Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Family At Wal-Mart

At Wal-Mart (one of the Supercenters) the other day, I did some shopping for a few items, mostly groceries. I wasn't really tempted to go elsewhere because Wal-Mart is still the least expensive place to shop, at least for most of the everyday things I buy. One of the things that does irritate me about Wal-Mart is that too often it takes forever to get out of the store. They never have enough people manning the checkout lanes (and it doesn't seem that they lack for employees, I see plenty wandering the aisles seemingly doing not much of anything, even when there seems to be things to do, e.g., cleaning up the aisles that have misplaced items and items on the ground etc., that Wal-Mart associates pass right by-I pick up and put back more stuff as a customer than they do, My conclusion: Wal-Mart loves to hire lazy incompetents). And speaking of customer service, try finding someone to help you and actually answer a question about any of the products. I guess ignorance is another qualification for getting hired by the world's largest retailer (not to mention being grossly overweight).

I took my shopping cart to the line that looked the shortest and found myself behind a young family; a mother, a father, and three daughters. One of the girls was trying out a hula hoop, her older sister was looking at the candy and the littlest one was up on her daddy's shoulders, rocking back and forth just a tiny bit precariously. It always makes me happy to see that the traditional family is still around and healthy. And who can blame them for buying from Wal-Mart? With an economy totally destroyed by the total incompetent in the White House, places like Wal-Mart become more necessary than ever for the average American. Still, I was disturbed by the case of Debbie Shank, the woman Wal-Mart sued for $470,000.

Eight years ago, Debbie Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

After a tractor-trailer slammed into her minivan, the 52-year-old mother of three lost much of her short-term memory and was confined to a wheelchair. She now lives in a nursing home.

She also lost her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, who was killed shortly after arriving in Iraq. When Debbie Shank asks family members how her son is doing and they remind her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Wal-Mart's health care plan lets the retail giant recoup the cost of its expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit. And Wal-Mart set out to do just that after Shank and her husband, Jim, won $1 million after suing the trucking company involved in the wreck. After legal fees, the couple received $417,000.

Wal-Mart sued the Shanks to recoup $470,000 it paid for her medical care. However, a court ruled that the company could only recoup about $275,000 -- the amount that was left in a trust fund for her care.

Wal-Mart reversed itself and will now let the Shanks keep the money they need for Mrs. Shanks care. Wal-Mart's health plan allowed them to recover the money from these poor people but did not require it, but that didn't stop hypocrite Lew Rockwell from attacking those who dared criticize Wal-Mart's evil lawsuit:

I turned off his [Keith Olbermann] one-note rants when the alleged war skeptic refused to even mention Ron Paul. Recently--no surprise--the rich socialist Keith has been attacking Wal-Mart, the working man's friend. Here is a link, if you can stand it, to his lying attack, but also to Wal-Mart's ezcellent response.

Yes, asshole, I can stand it, more than I can stand your lies for zombie Jesus (I once sent an email to Mr. Rockwell, wondering about his posting of so many stories supporting idiocy like anti-science creationism on a site supposedly about libertarianism and he wrote back telling me to start my own web site if I didn't like it because was his "hobby" site). That he dare call one of the most vehement critics of George Bush's foreign policy an "alleged" war skeptic shows how hateful Rockwell really is when someone doesn't fit the mold he creates for "true" war critics. Could the key be Olbermann's failure to mention loser Ron Paul, a man everyone on the fucking planet knew had no chance to become President, except Mr. Rockwell, who throughout the primary season continued to publish ridiculous scenarios showing how Paul could win.

What was Wal-Mart's response that the "Christian" Mr. Rockwell loved so much? Here it is:

"This is a very sad case and we understand that people will naturally have an emotional and sympathetic reaction. While the Shank case involves a tragic situation, the reality is that the health plan is required to protect its assets so that it can pay the future claims of other associates and their family members. These plans are funded by associate premiums and company contributions. Any money recovered is returned to the health plan, not to the business. This is done out of fairness to everyone who contributes to and benefits from the plan. The Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal of the case, which concludes all litigation. While Wal-Mart's benefit plan was entitled to more than the amount that remained in the Shank trust, the plan only recovered the funds remaining in that trust".

How very nice of Wal-Mart to only take the remaining $277,000! Now Wal-Mart, under pressure of bad publicity, has backed down and changed its tune. Isn't that how the free market is supposed to work, Mr. anti-state Rockwell? Wal-Mart had already won in the courts, but thanks (at least in part) to a good man (who by the way has been consistently opposed to the Iraq war and the Bush administration) named Keith Olbermann exercising the first amendment right to free speech, a family has been saved from a terrible injustice. What does Mr. Lew Rockwell believe his homo erotic Jesus would do in these circumstances? I know as a devout Christian that Lew loves his gay zombie lover Jesus, so why then does he approve of Wal-Mart's previous very unchristian attitude toward this family? I think the answer is simple, Rockwell is nothing but a goddamned hypocrite.

And Rockwell may also be a racist. If you read the story you may find yourself shaking your head at Rockwell's hatred of the late William F. Buckley for trying to purge libertarians and paleoconservatives from the conservative movement. Rockwell's site published the following: “’the Ron Paul question’ constitutes a litmus test for libertarians. Simply put, the ‘Ron Paul questions’ consists of determining whether or not a person supports Dr. Paul. If so, as I see matters, he passes the test and can be constituted a libertarian; if not, his credentials are to that extent suspect.” I guess it's okay for Rockwell to have a litmus test but not Buckley. Go to hell Lew Rockwell, you hypocrite!

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to make sure you saw this too. You might have already heard about the secret Wal-Mart tapes (being shared by the production company that Wal-Mart screwed over). Wal-Mart Watch got ahold of a clip of Wal-Mart bigwigs having a drag show at an official company meeting -- kind of puts into context that Wal-Mart is the subject of the biggest class-action discrimination suit in history. They're currently being sued by 1.6 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees who charge the company with paying women less and offering them fewer opportunities for promotion. More background here:

    Here's the clip:

    The interesting thing isn't that Wal-Mart's relations with this production company went sour, or even all the outrageous video that's sure to come out of their archives -- it's that the people who Wal-Mart has screwed over finally have a tool to fight back. As we saw from the Debbie Shank story it takes an enormous amount of public pressure and outrage to get Wal-Mart to do the right thing. Hopefully this video -- indisputable evidence of how Wal-Mart treated its employees -- can help.


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