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Went with a friend so she could pick up her prescriptions at Sam's Club.

What was printed on the wall of the store were big, black letters, quoting Helen Walton, Sam's wife.

I usually don't gasp without provocation from my COPD, but the words on the wall were absolutely stunning. Until that moment, I had never triple-gasped. It was, to me, an olympic event.

Store security cameras have undoubtedly preserved my moment of WTF in all of it's glory. It sees me standing there looking up at the sign and having the identical parameters on my puss, as given the proverbial deer in the headlights.

Then, I started to chuckle. That turned into an hysterical vocal hog wallop, causing an immediate need for my nebulizer.

Impossible that any customer eyes within the store didn't focus on me. I was so flummoxed, I felt I was seeing myself from the sign itself and it was Dali surreal in its intensity.

Images in my mind began to flood in and make me feel despair and contempt. I envisioned evil spawn sucking up anything with a denomination printed on it, as it left a trail of plucked humanity in their wake.

Then an image of Silas Marner holding the leash of the evil spawn swamped my synapses and he drooled in ecstasy at the flow of green, while his eyes flashed with every clink of a coin on the teeth of the evil spawn.

Of course the employees continued their drone activities as required to keep their meager days pittance. Guess they've seen the sign too. Most likely too damn many times. I'd feel pretty dronish too, having to swallow those words every working moment and knowing it was hypocracy gone mad.

So, I finally began to edge back to the reality of the moment and said only to myself, Holy crap..

Oh, yeah. Here's those immortal words of total, gut-wrenching, cluelessness and I quote:

Giving Back Where Our Associates Live, Work and Play.
It's not what you gather in life, but what you scatter in life,  
that tells the kind of life you've lived
and the kind of person you are.  Helen Walton

My friend had obtained her purchase and found me standing there looking up. I pointed to the sign. Under my breath I said, "What you sowed was greed and scattered it among yourselves, Helen."

As my friend and I were leaving, we heard the loudspeaker announcement, "Clean up under Helen's quotation. Yeah, again."

Originally posted to Wendy's Wink on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:20 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was in a Sam's Club store in Sherman, TX (25+ / 0-)

    a few days ago. It was my first time in many years. As I was leaving I looked up the large wall space above the exit doors and there saw, in very large letters part of what you highlighted in your diary: It said: "It's not what you gather, but what you scatter" and it was attributed to Helen Walton. It was insulting. The tutorial tone, coming from a family that has "gathered" more wealth than some countries and, at the same time, mistreated American workers as a matter of routine, is indecent.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:39:24 AM PST

  •  Stopped shopping at WalMart..... (10+ / 0-)

    to protest their greed and abusive treatment of employees about 10 years ago.  The quote is probably referring to the stores giving some contributions to local charities, but I have my doubts about how much money they actually give away.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:45:11 AM PST

  •  Man defined by the ownership and dispersal of (7+ / 0-)

    things. It is the perspective of a person who has no sense of self and no intrinsic sense of worth. Man is defined by what he has, rather than what he does. He has a wife and children and a house and a horse or a car and a job.  Such a man does not create or reproduce or build or perambulate. Such a man is defined by possessions. He exists in a society where ownership is king. Stewardship and sharing are foreign, if not antagonistic concepts. If a man is defined by what he owns, then sharing represents a threat, a diminution of his essence. Obligation does not even enter into the equation.

    To accumulate and to scatter are both mindless activities. They do not require the memory and sense of time implicit in give and take, where the giving comes first and the taking comes next. "Giving back" represents a reversal of the proper order or sequence.
    Sequence is irrelevant to brains not prepared to perceive it. There are such brains. A subtle insult to the prefrontal lobes seems to account for the absence of perception of sequence. It is a deficit that becomes manifest as an inability to determine "how" and "when" an event occurred.

    Of course, if a person is defined by what he has, it doesn't much matter how or when the objects were acquired.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:48:30 AM PST

  •   The quote made me think (5+ / 0-)

    of bodies and shell casings scattered across the country . . . this week has been really hard.

  •  Walmart Gave Birth To Amazon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Walmart was the first company that really used computers effectively to control its inventory and supply chain in an era when companies often went bankrupt implementing IT.  He hired MIT grads. Amazon literally stole Walmarts technology to get started.

    Walmart is like Ford - they did not intend to do all the damage they or their imitators did.  Somewhere along the line it all became strange and ruthless.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:54:02 AM PST

    •  For WalMart, it was when Sam Walton died and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Maverick80229, Ahianne

      his kids took over. THEY are the ones who gave us the WalMart of today. While Sam might be proud of some of their accomplishments, I think he's have something to say about hoe employees are treated and any wasteful spending on the corporate level (Sam was notoriously frugal - made everyone fly coach).

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:33:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not at all correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Amazon stole Walmart executives.  

      However the technology was inspired by an Internet-based micro-payments system Bezos worked on at Deutsche Bank.  It was far more sophisticated that anything Walmart has ever done technology-wise.

      "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

      by Glinda on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:25:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought I read that most of her money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink

    was going to charity.  

    Guns don't kill people...people with GUNS kill people.

    by thestructureguy on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:02:57 AM PST

  •  To be fair... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, Ahianne

    ...and I'm the last to want t be fair to the likes of Wal*Mart, I believe Sam and Helen actually DID believe those words and lived them, to an extent. They built a grand business that employed lots of people. He was notoriously cheap, but had a profit sharing plan that made some long-time employees hundreds of thousands of dollars. He had a "Made in America" campaign that promised US suppliers he'd buy their goods if they could compete close enough to where he was getting goods.
    Now he was also known as a skin-flint, going to the same barber and never tipping, forcing execs to fly coach and share rooms on trips, etc. It was always the bottom line.
    But when ol' Sam died, it was his kids who went to the next level. THEY are the ones most responsible for the Wal*Mart we have today. I'll bet the execs no longer fly coach. And despite their success, I think Sam would be a little ticked off that they screw their employees.

    Wal*Mart is another reason for regulation. Their employees should unionize, the government should stand behind them, and so should everyone who goes buys from them. I mean, you laugh at Helen's words, but you still shop there. I haven't been inside a Wal*Mart in ten years, and haven't bought anything from them in more than that. As long as Americans use the excuse "Yeah, but everything is so much cheaper..." we'll never get ahead in the fight. But that "cheaper" you love exists on the backs of low-paid employees here and sweatshops overseas.

    The Wal*Mart employees had a strike over Black Friday. When will those who shop there begin to speak with their wallets? Or picket a store?

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:30:47 AM PST

    •  Seriously? I think whatever you had for breakfast (0+ / 0-)

      this morning was beyond its expiration date. You sure it hasn't affected your "fair" and balanced mechanism? Seems like it is a tad bit off plum at the moment.

      I don't think fairness is even allowed in the King Midas Family. They seem as adverse to the concept of fairness as a vampire is of the cross.

      Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

      by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:53:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate a lot of things about Walmart (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maverick80229, Ahianne, JayRaye

    What I hate most, for some reason, is this $440 Billion multinational conglomerate trying to pass themselves off as "Aw shucks! We're just a little ol' down-home retailer".

    Do they really think we're that stupid?

    Maybe we are, we keep shopping there after all.


    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:09:54 AM PST

  •  When I think of scattering, I think of feeding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink

    the chickens.

    Thanks for scattering chicken feed for your lowly serfs, Helen.

    Also give Walmart some credit, they kindly direct their employees to the nearest food stamp line so that they don't have to live entirely on chicken feed.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

    by JayRaye on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:00:44 AM PST

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