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Thread: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Wal-Mart knows how to play hardball.

    http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/...507240314/1020

    Here's why you can't buy the News Journal at Wal-Mart
    Randy Hammer
    @PensacolaNewsJournal.com
    You can't buy the Pensacola News Journal at Wal-Mart anymore.

    The store ordered us off their property, told us to come pick up our newspaper racks and clear out.

    So we did.

    A few people called last week, some even wrote letters to the editor, and wanted to know why they couldn't buy the newspaper at Wal-Mart in the days after Hurricane Dennis.

    Some managers at Wal-Mart didn't appreciate a column Mark O'Brien wrote last month about the downside of the cheap prices that Sam Walton's empire has brought to America. We all pay a little less, and sometimes a lot less, at the grocery store and department store because of Mr. Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.

    Mr. Walton developed a brilliant business model that allowed him to undercut the prices of his competitors. He made sure that the blue jeans his store sold were cheaper than the jeans the store down the road sold. And if some store had a two-for-one special on boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Wal-Mart would have a three-for-one special.

    Leave it to old Mark, whose column runs four days a week in this newspaper, to find a downside to this. Actually, it wasn't Mark, but Thomas Friedman, who wrote "The World is Flat," which happens to be a best seller right now.

    A downside

    I don't mean to rub salt in a wound, but here's what Mark wrote:

    "I like Wal-Mart prices the same as the next shopper, but there's a downside, too. Many Wal-Mart employees lack the fringe benefits and insurance that makes the difference between existence and a good quality of life. Yet, we customers pay a surcharge from a different pocket subsidizing health care for Wal-Mart employees who can't afford it."

    Mark then described how Friedman's book pointed out that more than 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees are in a Georgia health-care program, which costs the state's taxpayers nearly $10 million a year. Mark also pointed out that a New York Times report found that 31 percent of the patients at a North Carolina hospital were Wal-Mart employees on Medicaid.

    Mark's column really wasn't about Mr. Walton's store, but about Pensacola and how we're becoming a Wal-Mart kind of town, "cheap and comfy on the surface, lots of unhappiness and hidden costs underneath."

    That was the point Mark was trying to make.

    Bob Hart, one of the upper managers for the Wal-Marts in the area, called me and said he didn't like Mark's column, didn't like a lot of Mark's columns.

    I told Mr. Hart that I don't particularly like some of Mark's columns either. Like the one he wrote about charter government, which Escambia County had put on the ballot for voters to consider last year. Mark said the charter-government proposal was a mess and that people would be fools to vote for it.

    Mark speaks his mind

    I plain didn't like that column, especially since the week before I had written something that said charter government was the best idea since sliced bread. I am Mark's boss, you know. He ought to have given me a little more respect than that.

    But Mark speaks his mind. And the truth be told, that's what he gets paid to do, even though it kind of hurt me when nearly 70 percent of the voters sided with Mark and rejected charter government.

    Mr. Hart, however, said he and his stores couldn't tolerate a newspaper that would print the opinions of someone who was as mean and negative as Mark O'Brien. But, you know, Mark's not nearly as ornery as that left-wing rabble-rouser Molly Ivins, whose column the newspaper also publishes. At any rate, Mr. Hart said he wanted the newspaper to get its racks off his lots. But he also said that if I fired Mark, we could talk about continuing to sell the newspaper at his stores.

    Wal-Mart is a company that wraps itself in red, white and blue.

    I might understand it if Wal-Mart said I ought to fire Mark because what he said wasn't accurate. But that isn't the case. Mark accurately reported that there are 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees in a health-care program that is costing Georgia taxpayers nearly $10 million a year.

    Shouldn't we talk about that?

    When we stop listening to people on the other side of the fence, when we try to silence and even punish people for thinking differently than we do and raising facts and figures we don't like, well, we won't be red, white and blue anymore.

    That's why Mark still has a job and you can't buy a Pensacola News Journal at Wal-Mart anymore.
    Last edited by Unassisted; 07-27-2005 at 08:17 AM. Reason: fixed spelling in title
    /r/reds

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    Member wally post's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    great story! Thanks Unassisted!!!

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    That story needs national circulation. Let it get enough coverage, with some heat on Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart may suddenly announce that Mr. Hart took his action without authorization from higher management, that the newspaper can come back, etc.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.
    Really?

    This story upsets me. And I'll put my money where my mouth is, and pass Wal-Mart as I travel an extra half-mile to Target next time I need to pick up diapers.

    Power of the Press.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
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    The Mad Monk Jaycint's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by zombie-a-go-go
    Really?

    This story upsets me. And I'll put my money where my mouth is, and pass Wal-Mart as I travel an extra half-mile to Target next time I need to pick up diapers.

    Power of the Press.
    Plus lots of hot chicks seem to shop at Target. At least the one in Florence. Just sayin...

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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.

    Yeah it's called exploiting economic advantage to hurt a small business.

    Wal-Mart uses similar strong-arm tactics on many American businesses(see Rubbermaid). I hardly think low-priced consumer goods is worth sending a lot of American jobs over to China so that they can be done without fair labor practices getting in the way or environmental protections. Not that you can expect a company like Wal-Mart to police itself but really the government should be cracking down on big business. Adam Smith must be rolling over in his grave.

    I'm glad the paper called Wal-Mart out and I think your post shows how badly our media is compromised by being heavily dependant on the commercial sector. In England, they at least always have the BBC which despite it's faults would not have to worry overly much about pleasing Wal-Mart or any other conglomerate.
    "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh" -Al Swearengen, Deadwood

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    That's how Wal-Mart operates--they're a bully. They demand the cheapest possible prices from their suppliers, or threaten to kick them off the shelves. Anyone who still has warm fuzzies about Wal-Mart and their "All-American" success story needs to read the aformentioned Friedman book, as well as "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

    Personally, I doubt this will have a great amount of affect on the Pensacola newspaper--people aren't going to stop reading it b/c they can't find it at Wal-Mart, they'll just pick it up some place else. This type of tactic isn't surprising at all--it's just how Wal-Mart conducts business.

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkin411
    Yeah it's called exploiting economic advantage to hurt a small business.

    Wal-Mart uses similar strong-arm tactics on many American businesses(see Rubbermaid).
    Vlasic, too. Wal-Mart practically put them out of business.

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    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    And a whole lot of other industry. I work in the packaging industry. An example is demanding their suppliers have practically no variance in the color of their packaging. The supplier is forced to demand highly critical quality in the printed product of their packaging, yet must demand a low cost to them for their product to be able to sell to Wal-Mart. Then those suppliers are forced to cut their costs both in labor and equipment, yet require a higher quality product that in and of itself costs more. Hundreds of dollars, even thousands can be spent trying to match a color that already matches by eye, yet must pass a computer reading test.
    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.
    You really don't want what you are describing here. In the world you speak of, the media should live in fear of big business and be afraid to report anything that could be detrimental to newspaper sales. Wal-Mart could be making people work for nothing and under your terms, a newspaper should not report it because Wal-mart might not sell their paper anymore.

    No thanks.
    If you're watchin' a parade, make sure you stand in one spot, don't follow it, it never changes. And if the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast-foward the parade. --Mitch Hedberg

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Locally we're not wanting them here thus we're doing something about it.

    http://nosellwoodwalmart.com/default.aspx

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    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retalition for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.
    Actually, newspapers make most of their money from ads rather than from sales, I believe. The more papers they sell, the more they charge for their ads.
    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
    -Todd Snider

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Actually, newspapers make most of their money from ads rather than from sales, I believe. The more papers they sell, the more they charge for their ads.
    Yes, but if no one is seeing the ads, you can't sell the ads for as much. Circulation determines advertising rates.
    If you're watchin' a parade, make sure you stand in one spot, don't follow it, it never changes. And if the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast-foward the parade. --Mitch Hedberg

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    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
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    Re: Wal-Mart Stops Selling Newspaper as Retaliation for Unflattering Newspaper Story

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Locally we're not wanting them here thus we're doing something about it.

    http://nosellwoodwalmart.com/default.aspx
    That's a good move on your part. Their corporations expand to smaller and more rural towns like a pervasive disease. They setup shop bragging about all of the jobs they create and the economic impact that they will have on the community through their corporate tax base.

    My father-in-law works at our local Sam's Club Discount Store and says that this corporate philosophy is mandated from the Bentonville home office--leaving no room for interpretation by their local/area level management people. Not only is their health insurance is a joke, but they basically steal overtime from their employees daily. I am told that their employees are forced to clock out at exactly eight hours (must be witnessed by a supervisor) and then the management proceeds to find another 1-2 hours worth of things for you to do under the "oh--just one more thing if you don't mind" category...
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY


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