-Mart a community favorite across America." They are so popular across America, that all it takes is a whisper of rumor about a superstore coming to stimulate a local citizens' group to form in opposition. As far as jobs and tax revenue, Wal-Mart means gross jobs and revenue, not net jobs and revenue. Once you minus out the jobs and revenues lost elsewhere in the community, there's not much "hot" to talk about on the Wal-Mart Hotline. I'm not sure the school committee, the Police Chief or the Fire Chief was asked to lend their cause to Wal-Mart's hotline, but they're mentioned as beneficiaries of a Wal-Mart store anyway. But why not give Wal-Mart a call today, and let them know your opinion? The toll-free number is 1-800-288-2706. Tell them you are a sprawl-buster, and you think their proposal to build a store on Kent Island, Maryland is so full of holes it belongs on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

What you can do: The number to call is 1-800-288-2706. It's a recorded message, so you will speak to no one live. Your call will be taped and reviewed by Wal-Mart employees. Think of the fun they'll have listening to the real opinions of Americans.










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

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