VICTORY OVER WAL-MART; ALL DEMANDS MET

Catalyst December Issue 2005, Front Page

On November 9, we started a boycott against Wal-Mart, citing discrimination against Christians. On November 10, the world’s largest retailer refused to give in to our demands. On November 11, Wal-Mart folded, yielding on all counts. Ergo, we called off our boycott.

Over the past decade, Wal-Mart has been the object of a great deal of criticism. Much of it, we believe, has been patently unfair and politically motivated. But when Wal-Mart began the Christmas season with discriminatory policies—treating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa with respect while showing nothing but disrespect for Christmas—we took off after the behemoth. And we won. (For a detailed account of exactly how this case developed, see p. 5.)

In a nutshell, what happened is that a woman from Allentown, Pennsylvania complained to Wal-Mart about its penchant for calling Christmas the “Holidays.” The response she received from the customer service department was absurd at best, and insulting at worst. She was told by someone named Kirby that in essence Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. She forwarded the incredible e-mail to us.

It was our opinion that this offensive response must have been the product of some underling. After all, the store is gigantic and the top brass probably had nothing to do with it. So we contacted their top public relations officer to see what he might say about Kirby’s comment. To our surprise, he not only agreed, he offered some “words of wisdom” that only angered us further.

Then we checked the Wal-Mart website to see how it was treating the so-called holidays. What we found was discriminatory treatment: the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa sites were easily accessed, and a list of items was presented; Christmas, however, was renamed the “Holiday” site.

That was it. We immediately called for a boycott and contacted 126 religious organizations spanning seven faith communities for assistance (we won before they even received our mailing). But Wal-Mart remained adamant and stuck by its story, essentially parroting the tired diversity/inclusion argument.

What Wal-Mart didn’t count on was our resolve. We don’t know what the word “quit” means at the Catholic League. Indeed, the more stubborn our adversary becomes, the more unyielding we become.

This victory, which took less than 48 hours to achieve, was sweet. What made it so special is the fact that Wal-Mart has a reputation of never giving in to the demands of any protest group.


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Written by Bill