Wal-Mart Did What?

june 10, 2005

Should Wal-Mart be hated? Probably not, but they are making it hard not to hate them. But, should you avoid them? Yeah. The company has suffered from a well-deserved bad PR image for a while now, and it doesn't look like it will get any better -- especially with the snooty attitude that it continues to project. Last month, in the Arizona Daily Sun (with readership in the Flagstaff area), Wal-Mart ran an ad in the paper that featured a photo of a Nazi book-burning. The text for the ad criticized government-led opposition to expansion and compared it to government-led censorship. Wal-Mart does not deny that they authorized the controversial ad. What the hell are they thinking authorizing an ad like this? It is probably the most hypocritical ad ever by a large corporation -- Wal-Mart censors (or forces music companies to censor) music that it sells, why would they go crying about government censorship? If you complain about censorship, then you better start selling music with Parental Advisories on them. Otherwise, shut up. Second, when Wal-Mart was asked about the photo, they denied that they knew the historical background on the photo. Yea, right. Don't insult our intelligence with this "We didn't know" excuse. I was taught that if I made a mistake, I should own up to it. Playing dumb does not mean that you are free from the mistake -- and it will probably make it worse as people feel insulted that you think you can actually pass that kind of excuse off on us. Wal-Mart knew exactly what the historical background of the photo was and chose to run the ad anyway. Don't try to play the "I didn't know" card on us. Fess up. Wal-Mart's PR department is not helping out the cause of the company. And as competitors like Target come along with squeeky clean (and cooler) images, Wal-Mart is only going to start losing more customers. I always wondered what would take down Wal-Mart, I never dreamed that it would be sheer PR incompetence that would be the thing. I will enjoy watching as Wal-Mart continues to dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.