Okay, all done. After months of impassively, unthinkingly trashing each morning's florid email from the black hole of greed and profiteering that is Walmart - "Map Out Your Black Friday Shopping Trip! New Value of the Hour! Save More With Home Value Bundles! - we just had one of those Network-inspired "I'm mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore" moments. It's not just 'cause they sell something called "hamburger helper cheeseburgr macaroni" - though WTF? - and call it food, or even because they famously asked their own grossly underpaid workers to donate food to other grossly underpaid workers for a Thanksgiving dinner nobody will have time to eat anyway because they'll all be working to feed the endless greed of the multi-billionaire Waltons, yet another reason for the welcome and overdue wave of strikes hitting them this week. It's because of this: Many months after over 1,200 workers in Bangladesh were killed in the dual disasters of the Tazreen factory fire and Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, Walmart has refused to contribute a penny to international compensation funds to assist the families of the dead and the over 1,800 workers injured because it was "financially unfeasible" to do so; has blown off a meeting in Geneva where companies came to discuss such compensation; has offered to create its own safety scheme that critics say is so flawed, vague and unenforceable it's virtually meaningless, despite the fact that one in five Walmart factories still fails safety tests, a figure that leads advocates to charge that Walmart did and still does have "blood on its hands"; and reportedly and with great fanfare offered $50 million in low-cost loans to Bangladesh garment factories to improve conditions - loan offers which Walmart claimed were met with several "no thanks," but which labor advocates in Bangladesh say were, in fact, never made, leaving them still waiting for any substantive change. So. A plea: If you're indulging in shopping this season, please forego the drek and evil of Walmart and other big box atrocities - where, it seems, some have already camped out almost two weeks before the fact for whatever it is they, evidently lacking a life or any sense thereof, so very desperately want to buy there. But we digress. Buy local, buy modest, buy where it helps someone else who needs it. The Waltons don't. And please, one day, let them eat hamburger helper cheeseburgr macaroni.
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