Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wal-Mart, the Movie

On LaMarotte this morning I present some sober thoughts on the recently decided discrimination case against Wal-Mart. Writing that post my irreverent impulses produced the outlines of a plot, science fiction, to be sure (the science here being Economics): Wal-Mart, the Movie. What I had in mind was something along the lines of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—and this being SF, why couldn’t time-travelling James Stewart arrive in 2011 for a guest appearance in our time in Wal-Mart, the Movie? Innocent but big-hearted Jimmy, a stock-clerk at Wal-Mart, starts the huge ball rolling when he listens to Wolf Blitzer on CNN announcing the Supreme Court’s decision on Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes et al. He starts organizing, first his mother, then his sisters. From tiny beginnings outward spreads the greatest ever boycott of Wal-Mart. First a few women, at one store, Jimmy Stewart’s own, then many but still not all, refuse to buy anything at all, at every Wal-Mart. There are hold-outs, but eventually, around every Wal-Mart in America, masses of women—and a few sensitive men, as well, of course—surround the stores. At the same time—a few, then all, women who work for Wal-Mart quit—one of them being an extremely fetching VP of Finance at the very store where Jimmy works—a woman whom the stock clerk secretly loves (established early in the movie, while Jimmy still struggles against doubts, fearing to lose his job). Fetching VP joins the protest. She gives it her all, working with Jimmy little shoulder to his big, in events that reach from small to national heights. And in the end of course, when Wal-Mart stores are everywhere empty, indeed being attacked with sledge hammers and front-end loaders by suddenly muscular but still sensitive males in hard hats, the blessed denouement arrives, and ex-VP of Finance is in the arms of ex-stock clerk of Wal-Mart, stream of tears running down their faces as they breathlessly kiss each other while the crowd—it’s all of us, folks, all of America—give a mighty cheer.

And after watching that movie, we all feel much better about things. As we did back in 1939 as well when Jimmy first, as Mr. Smith, did his number on us.


  1. Who and where are the real Messrs. Smith and Drs. Welby when we really, really need them?

  2. At least Alice Walton's Art Museum project (she's one of Sam's children) will not be inconvenienced. It is sad but true that repositories of Art need to be built on the excess Capital of enterprise, much of which would have been cruelly wasted had it been distributed to merely the working stiffs.

    Of course, the working stiffs may have subscribed to some scheme to build museums on their own, but why leave it to chance?

    In our imaginations, it all works out for the best.

  3. It could happen. The movie there might be called National Velvet Painting Museum when our heroine collects millions of widow's mites to fund it -- and on opening day ten thousand trained snow-white doves lift a gauze cover from a five-storey-high velvet painting of Elvis to a great national cheer.

  4. That's a great idea!
    It would really help if we put on a show...
    and instead of collecting widows' mites, we could let the States run it on a voucher system!


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