Category Archives: wal-mart

>REACT: Ronald McDonald stomps out Santa

>After publishing my blog item on Macy’s de-Christmas’ing the 2000 year old holiday (November 21, 2007), I went to checked out Chicago’s traditional State Street Christmas Parade held each Thanksgiving – you know, the one that welcomes the arrival of Santa Claus.

Well, the anti-Christ(mas) has struck again – this time in the form of another corporate behemoth, McDonald’s. Not sure when this all happened, but there is no Christmas parade any more. Ronald (the Grinch) McDonald booted the Christmas theme, and the event is now known as the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forget about Christ. Ronald has knocked off even the secularized Santa image in favor of a logo featuring a trite and tacky turkey in a pilgrim high hat.

(As an aside: In the above logo, doesn’t that look like the front end of an old Pilgrim-style blunderbust rifle pointing at the turkey from behind the leafy bush? I am sure that is not the intent, but still a fitting bit of symbolism, don’t ya think?)

If you were hoping that perhaps the real Christmas parade was rescheduled for another time, you’re out of luck. The only other parade is the Michigan Avenue merchants Parade of Lights produced by Walt Disney. No celebration of Christmas. An obligatory Santa, but certainly nothing to symbolize the real meaning of the holiday.

Corporate America, in a fit of greedy political correctness has changed the “love thy neighbor” holiday message to “love thy neighbor’s money.”

On the other, maybe the Christians got just what we deserved. I mean, most of our religious holidays were superimposed over Pagan celebrations in an effort, successful to be sure, to drive the godless holidays into extinction. It would seem that the neo-Pagans of corporate America are providing pay-back time. They are driving Christians from the public forums in favor or superficial Disney cartoons, holiday trees symbolic of nothing, and irrlevant festivals of lights. Sure, it is all very pretty, but prettiness does not connote significance or relevancy. (Did the name Paris Hilton just pop into your mind, too?)

Kicking Christ out of his name sake holiday is nothing new. The transformation from the elderly St. Nicholas of European origin to the cartoonish pot-bellied, retail-hawking Santa Claus happened more than three generations ago. The “Xmas” abbreviation was the rage at mid-20th Century. The supporting roles once held by shepards were given to a bunch of elves. The drab animals of the manger faded in the face of the bright-eyed and bright-nosed reindeer know as Rudolph – the creation of the advertising department or the now defunct Montgomery Ward & Company.

It would seem that the austere message of Christ is not in keeping with the sales strategies of the big retailers. The maniacally generous iconic characters, such as Santa Claus, make for better sales. Can you image for one moment bringing your child, with a long selfish wish list, to Macy’s to sit on the lap of a actor dressed as Jesus?

The very modern-day buying orgy is an anathema to the biblical Christ. To celebrate this holiday in keeping with its theological origins would require feeding the hungry as opposed to gorging the gluttonous. Clothing the naked, not donning designer duds. Comforting the ill, not imbibing until we are. We are admonished to care for those less fortunate, not over indulge the already blessed.

When you look at it that way, I guess dumping Christ and Christmas makes sense. What has evolved is NOT Jesus’ holiday. It is the celebration of the new religion, Consumerism. Maybe … just maybe … the secular iconology is not driving out the Christmas of Christ. Maybe it is just filling in the vacuum we have selfishly provided. Maybe the Grinch is not the politically correct, but the theologically challenged. Maybe it is not “they” who stole Christmas, but “we” who too willingly abandoned it.

Something to ponder as we good Christians begin our annual pilgramage to Wal Mart. At least they still know it is Christmas.

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>REACT: Thank God and John Walton for Wal-Mart.

>Wal-Mart just introduced the $199 computer. More about that below, but first a little preface …

The broad phalanx attack on Wal-Mart by the various battalions of liberal activists is typical of their hatred of the free market system, free trade and free just-about-anything-else — except lunch.

The unions grouse about Wal-Mart resisting representation – representation which would do nothing more than increase the costs of goods for the American consumer and make the fat cat leaders of labor a little fatter. They tell how Wal-Mart is paying wages in Asia that are a fraction of the American worker. They forget to mention that you can buy a bushel of corn in China for 12 cents. My tailor makes my pin-stripped power suits for under $100. I can leave KFC stuffed for about a buck and a half. I had $3000 worth of dental work (American dentist estimate) completed beautifully in China for $400. Also had a physical and the complete blood test cost me a Jefferson. (No, not a nickel. Geeez. A two dollar bill.)

In China, Wal-Mart is lifting tens of thousands of people out of poverty at every step of the supply chain. If Wal-Mart was such a damned awful employer, why is it when they open a store in China the job application line runs from Beijing to Shanghai? Unions also grouse about how poorly Wal-Mart treats its American workers. Same question. Why do they receive thousands of applications at every store?

Some of the alderman in my Chicago home town city council are fighting hard to keep Wal-Mart out of the Windy City – thus denying their constituents much-needed jobs and lower prices, and the city coffers some tax revenue. What is their motivation? Blind hatred with a dash of stupidity. Of course, that is only an opinion.

Then there is the crowd that complains that Wal-Mart’s lower prices are ruining the market. Pause and ponder here folks. These libs are so whacko that they think higher prices are good thing – competition is a bad thing. They say higher prices means more pay for the workers. Well, a lot of those wage gains will be eaten up by the higher prices…..duh. And the over-paid union leaders seem completely oblivious to the fact that a company also must serve its stockholders and the consuming public – and there are a lot more of them than workers. Wal-Mart has been a key player in bringing down the prices of tens of thousands of consumer products, even in the face of modest inflation. These are real dollar reductions, not the theoretical stuff we get from economists and accountants. Tee shirts that were once $14 are now $5.

One of my more liberal friends (and yes I DO have liberal friends – quite a few, in fact) criticized Wal-Mart for practically putting FAO Schwartz out of business. If you are not familiar with them, they are a trendy upscale toy store that catered to the rich and famous. It seems that nasty old Wal-Mart began selling a lot of the same toys for a fraction of the prices charged by FAO to the price-is-no-object crowd. (Since my friend’s heart is bleeding for FAO, the term “limousine liberal” suddenly jumped into my mind.)

This is how the free market and competition works. This is a good thing. I mean, yeah, I am sorry to see FAO become more like a Macy toy department. They were a fun store. However, price rules for most people – as it should.

Now … about those $199 computers. I can’t wait for the libs to figure out how to criticize this one.

The left pays a lot of attention to public education (which, in and of itself, serves as an example of the failure of their philosophy). They like to think that they are the vanguard of progressive and innovative education. Everyone agrees that getting computers in the hands of students at an early age is a good thing. The education industry has expressed that need for decades (ever since Al Gore invented the Internet).

The fear and reality is that the computer age created yet another gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Those financially-challenged kids trapped in the liberal-run city school systems are at the greatest disadvantage. The affluent parents are buying their kids thousands of dollars of cutting edge electronics to support education, while the kids in the inner city schools are getting the benefit of electronic metal detectors to eliminate cutting edges of a different sort.

There have been scores of programs to try to provide computers. The Holy Grail was always held out to be the $199 computer. Most programs fell far short of success because of the cost of the equipment. Now cometh that nasty old Wal-Mart again, this with the $199 computer. Suddenly, the dream of every kid having a laptop is inching toward reality.

Just think of the impact on our children when we can finally bring modern technology to the disadvantaged. (We do not call them disadvantaged for nothing, folks). There have been tons written on the enormous benefits of computers for kids, so you can only imagine the impact Wal-Mart pricing will have on education.

Next time you hear one of these liberal groups kicking about Wal-Mart, just remember those kids who are getting a better education – something the lip-service libs and the kids-last unions have failed to do for a generation or two.

The free market works. Alleluia!