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.”