I admit I added the first part of the title to take advantage of the trends for today. I will not apologize. I just had to grab your attention. If you are a Wal-Mart shopper, shame on you and this blog won’t go over real big with you. If you dislike Wal-Mart as much as I do, you’re going to love this. If you are a conservationist, as I am, you might be sad but I suspect you’ll have to chuckle in spite of yourself.
Thousands of migratory birds crashed into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Utah. Wow. This could be a message from Mother Nature. “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature by buying so much from China that you could be responsible for the trade deficit or for buying from manufacturers accused of child labor violations.” Of course Newt sees nothing wrong with that. Is Mother pissed because even though Wal-Mart employs over two million people the corporation provides health care for less than one half of the employees while leaving the rest to fend for themselves? Have the prayers of suppliers forced to lower prices to the point of sending themselves into bankruptcy been answered? Hey, what about the prayers of all the ex-employees of the monolithic monster that have suffered from sexual abuse, racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, and every other “ism” you can think of? One of my personal reasons for hating the place, in addition to the above, is the lack of any real concern about the environment and those of us on this chocking, resource depleted rock. I’m not fooled by the Wal-Mart “green”rhetoric. It’s all public relations. Even if they became the greenest corporation in America I would still hate them because of so many other reasons but back to
the bird deaths.
Utah is not an isolated event. If you type bird and fish deaths in your search bar, you’ll find some interesting stuff. Two million fish were found belly up in Chesapeake Bay. Dead birds fell from the skies in Louisiana, Arkansas and Kansas. The United States is not the only place experiencing this weirdness. Massive dead fish and bird sightings have occurred in Brazil. In Italy hundreds of turtle doves croaked en masse. If you find this intriguing, check out The European Union Times.
Most of us are not buying the explanations being given like fireworks took down the birds on New Year’s Eve or cold weather is responsible for the massive fish deaths. The last one might work if all the fish died in cold climates but that just isn’t the case. Bottom line is no one knows for sure why this is occurring. Of course some fundamentalist Christians might think the “rapture” started and through some godly mistake they were left behind. Where are Muldar and Skully when you need them?
Frankly, I relish the thought that Mother Nature is pointing a finger at Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart a bio-hazard, an abomination, a travesty, a symbol of the worst American consumerism. After nine quarters of declining sales, Wal-Mart earnings rose during this pre-holiday season. I find this appalling! Maybe Mother Nature shares in my dismay. Black Friday injuries were up at Wal-Mart because of consuming nut cases stampeding, pushing shoving and in one case pepper spraying other shoppers! What is wrong with this picture? Did Mother allow the bird suicides to put an exclamation point on her complaint? She may also be weighing in on the profit margin contribution made possible because Wal-Mart cut healthcare benefits to even more employees. In October Wal-Mart announced it would no longer provide health coverage for new hires who work less than 24 hours per week. You can bet that the number of employees working these shorter hours increased. None of these cost cutting revenue increasing measures prevented the Walton Family (48% owners of Wal-Mart) from sinking 1.2 billion dollars into Crystal Bridges Museum. One could argue that the art museum is a good thing. I won’t contest that but 1.2 billion could have gone a long way to help the employees at Wal-Mart to have better wages or at least a little help with healthcare. There are sometimes in history when even art needs to take a back seat to people.
Closer to home here in Bronzeville a Wal-Mart is slated to open at 47th and Cottage Grove. Talk around the ‘hood is that an “urban” store is planned. As far as I am concerned a Wal-Mart is a Wal-Mart. Esthetically the smaller,urban version beats the hell out of the BIG BOX monstrosities but that is as much credit as I am willing to give it. The simple fact is that Wal-Mart kills neighborhood, locally owned and operated business. In a recent meeting with south side Alderman Pat Dowell several community members voiced disdain at the thought of having yet another Wal-Mart at 39th and State Street. Roundy’s was slated to be the cap stone so to speak, at that spot. Roundy’s management attended the meeting and offered up an explanation as to why they would be building their new store at 16th and Canal as opposed to 39th and State. According to them the partner businesses that were to build on the site backed out so the deal fell through (huh). You explain it to me and then we’ll both know. Whatever the case many of us Bronzeville residents are not happy with the thought of a Wal-Mart. We understand that Alderman Dowell wants to get something there but puhleese no Wal-Mart. To that end a group of diehard Wal-Mart haters have contacted Glen Ford, owner of Praxis Markets. Ford believes in buying as much as can be supplied locally from local sources. That’s a novel idea when you include his philosophy of creating a market that is more like a community center, complete with Wi-Fi, disguised as a grocery. This is no Wal-Mart and that’s good. Here’s hoping Mr. Ford reaches PatDowell sooner rather than later. As a matter of fact, Mother can dump a few zillion tons of dead fish from the sky onto Wal-Marts everywhere. That should get everyone’s attention including Muldar and Skully.
P.S. I just love the web! There is a website specifically dedicated to keeping a critical eye on
Wal-Mart called, oddly enough, Wal-MartWatch.