Tag Archives: Oppressive Great Retail Empire

Walmart Shoppers are… Big Brother?

I don’t know how many of you saw this press release called “Secretary Napolitano Announces Expansion of “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign to Walmart Stores Across the Nation“.

I’ll quote it in it’s entirety here:

Washington, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores across the country – launching a new partnership between DHS and Walmart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I applaud Walmart for joining the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities.”

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

More than 230 Walmart stores nationwide launched the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign today, with a total of 588 Walmart stores in 27 states joining in the coming weeks. A short video message will play at select checkout locations to remind shoppers to contact local law enforcement to report suspicious activity.

The public service announcement will air in all Walmart stores equipped with checkout video screens.

Over the past five months, DHS has worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign and Nationwide SAR Initiative to communities throughout the country—including the recent state-wide expansions of the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign across Minnesota and New Jersey. Partners include the Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, sports and general aviation industries, and state and local fusion centers across the country.

In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.

Something about this concept scares the bejeezus out of me.

Remember that Sesame Street game of “One of These Things Is Not Like The Other”?

I still think that was an early training tool teaching how to profile individuals.

And that also scares me.

But now the government is asking the shoppers of Walmart to point out anything they find suspicious.

Umm… have you seen shoppers at Walmart? If you’ve never been in one, there’s a website dedicated to fun pictures of Walmart shoppers. Go check it out. Totally worth it.

I’d be on the phone with DHS the entire time I was on Walmart property!

I’m all about being aware of your surroundings. And I’m all about getting the local authorities involved if I know something to be not totally right.

But why do I feel like I’m Dr. Miles Bennell in some modern version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when I read this article?

And why do I feel like we, as a country, are rapidly moving into a similar place that resulted in the creation of the Gestapo or the NVKD in times past?

I’m starting to think Orwell had it right in 1984:

From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

Updated 2011.09.28: Replaced embedded video with YouTube video.

Until next time...

Does Walmart Really Care About Their Community?

This past weekend, Westboro Baptist was doing their usual protesting of a soldier’s funeral in McAlester, Oklahoma. Afterward, they found 2 of the tires slashed on their minivan. No business in McAlester would repair their tires.

Residents of McAlester, Oklahoma, I applaud you. Not so much for the act of vandalism. But for showing togetherness by refusing to repair the damage.

You can read more about the incident in this Tulsa World article.

There was one part that really bothers me, which I put in bold below:

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

Reparied at Walmart?

Sure, it’s absolutely possible the store’s TLE associates had no idea who’s van it was. But I’m also betting in a small community like McAlester, people were following the vehicle and warning businesses.

Way to stand by and support your community, Walmart. I hope the residents of McAlester protest your store.

A discussion on Twitter over this post got me thinking: how does a publicly traded business go about refusing service? Can they legally? The closest thing to answer I can find is here.

Does that mean all the businesses who said “No” will be sued for discrimination of some sort?

I guess everyone could have gone on break and then been sent home early? That wouldn’t be construed as discriminatory, would it?

Until next time...