Archive for the ‘Al Norman’ Category

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Springsteen Should Donate Wal-Mart Profits To Employee Free Choice Act Campaign

February 4, 2009

al normanAl Norman • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
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Four weeks ago, I figured out something that took Bruce Springsteen months to conclude: it’s a mistake to do business with Wal-Mart.

This week, Springsteen had to do a little “shuffle” of his own to explain his strange consort with the company that puts profits ahead of people.

In this space (Dec. 28th ITunes, Wal-Mart, Springsteen Killing Off the Independents) I wrote: “The Boss has signed on with the Retail Boss, much to the chagrin of his many fans, who saw Springsteen as the voice of the disenfranchised. Now he’s just another Walton commodity. Born in the U.S.A. meets China-Mart.”

It is jarring to see the Greatest Anti-Union Corporation promoting Springsteen’s Greatest Hits CD as a “Wal-Mart exclusive” (for $10–you save $2.98). Now Springsteen is apologizing to his fans for having “dropped the ball on it.” But until he “drops the money” from this deal, Springsteen’s regret doesn’t go far enough.

“It was a mistake,” Springsteen told the New York Times. “Our batting average is usually very good, but we missed that one. Fans will call you on that stuff, as it should be.” In response, Wal-Mart went right to the heart of the problem, anticipating the backlash Springsteen would cause: “We are proud of the good jobs, benefits and career opportunities we provide to more than 1.4 million U.S. associates who choose to work at Wal-Mart and serve our customers every day.”

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Cops Blame Wal-Mart For Trampling Death

January 5, 2009

 al normanAl Norman • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
more in NEWS & ANALYSIS
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The police in Nassau County, New York released a report this week that clearly lays the blame for a Black Friday trampling death on Wal-Mart.

The worker’s death on November 28th took place at a Valley Stream, Long Island Wal-Mart store. According to Newsday, which says the plan was released December 31st, the police report suggests that Wal-Mart needs to be much better prepared than it was when bargain hunters took the life of a temp worker at the retailer’s store.

Nassau County Police want Wal-Mart to plan thoroughly, arrange for efficient crowd control and engage in clear communication, to prevent another tragedy. Wal-Mart would not comment on the plan, but told Newsday, “We look forward to continuing to work with law enforcement to make our safety measures even stronger in the future.”

The latest report is the result of private discussions that took place in mid December at Nassau police headquarters, attended by 75 representatives from area department stores and malls. The retailers and the police were under pressure to demonstrate that some reforms would be made in the wake of the death of Jdimytai Damour of Queens, New York, who was called “a seasonal worker” byNewsday. Wal-Mart officials were at the closed-door meeting at the Nassau police station.

In their report, Nassau police said they will respond and assist when needed, “but the responsibility for the security and control of these sales events rests with the store. Store administrators should never market a sales event without having a plan, and the proper resources to manage it.” The police also note, “history has shown that large-scale events can turn from an orderly gathering to chaos as the doors open. Ultimately the goal is to provide a safe and comfortable shopping experience for patrons.” This requires “cooperation from the business owners, mall security, contract security employees and law enforcement. These special sales pose unique challenges to the business owner, mall owner and those who are charged with providing security for the event.”
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ITunes, Wal-Mart, Springsteen Killing Off the Independents

December 31, 2008

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Just after Christmas, my daughter Winter took a bag of 30 used CDs to our local independent music store in Greenfield, Massachusetts to see what she could sell the lot for. The store owner offered her a very low price, and when my daughter expressed her surprise at the offer, the merchant angrily threw the CDs back at her and shouted: “I’m losing my store. I’m not going to be here next year!”

The next day I came across the tale of Tape Town, a music store in Morganton, North Carolina. Owner Roy Lowdermilk probably thought that locating his store next to the Wal-Mart in Morganton was a great idea.

The Wal-Mart on Burkemont Avenue in Morganton is probably the largest retail store in this community of just over 17,000 people. But Lowdermilk’s store, Tape Town, never benefited from its location in the shadow of the giant retailer. According to the Morganton News Herald, Tape Town turned off the sound for good on December 27th.

Lowdermilk and his wife opened up their music store in 1972, sixteen years before Wal-Mart came to town. But now their store is dark. “It was a combination of things,” Lowdermilk told the newspaper. He blamed the sinking economy, and the internet as the two main reasons for his loss of sales. One customer in Tape Town told the News Herald that when he couldn’t find music at Tape Town, he didn’t bother going next door to Wal-Mart. Another shopper said he liked shopping at Tape Town over big box stores because it catered to his musical tastes, had reasonable prices and great service. “They’re willing to help,” the customer said. “If I can’t find it here, they’ll help us find it somewhere.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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More Mayhem and Death at Wal Mart

December 11, 2008

al-1Al NormanOperation Itch Contributor

Florida resident Patrick Donovan, 53, died over $393 in Wal-Mart merchandise, lying face down in the giant retailer’s parking lot last week. The media reported the exact amount of Wal-Mart goods Donovan had allegedly shop-lifted—so we can quantify the value of this man’s life. 

In a reversal of the death of a 34 year old Wal-Mart worker last week under the feet of aggressive Wal-Mart shoppers, Donovan’s death in South Carolina—three days after the Long Island incident—was at the hands of three Wal-Mart workers, who wrestled the alleged shoplifter to the ground, where the man died.

walmartThe Wal-Mart workers and one bystander held Donovan down, while one leaned on his back and another held down his arms and head. The police report says they told Donovan to stop fighting, and asked witnesses to call 911. By the time Donovan had stopped struggling, he had died.

“There will be no charges pressed,” a spokeswoman for the city of North Myrtle Beach told the Sun News. Authorities said results from an autopsy in the case could take “a few months.” In the meantime, officials simply concluded, “There is no criminal act.” In the words of the County Coroner’s office, “As far as I am concerned there is no case here.” The family of Patrick Donovan is likely to conclude otherwise, and their lawyer might like to review the court records of one Stacy Driver.
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