I haven’t blogged all year. I’ve started a few topics but got interrupted by life before finishing them or posting them. But, of late, I’ve been smacked in the face by an egregious (oh yeah, I’m using this word) set of circumstances that is making the Freedom Fighter in my soul - wale! I’ve been working to calm myself but I saw an article on 10/28/14 that made it flood all back to me (http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/280561062.html).
Fat Girl? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
If you live in Topeka, KS you know about the new Walmart that is directly across the street from Highland Park High School on 25th St. This is and has been for all the years I can think of a low income housing area (2 complexes). This neighborhood also hosts a half-way facility for those re-entering the community from the penal system. This neighborhood has been faithfully served by Food 4 Less (long gone), Dillons, Dollar General, and Family Dollar, a host of fast food establishments, a few banks and Walgreens.
I know that these stores have had problems because I’ve been out and about and noted Topeka’s Finest picking up a few grab-happy customers from these stores. My son was at work at the Burger King when it was robbed at gun point! I too know that a Topeka police officer was shot and killed in the neighborhood scarcely a month prior to the grand opening of the new Walmart. But, the Dillons on Huntoon had police officers shot/killed in their parking lot (http://cjonline.com/news/local/2012-12-16/2-topeka-police-officers-killed-shooting-sunday-evening) - but (aside from the armed officer at the bank inside of Dillons) I’ve never seen them have armed guards. That is until I went to the new Walmart in the neighborhood.
Yep, being who I am, I stopped and asked the off duty officer if there was a problem in the building or if his being present was a regular gig. He indicated he was in the building to serve the customers (help out to the car etc…). I really had a hard time taking a tour of the new store after that. I was offended. ARE YOU SERIOUS?
I determined that I needed to go back to the Walmart to see if I was wrong about the armed security and was excited upon entering on my second visit because I didn’t see armed security. However, before I left I saw two armed officers. Again, I asked about whether or not something was going on in the building and the cashier told me, with pride I might add, that the store always has two armed officers.
Toi, what are you trying to say? Okay, this is it in a nutshell….
It seems highly offensive to me that the new Walmart in South East Topeka has armed officers as a normal part of business when none of the other Walmart stores in the city have this feature.
Yep, I did question the guard on the first night and the cashier on my second visit. I’ve been assured that they feel this is a good thing and if things “work out” this will be implemented in all of the Topeka Walmart stores. I wanted to know from the armed officer and the cashier (their checks not withstanding) just how it feels to be men of color working in a store that was purposely built in a low socioeconomic area – then to have that store (their employer) ever so boldly place armed security in the building as if they fully expected to be robbed blind.
They didn’t have much to say but COM’ON YA’LL - we all know that Walmart is not building new stores to take a loss despite indicating their plans to move more towards e-commerce in the coming years (yes, they will be closing super centers). But, make no mistake about it – they will continue building during the next fiscal year (http://online.wsj.com/articles/wal-mart-to-shift-spending-away-from-big-stores-1413380731). Despite reporting a decrease in profits, Walmart made billions in the last fiscal year. In fact, four the Walton’s are in the top 10 billionaires’ club (http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/)!
Honestly, some years ago, I decided to stop shopping at Walmart because of their labor relations issues and the fact that it seems they move in and run the small businesses out then raise their prices. This was going well for me until I found myself raising young children. The truth is they have the better prices and I had to return in order to meet all of my obligations.
Also, don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for those that have been able to gain employment at the new Walmart. Although I have my doubts (http://www.politicususa.com/2014/10/10/walmart-increases-profits-cuts-employee-benefits.html), I do so hope they will be able to make enough money there to meet their obligations.
But this turn of events almost left me speechless. You will be glad to know that my words returned to me.
See, although this move on the store’s part appears to be a move of securing their products…. I submit this to you - in 2011, Walmart on 37th St. had $250,000 taken out of the office – and it’s yet to be solved (http://cjonline.com/news/2013-01-08/250k-stolen-topeka-walmart-still-unsolved-14-months-later).
I didn’t see armed security in the building after that – did you?
Something has to change ya’ll. We have to change! We can’t keep supporting entities that don’t really support us or treat us well. I mean - WTHIRGO?
So I’m back to weaning myself from Walmart even with the holiday season looming ever so near (so don’t be expecting any gifts – smile). No, it won’t make a bit of difference to their bottom line profits but I will gain peace of mind in knowing I’m not paying them to disrespect me and my community.